Canter Work

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Canter Work

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:46 pm

My five year old mare is well set in her flat walk and running walk. I started working her on cantering and need some tips. She will often just gait faster and even hit a pace instead of coming up into a canter. I try and cue her from a walk into the canter because I've been told that running them up into the canter won't work. If she starts pacing, I bring her back down and ask again. I've had more luck using the length of the arena and having her actually gallop and then slowing her to a canter. Trying it at a circle doesn't seem to work that well as she tends to just go into a pace when asked to move out faster than her gait. I have tried a weighted bell boot on the off foot when lunging her. I've seen a bit more canter while doing this. I know inclines help but it is pretty flat where I ride. Any other training ideas to help her figure out her foot falls?
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Re: Canter Work

Post by Susan Brown on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:29 pm

SUSAN: Hi, Laura. Here's what I'll advise to you, it definitely works...

I see that your horse knows how to lunge. I would teach her that clucking on the lunge line means speed up when in any gait, a walk or flat walk, slow gait, trot, whatever she does. But teach her to canter from the verbal word, "CANTER". It needs to be very loud, crisp, demanding but not angry, and repetitive, did I say LOUD?, (cluck, cluck, CANTER!, cluck, cluck, CANTER!, cluck, cluck, CANTER!) constant and rhythmic, accompanied with the lunge whip until she canters, whatever it takes to get it, don't give up! Then the moment she canters immediately leave her alone completely, even let her stop if she wants to, she did what you asked, give her complete relief of pressure. Then do it again. And again, until she gets the transition every time from the verbal cue alone. Then ask her to sustain the canter on the lunge line until you slow her. Once she's got the canter by the verbal cue every time, from the first time you say CANTER, then use that verbal cue in the saddle. Apply outside leg back, inside leg on the girth, squeezing or even applying light spur pressure, sit back, moving your seat in canter rhythm and add the verbal cue loudly CANTER! repetitively until she canters, then just leave her alone. Remember, the timing of the RELEASE of pressure teaches the horse, not the pressure. Don't worry about the correct lead until she gets just the canter transition well understood. Then work on leads by immediately correcting if she gets it wrong. Under saddle, don't ever let her speed up and BREAK into a canter. She needs to go from a walk or slow gait, TRANSITIONING into a canter. If she speeds up too much at the flat walk, or slow gait, stop her and try again, with a LOUD, crisp verbal cue, repeating the verbal and adding leg pressure or even spur pressure until she gets it. Eventually you'll be able to drop the verbal cue completely as she'll recognize what you what by leg and seat cues you have been using.

I hope this helps.

Good luck. Feel free to write with more questions as you go.
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Re: Canter Work

Post by sammy on Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:53 am

would like advice on canter exercises to improve the collection and get that rocking horse canter. also what to do when they get strung out at the canter or swap hind lead

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Re: Canter Work

Post by Chelsie Kallestad on Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:56 am

Canter work is something that I feel that some gaited trainers don't do enough. It used to be that they said that you should never canter a gaited horse. That has since been coming around which is good. Cantering is something that all horses should and can do and it only improves their balance and gaiting.

I would work on getting the canter on the lead line like what was suggested. The more your horse canters the more balance he will get and the better he will canter when we are on his back. An other thing to ad to some of your work is teaching your horse vertical flexion. That is when you pick up on two reins softly and hold pressure until your horse softens and drops his nose vertical to the ground. What you need in order to get a good rocking horse canter is collection. Vertical Flexion is not collection but vertical flexion will produce collection over time and softness. Teach your horse how to drop on the vertical and get soft, this will soften his neck back and brain.

Also are horses need to learn how to canter in small and big circles. I know it is way easy for gaited horses to canter on a straight line but they need to canter in small and big circles to learn how to balance themselves properly. That is probable why your horse is cross-firing when in the canter, he is not balanced right. When ever he starts cross-firing slow him down to a gait and get him in vertical and soft again and then start cantering again. He needs to regain his balance and he needs to come out of that canter to do so.

Sunny, also for you the same thing, your horse needs to learn how to canter on the ground and in circles when riding. One thing that is going to really help you is a ground pole. When you are in a circle either on the ground or riding have a ground pole and come around about two strides before that ground pole ask your horse for a canter. Your horse will more likely pace as you were saying but a horse can not pace while going over a ground pole. So ask for the canter 2 strides away your horse will come up to the ground pole and will have to change his gait to something else to get over it and if you have speed you will most likely get a canter. If you have no speed you will most likely get a gait so make sure you ask for that canter and have your horse thinking canter. Now that does not mean that you need to put the gas on fast, just put a little more gas on so your horse knows what you want.
Truly, try it! It will work if you and your horses timing is right!

Thanks and let me know if you have any more questions on what I have said here.
Chelsie
www.chelsienaturalhorsemanship.com
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