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Opening the Canter stride?

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  • Opening the Canter stride?

    My 5 yr old mare is perfectly content to canter around on a pony stride and get bouncy. However on the counter canter she opens up. I've started canter between ground poles and asking her to reach and not just speed up. Does anyone have any experience with a problem like this and have any ideas to try?

  • #2
    Try encouraging a longer stride with your seat instead of your legs. It often helps the horse understand you don't want faster strides, you want longer ones.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina

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    • #3
      Taking them out of the ring into a field often helps. Do it regularly enough that the longer stride starts feeling normal to her. And make sure you don't allow the short bouncy stride when hacking.

      Lengthening on long sides of the ring and shortening on the short sides can help make her more adjustable.

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      • #4
        When you are cantering with shorter strides your hips canter in a shorter space.

        When you want to lengthen stride, your legs continue to ask for the same energy as do your hips, but your hips move slower and deeper, as though cantering up a muddy hill.

        This sort of lengthening and shortening of the stride can be practiced WTC, but is best worked a T&C.
        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.

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        • #5
          I have been working on the same issue. I have been putting three poles set on the long side of the ring about 11' apart. You have to have a nice, forward canter to get through them. I then try to maintain that canter after the poles. I have also been working with a dressage trainer and she is trying to get me to get him more responsive to my leg, meaning when I put my leg on he surges forward and then just support with the leg until he slows down again. We have been working on trying to get longer steps in the trot on the long side. For the canter we are just working on moving forward in general, not worrying about where his head is or if he is round, just going forward, forward, forward. This is not a green horse either, he is just lazy......

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rebels_Princess View Post
            My 5 yr old mare is perfectly content to canter around on a pony stride and get bouncy. However on the counter canter she opens up. I've started canter between ground poles and asking her to reach and not just speed up. Does anyone have any experience with a problem like this and have any ideas to try?
            What are you doing differently in the counter canter?

            I suspect that you may have her straighter and more balanced in the counter canter.....and probably have more leg on. If they are not straight and more unbalanced, you will have a harder time opening up the canter (without speed). Really focus on her hips following her shoulders and having her hold her balance.
            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
              When you are cantering with shorter strides your hips canter in a shorter space.

              When you want to lengthen stride, your legs continue to ask for the same energy as do your hips, but your hips move slower and deeper, as though cantering up a muddy hill.

              This sort of lengthening and shortening of the stride can be practiced WTC, but is best worked a T&C.
              I do this with her walk but never thought to apply it to the canter! Thank you!

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              • #8
                My 5yo gets an up and down bouncy canter when he is A. fighting coming on the bit and B. not wanting to work off his hind end. It usually happens when we do our first canter or when I really turn the screws to ask him to work correctly and he just...doesn't...want...to..work!

                When he starts doing this, both my dressage and jumper trainers both have instructed me to push him forward - as in gallop forward. Then, once he is moving out, collect him back in to a working or collected canter while keeping the same forward energy into my hands. Then, if he is still bracing his head and neck, which he usually isn't by this point, I can start working on softening his jaw and pole by massaging on the reins, etc.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rebels_Princess View Post
                  I do this with her walk but never thought to apply it to the canter! Thank you!
                  You cam also, lengthen the stride at the walk by alternately closing your legs against the horse's side. This needs to be done subtly, though.
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Without seeing what's actually going on - Maybe try a lighter seat and softer hand. When I want my horses stride to soften but open up, I will go into a half seat, encouraging with lower leg if needed. Also make sure you are not gripping with your upper thigh or knees. Get off their backs every once in a while...

                    I think ground poles is a great idea too.
                    Live in the sunshine.
                    Swim in the sea.
                    Drink the wild air.

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                    • #11
                      Not to hijack, but I'm also curious about this. I had success lengthening my old short-strided pony's stride, but I'm having trouble with my current horse. He's a Paint and originally trained for western pleasure (but doesn't have a lope) and is trained to shorten when you sit.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PoohLP View Post
                        My 5yo gets an up and down bouncy canter when he is A. fighting coming on the bit and B. not wanting to work off his hind end. It usually happens when we do our first canter or when I really turn the screws to ask him to work correctly and he just...doesn't...want...to..work!

                        When he starts doing this, both my dressage and jumper trainers both have instructed me to push him forward - as in gallop forward. Then, once he is moving out, collect him back in to a working or collected canter while keeping the same forward energy into my hands. Then, if he is still bracing his head and neck, which he usually isn't by this point, I can start working on softening his jaw and pole by massaging on the reins, etc.
                        ^ This.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PoohLP View Post
                          My 5yo gets an up and down bouncy canter when he is A. fighting coming on the bit and B. not wanting to work off his hind end. It usually happens when we do our first canter or when I really turn the screws to ask him to work correctly and he just...doesn't...want...to..work!

                          When he starts doing this, both my dressage and jumper trainers both have instructed me to push him forward - as in gallop forward. Then, once he is moving out, collect him back in to a working or collected canter while keeping the same forward energy into my hands. Then, if he is still bracing his head and neck, which he usually isn't by this point, I can start working on softening his jaw and pole by massaging on the reins, etc.
                          ^ Same here

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            But if you hips don't maintain that canter, it will die.
                            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.

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