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Tips for keeping the canter round

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  • Tips for keeping the canter round

    I'm having some issues with my canter and I'm looking for ways to get my canter to stay nice and round. Well, not MY canter, but my horses. I have a TB who is 11. Bought him out of a backyard. We're working still on framing up and pushing from behind instead of hanging out on our forehand.

    As he gets better, we're still having the same issues jumping. He has a nice canter in, but a stride before he flattens his canter out, speeds up and then just sorta plops over the fences. Canter stays flat the stride out and then will round again when asked. I've jumped him up to 3' and he's better over bigger fences it would seem because he has to "think" more but I think he needs to think over the little ones too.

    I'm almost 100% positive that this is rider related. So I'm looking for thoughts. I try canter poles but he instead sorta DIVES for the pole instead of using it to round.

  • #2
    A lot of TB's hate that "restricted" feeling when someone is trying to keep them in a "frame" when jumping. Most TB's do better when at a freer canter on a course. Keeping a hold of them can often result in them making a bid for a fence.

    Try establishing your pace and cantering jumps on a circle using your body and voice and light half halts to balance. Try to make soft, floating reins and a quiet circle your goal. I think you'll find that he stays quieter to the jump (on the last stride), if you aren't trying to frame him up on the way to it. Use half halts (the most important part of the half halt is leg an the RELEASE) to rebalance.

    Use flat time to work on balance, doing transitions, circles, spirals etc. Set up canter bounces with poles (start with one bounce and progress to 3 or 4), and you can canter those on a more collected canter, but not a tight frame. The poles will make him get off his forehand.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree. I have 2 canters with Niki- round flatwork canter, with contact. It carries a lot of power and is lovely. Then to jump, you need to get off her back and stay out of the mouth. It's a nice relaxed canter, not as much power, but she jumps nicely. I work over poles in this relaxed canter.

      This is not to say that flat work is not required for good jumping. Indeed, I think that working on the rounder canter, the rounder more connected trot builds the strength and balance for a horse to carry themselves on a soft contact.

      Comment


      • #4
        Since he sounds like he always does it at same point then do a Half Halt (bringing hauches underneath himeself) when you expect it - make sure you sit up - perhaps you're leaning too far forward? Smaller jumps I was taught to just "fold" at the waist - maybe you're doing it too early? Just trying to brainstorm as I have no idea.
        Now in Kentucky

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          I do have a tendency to hold my half halt too long. I think his previous rushing has made me a little wary of him. Even though it's not really a "rush" per say.

          I'm pretty bent on making things "perfect" and I have a tendency to over ride him. I'm working on some things tonight so we'll see.

          Here's some video for an example...... I do also sometimes THROW myself at him.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0u99b-hua8

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frKS-fxdtoA

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLfG9fY-V8U (he normally doesn't refuse but I took my leg off here my fault)

          Comment


          • #6
            You do need to soften your hand some. In your videos the two things that stood out are that you never soften, and you are catching him in the mouth over jumps. Both can make a horse want t o make a bid the last stride. Either use a crest release, where you actually press your hands onto the crest, or use a following hand. You're catching him just as he starts unfolding over the jump.

            I'd spend lots of time in 2 pt doing transitionswithout using the reins or neck to balance. W/C/T/C/W etc. Also doing grids of low bounces with trot poles coming in and you in 2 pt,, with your reins knotted on his neck, hands on hips/head/out to the side, will help keep you from throwing your body.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              My hands are my nemisis. I try the following hand and he seems to like that so maybe I need to go back to that.

              Just some background he LOATHED my old saddle as did i. So we both spent lots of time fighting the old saddle. The new saddle has made big changes so now I just need to learn to trust my lower leg to make my hand more indepedent. Or I need to start out each ride with no stirrups.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by zahena View Post
                My hands are my nemisis. I try the following hand and he seems to like that so maybe I need to go back to that.

                Just some background he LOATHED my old saddle as did i. So we both spent lots of time fighting the old saddle. The new saddle has made big changes so now I just need to learn to trust my lower leg to make my hand more indepedent. Or I need to start out each ride with no stirrups.

