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canter question

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  • canter question

    Well my girl is Friesian she has always had a big weakness with the canter.

    last couple of years she hasnt done much work due to a mistery lamness that took a year to diagnose and finally finding out and having an operation for it (hind suspensorys)

    Well all is well (touching wood) that was last November and we are now starting to concentrate on canter work again.

    Well we have a nice menage but its a little on the thin side not quiet 20m but does have a good surface.

    Ive been cantering out in the fields as much as i can when i can because of ground getting to hard this has helped her LOTS so will keep on doing this as much as i can.

    when we first started to canter in school it was basically a big no no then we started to get good strike off's with maybe 2 strides then slowly improved to lots of rushing and more strides but tense in neck, left rein is much worse with moterbiking corners.

    so know i have a really flat canter (sometimes feels a little four beat almost) that she can hold for a couple of laps and a half circle chucked in here and there, a full circle would be to much and to small as school is to thin! its slowed down lots and we now have some softening as she can get really tense/rushy.

    all i wanted to no is am i on the right track as she has defently improved in holding it for longer and softening but its now flat ,will the jump come from more strength/time? what exercise's can i use to help her?
    does this sound like im heading in the right direction?

    thanks kelly

  • #2
    Though the reasons are different, my mare has issues at the canter as well. And as my instructor is fond of reminding me "One stride at a time!"

    I'm no expert, but for what it's worth, I think you're on the right track getting a little bit at a time, especially since your "little bits" are lasting longer and getting better!

    Hopefully someone will chime in with some real advice to go along with my encouragement and well wishing
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
    -Edward Hoagland


    • #3
      A lot of the rushing you are experiencing is most likely a balance issue, combined with a lack of strength.

      Transitions help, lots of short canter bits, however they do tend to anticipate and then quit after one or two strides, if you aren't careful. The other thing that can help is longeing. It will allow her to find her balance without having to balance a rider as well.
      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


      • #4
        I have problems in the canter also. Come to find out its me I tend to lean forward and throw him on the forehand with my hands to wide and to far down.

        Make sure your sitting up and have a straight line from elbow to bit and keep your hands up. Look up and not at the horse also.

        If he is just coming back to work he is probably weak and just needs to build up the muscle to carry himself. Work on hills to strengthen his back end and lots of transitions from w/t and t/c.
        Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


        • #5
          trot canter trot canter transitions
          "Let the fence be the bit." - Phillip Dutton


          • #6
            Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
            A lot of the rushing you are experiencing is most likely a balance issue, combined with a lack of strength.

            Transitions help, lots of short canter bits, however they do tend to anticipate and then quit after one or two strides, if you aren't careful. The other thing that can help is longeing. It will allow her to find her balance without having to balance a rider as well.
            agree if ones having problems cantering then one needs to take a few steps backwards
            with your horse
            work the horse from butt to poll to a relaxed yaw by lengthening and shorting your strides which is the baisc of foundation using th half halt stride with every transition
            working all walk paces all trot paces then mix the two then move on to canter paces and mix all three to include counter canter

            look here at my helpful links pages be sure to read all links as they all relevant



            • #7
              I've been doing the initial under saddle on a sporty type Friesian, and I think this holds true for every horse, the transitions are what improve the canter. Going round and round won't improve anything, just make your strike off, take the few good strides or one good circle you can get, and ask for the trot and reward her before things deteriorate. Do this more and more and build on it so she's still challenged and learning and not just expecting to do a circle and get it over with, but definitely focus on getting a good canter initially, then it's much easier to keep. I've also ridden a Friesian geld with more training, and I think with all heavy horses it's important to let them find their balance and not rush them just for fear they'll break back into trot. If they do break, then you get after them, but nagging an goading doesn't help keep a positive canter. My best advice for not-so-forwardly-inclined horses is to MAKE SURE THEY"RE HAVING FUN. If they think it sucks they'll just shut down on you. I think trails encourage a horse to think forward. If I have the option, I think a trail is the best place to initially teach a baby to canter....you just sneak it up on them, and before you know it they're cantering! That's my 2 cents!

              As a side note, I am a strong believer in longeing but be very careful longeing such heavy horses, ESPECIALLY if you've already had soundness issues.
              "Capture the horse's confidence to obtain his consent." -General L'Hotte