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Explosive into canter

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  • Explosive into canter

    ive been riding a new horse who every time I ask for the canter jumps into taking off and it takes a few strides to get a decent pace. I have a soft cue and I’ve been trying new things but nothing has been helping very much. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    First if the horse is being ridden western it is a lope Second, usually it is a horse that just needs to know that speed is not required. We have one that we have to ride for a good while before he goes soft and quiet. One thing that helps is to do lots of upward and downward transitions, along with circles of various sizes.


    • #3
      Out of curiosity, what do you consider a "soft cue" in this situation? I have an OTTB who does this. She is EXTREMELY sensitive. For her to canter "nicely" all I do is open loosen the rein on the lead side I'm requesting and kiss. She gets pissy if you add anything else to the process haha. So it may be the horse doesn't think you're soft enough.

      However, counter point, for this horse, you could also be too soft in your cue that he is excited and rushing/anticipating the canter.
      My horse has resting Mare Stare.



      • #4
        Could also be lack of balance. Either she needs you to balance her up better before you ask or she just doesn’t have enough of it to carry her through a correct transition.


        • #5
          Horses can react like that when they’re out of balance or if they are confused.

          Your aids might be light but they are either not in sync or not clearly asking for what you want.

          1. Change the cue. Get the right response. Reestablish the cue you want.
          On the lunge line, is the horse rushing as well? If not, use that verbal cue under saddle.
          Someone could lunge you too.

          2. Change the exercices, change the context.
          Make sure the horse is strong enough, balanced enough, relaxed and really responsive, make sure you wait for a good canter transition, if you feel any idea of rushing, you wait it out.
          Maybe walk than start with the canter.
          Don’t wait for the horse to be tired,
          Start going toward the fence/wall.
          Start in a 10-15m circle.
          Maybe it’s time for some counter canter.
          Start in a leg yield.
          Start in the middle of the ring, anywhere the horse isn’t used to.
          Do canter transitions randomly, canter only a few strides (until the horse is round/quiet) and keep doing whatever else you were working on...

          ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

          Originally posted by LauraKY
          I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
          HORSING mobile training app


          • #6
            Consider saddle fit too.
            My WB (former GP Jumper) had an explosive depart too.
            Asking for trot did not get the same response, he'd step off quietly.

            At first trainer & I attributed it to his former job - Jumpers are timed, after all & he was used in the GP ring for 9 of his 15yrs before I got him.

            He had Mount Withers & I used a riser pad on my beloved A/P saddle to keep it off them.
            Not only could his canter depart be wild, but he'd often throw in some Gonna Rear movements during the gait.

            We were making progress using biomechanics/my core to ask for canter, but I'd never get more than a handful of good canter steps before he got reactive.
            At 17H+ this was not desirable.

            It wasn't until I got a semi-custom saddle - after trialing 1/2 dozen models - that he softened & became a Happy Camper at canter.
            Once the pinching or whatever issue my old saddle caused was solved it felt like all I did was think "canter" & off we'd step,
            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


            • #7
              Originally posted by OdieJump View Post
              ive been riding a new horse who every time I ask for the canter jumps into taking off and it takes a few strides to get a decent pace. I have a soft cue and I’ve been trying new things but nothing has been helping very much. Any suggestions?
              That's great that he is responding to a soft cue. I'd just quietly bend him to a stop as soon as he gets up a head of steam. This will keep him from bracing and lifting his head and fighting you, since you are turning him in a circle. Just let him circle until he slows himself down.

              Any kind of direct counteraction is going to make it worse - you are asking for forward and he is responding correctly, just with too much energy. So allow him the response, and simply direct the energy in a manner that does not get you into a fight with him, but gets him controlled without him getting upset.

              Some horses do get a bit anxious if you ask for go then pick up on the reins - they feel mixed signals and it confuses them as alibi said in post 18. So you simplify things for them and they figure it out and it's no longer an issue.
              "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."


              • #8
                Have you seen him being ridden by anyone else? Does he do this with them?

                There are so many things that could be going on. He might be used to riders that lose their balance into the lope and pull, so he feels he must push through that first, potentially uncomfortable few strides. Or he might be unbalanced and get hollow into it, which feels quick.

                If you are skilled enough, and he is trained enough, asking him to canter out of a shoulder fore/shoulder in might help.

                If not, I would just do a tonne of transitions until you get a good one. I would stay consistent in your aids so he can get comfortable with how you ask and figure out what you want. horses learn more or less by trial and error, so if he keeps getting new aids from you he will struggle to learn what you want.
                Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                • #9
                  Is the horse young and new to ridden work?
                  Its not that uncommon for young ones to do this when first under saddle. Balance, over-reaction to the aid, maybe it needed a strong aid to get going. One of mine has 2 favourite evasions, not going at all, or tanking off. I just ride forward until it becomes rythmic

                  I also had a lesson where the instructor reminded us that young green horses cant hit a canter from a slow trot and we need to having them in a forward active trot (I mean thats all obvious, but she gave it speeds in mph which we could related too) yelling 'thats a 4mph trot, you need a 10mph for canter transition' (or whatever it was, we are kmph and I cant translate!)

                  Lots of transitions usually sorts it out. Not to suggest you shouldnt look at physical stuff too