                I would work in the two point at the walk and trot before I did no stirrup work. In my opinion, it's more effective in strengthening a riders independent seat/hands.

                Secondly, I'd stick w/ the crest release until you work through this issue. Sometimes with green horses, particularly ones that have been caught in the mouth, the less you do the better. I hesitate to have you half halt right before the jump too. If you're holding it too long, your horse may just react by pulling back harder. Instead, try to be very still, sit up straight, and ask for a light bend five-six strides out.

                I also agree to work on jumping on a circle, which will help you to accomplish a similar bend.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                  You do need to soften your hand some. In your videos the two things that stood out are that you never soften, and you are catching him in the mouth over jumps. Both can make a horse want t o make a bid the last stride. Either use a crest release, where you actually press your hands onto the crest, or use a following hand. You're catching him just as he starts unfolding over the jump.

                  I'd spend lots of time in 2 pt doing transitionswithout using the reins or neck to balance. W/C/T/C/W etc. Also doing grids of low bounces with trot poles coming in and you in 2 pt,, with your reins knotted on his neck, hands on hips/head/out to the side, will help keep you from throwing your body.

                  agreed, he's very inverted over the jumps, ears back, which makes me think he's in fear of getting hit in the mouth over the jump. That's also probably why he "flattens out" before the jumps, in anticipation of that issue. What I'd do with him (and you!) is lots and lots of gymnastics where you basically ride through with no contact whatsoever, and let the jumps back him up, not your rein contact. I used to have to ride through gymnastics with my hands out to the side...it's a great way to break yourself of the "hand-y" habit over fences.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You need to fix the canter work on the flat first. You also need to understand what a quality canter is. Only someone on the ground watching it happen with good solid flat work skills can help you fix it. Telling you to soften your hands is not going to fix this horse's canter.

                    You need to get his back up and his hind end up underneath him.
                    You need to stop worrying about "Making him round" and start learning how to get him engaged from his hind end. Once you can do that, then, you can worry about how flexed he is or is not in his pole/throat latch.

                    You need to back it up and start over. A good exercise that I think works great for horses of all ages and training levels is this:

                    On a large circle, canter. Keep thinking trot, but keep him cantering, but keep thinking trot. When his mane blows up, you'll be lifting his back up into your seat by squezing him from your knee, thigh, and butt/ hips. Every stride you'll do this. Think trot, squeeze / lift, stay on your circle. You can actually let him trot a couple steps and then go right back up into a nice canter, repeating the process.

                    Don't worry about where his head and neck are, you just want to keep feeling like you're lifting him with your leg and set every time his mane blows up. LIFT!

                    Also, a key component to this is to make sure he's straight through his body. You want to feel like you're turning a school bus... shoulders first, dont turn him by his nose. You want to be pushing him around that circle with your outside thigh/knee.

                    Telling you to soften your hand and just let him figure it out is a cop out with a horse like this. He NEEDS to be supported and he needs to be trained to have a good quality canter. He's not going to just figure it out magically on his own.


                    Repetition is the key to training any horse. Helping him to establish a good quality canter, knowing what a good quality canter feels like and getting him to the point where he can maintain a good canter around a course is going to take a lot of flat work
                    Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Amen to everything that TR said...

                      I was lucky enough to visit TR and ride some of her lovely horses. And she helped me understand this concept so I could implement it when I got home (and not just with the canter) along w/ the help from my trainer and a very knowledgable friend. My horse also goes more on the forehand and needs to learn to engage and get his hind end up underneath him.

                      Dressage lessons and major flat work (circle work in particular) is the ticket. I thankfully have a really good friend (thanks Big Mick if you are reading this) that is very well versed in this and she also really helped me and my horse with this. By either "teaching" me from the ground, or getting on my horse and showing me and then I would get back on so I could feel it too. Really helped me truly understand. And my new trainer was working on this with me also.

                      I was just "getting it" at the trot before he decided that he needed to colic and have surgery and scare the living crap out of his Mom. And yes, he's fine now...

