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cross cantering, only on the lunge, only in one direction

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  • cross cantering, only on the lunge, only in one direction

    I noticed last night that my gelding cross cantered when cantering on the left lead. He did not do it at first, only when he got either too fast or a bit tired. Back to a trot and he'd pick it up properly again, will do flying change on the lunge if he picked up the wrong lead, the cross cantering only happened when he was already on the correct lead.

    He was just on a lunge line in his halter (late night at work, letting him let off some steam). He hasn't done this under saddle or when lunged in side reins. He is built a little wonky behind, but not severely.

    Does he need a chiropractic adjustment? He is 8, moderate work, OTTB but only ran 3 times, spent years 4-7 sitting in a field, I brought him into work slowly and he's never been lame except an abcess and banging himself while on turnout.

    Can't have the vet out until next pay day (damn you car tires!) and other than this incident he seems happy and willing.
    Team Ginger

  • #2
    I just always stop the horse and restart him; I don't allow the horse to cross canter. If he does it only when you lunge him in a halter and you can't correct it immediately... don't lunge in a halter.

    It's easy for a horse to be unbalanced and silly if they're just blowing off steam on the lunge line, leaning on the line. Even lunging in a bridle or a longeing cavesson may make a difference. You can still require and expect discipline and balance even without the side reins.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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    • #3
      I agree with poltroon. Never allow them to canter on if cross cantering, and if he consistently cross canters when longeing in a halter...don't do that.

      If this is totally new behavior, I always look to the stifles first--it's often either a strength or soreness issue.

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      • #4
        Ditto this.


        Originally posted by Simkie View Post
        I agree with poltroon. Never allow them to canter on if cross cantering, and if he consistently cross canters when longeing in a halter...don't do that.

        If this is totally new behavior, I always look to the stifles first--it's often either a strength or soreness issue.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          I never really lunge him in a halter only, this one was of those late-night-last minute stretch his legs kind of thing. of course I didn't let him keep cantering around, asked him to trot then pick up the canter again.

          Next time vet is out on farm call I think I'll have him take a peek, better safe than sorry!
          Team Ginger

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          • #6
            Mine did that (and apparently according to the old owner always did it) until we had the osteopath out to manipulate his back and hind limbs. To me, when he got worse cross cantering on the lunge it was a clear indication of him be NQR, but I know my horse well and knew that it was weird for him... So maybe getting the vet to have a look when they're out is not such a bad idea...

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            • #7
              Just so you know, I wasn't being critical, just letting you know that it's not all that unusual for a horse to do, especially a horse that is youngish and not very schooled on the longe. Certainly having the vet look is fine, but especially if you're strapped for cash, it's also fine not to have the vet look unless you have other symptoms or issues that alarm you. It's a vague symptomology and something that could lead to a pretty long (and expensive) rabbit-hole of diagnostics. I would file it away in my head and probably not do anything veterinary about it unless there were other things that also were concerning me. Instead, I'd probably just work on training and schooling and gymnastics and suppling to build the horse's balance on both sides.

              I've done chiropractic and massage at various times; I have more faith in the massage than the chiro, but again, if you're strapped for cash, that's not how I personally would spend it. There's a lot you can do under saddle and on the ground and with management, especially if you have the time to put into it.
              If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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              • #8
                My mare does this, both on the lunge and under saddle, because she is sore in her hocks (confirmed arthritis). That, and she is out of shape.

                My gelding will do it from being out of shape. I bring him back down out of the canter, and ask again. He typically only gets it wrong once, and then he's good from there. Getting him in better shape eliminates it all together.

                Since the horse is young, I woudl say he's probably out of shape and just has a hard time with it. BUT...since you said his hind end is kind of wonky, there may be a conformational flaw that makes it hard for him, or that has already started an issue in the hocks and/or stifles. My mare is extremely cow-hocked, and the vet suspects that was a big contributing factor to the hock arthritis.
                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

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