                      ETA: But I do agree w/ Jetsmom regarding your hands (not just soften a little bit but keep them more quiet) and now DLee about your stirrups.
                      Last edited by LSM1212; Aug. 20, 2009, 02:08 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Possibly shorten your stirrups as well?
                        We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
                        www.dleestudio.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          bar.ka here

                          dont u go listen'n to dat dumb bunny, circles smirkles

                          u come ride grand prix wi'd me

                          what u need to do is get u a shirt with some peaches on the front

                          slap a big smile on ur face

                          set them jumps up BIG

                          and gallop, gallop, gallop

                          hug ur legs around the girth, grab some mane, and let the cards fall where they may

                          no need waste time on flat work. just git'em up and go

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by DLee View Post
                            Possibly shorten your stirrups as well?
                            Really? You think? Sometimes I feel they are too short, then sometimes too long. I sometimes like to crawl up his neck and jump ahead of him (haha, hence why he rushes) and found longer stirrups stopped my jumping ahead but now maybe make me sit back too soon?

                            Haha, Barka Lounger he'd love that. He likes to see bigger fences because i ride them differently I guess?

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              And I agree that ALL fixes need to come on the flat before o/f. If you don't have it on the flat, you will never get it o/f.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                You have received some excellent observations and suggestions. The one that I agree with most is TR's suggestion of having knowledgeable eyes from the ground. You are going to need those eyes to help you fix this-take some lessons. We often get into habits we aren't aware of until those eyes see them and help us correct them. It will be a much faster, less frustrating journey if you have help. :-)

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Sadly help is somewhat unavailable to me. How about having a board on here for my on-line coaches?? I'll video, y'all rip me apart.

                                  Oh wait, me and TR are already on that one.....

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    bar.ka here

                                    ur horse rushes 4 lot of reasons

                                    put jumps up u ride better?

                                    mayb u need to ride all jumps same no matter size?

                                    u come to bar.ka camp, we teach lots of beginners how to ride grand prix

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Remember too that some horses are just not built round and take much much more work to get it.

                                      I have to agree with jetsmom; some types of TB's just don't do well with all that holding. I would assume that's why you see more WB's at the high levels of dressage as opposed to TB's - most are just not built to travel that way. All one has to do is look at their breed background - they were engineered to cover ground with lean athletic bodies and muscles meant for running.

                                      However, that certainly does not mean that they cannot be taught but it's important to consider the type of TB you have as well. The more sensitive types will obviously be harder and picking a horse with contrary conformation (neck set high or inverted) will be really difficult. When I buy my young TB's I always look for a super quiet, willing temperament and a naturally low head carriage so even if they have trouble keeping a round canter on course, they will at least not have their head stuck in the air.

                                      I do hunters so having to hold to get a round canter is not really the look I am going for. I work on getting my horses to come back to me when I ask and than carry on with a balanced and adjustable canter. They may not have the "profile" of the fancy WB hunter but they also usually don't have the attitude (or strength ) either
                                      \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by magnolia73 View Post
                                        II have 2 canters with Niki- round flatwork canter, with contact. It carries a lot of power and is lovely. Then to jump, you need to get off her back and stay out of the mouth. It's a nice relaxed canter, not as much power, but she jumps nicely. I work over poles in this relaxed canter.

                                        This is not to say that flat work is not required for good jumping. Indeed, I think that working on the rounder canter, the rounder more connected trot builds the strength and balance for a horse to carry themselves on a soft contact.

                                        I agree with this completely and it fully describes how I have to ride my TBX as well. Flat days are more in a dressage frame, more collected and he works quite nice and round doing flatwork. We also work on things like leg yields, shoulder/haunches in, lengthenings etc...

                                        Jump days we work more in a hunter frame, looser rein and I ride in a half seat most of the time. He is much happier and consistent jumping like this. He is able to stay balanced and light at the canter because of all the time we spend doing more challenging flatwork to develop topline and proper muscles.

                                        Comment

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