Cantering the green horse

Discussion in 'Training Horses' started by obesessed1989, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. obesessed1989

    obesessed1989 New Member

    I have just started doing Canter work with my 5 yr old just wanted to know the best way to get him balanced as he falls out of it alot';'';'
  2. Skittled

    Skittled Well-known Member

    Is he balanced at the trot and walk? If not, get those right before progressing to the canter.

    I find transitions and circles (of various sizes) great excerises to help with my horse. However, you also need to make sure that you yourself are balanced in the saddle.

    Also it wouldnt hurt to get a few lessons just to help things along.
  3. Jemima

    Jemima Active Member

    I have taught a couple of stb's (although I know you are asking about a horse in general) to canter and they are unbalanced as all hell when they first start! I usually get it going on an uphill area and then get them going along in straight lines before trying to do circles. Although getting a canter going on the lunge line can be usefull too.
    Can you feel when he is about to fall out of the canter? Just push him along if you can before he falls out, otherwise just get your trot balanced and ask again. As he builds strength in cantering he will find his balance better too :)
  4. equislave

    equislave Well-known Member

    I do a lot of canter work on a straight long flat track out in the bush. This allows my horse to bowl (sp) along nicely and get into a good rhythm. It also helps me to ride the canter as I can concentrate on my position without worrying about corners or the end of the arena coming up.
  5. Indigo King

    Indigo King New Member

    With my young horse I made sure that she was going well and balanced in the walk and trot first before progressing into canter work, and before I started canter under saddle I did a bit of canter lunge work with either side reins or something similar to get her used to it and more balanced at the canter before I started under saddle.

    When I started canter under saddle I asked very gently and never chased her into it and didnt ask for much collection at the start and she as well would fall out of it quite a bit as she still does but I didnt chase her to stay in it as that is when they can lose confidence and get into the habit of rushing away from you, and the reason they can't hold the canter for long is because their muscle isn't built up enough to do so, but if you can get the transition nicely and get a few strides or half a circle the foundations are there and they know what you are asking, it is just a matter of building up the muscle to be able to hold it.
  6. bigredeventer

    bigredeventer New Member

    Second what Indigo_King said, except I use running reins on loose setting.
    I really give with the rein when they are first learning too so its clear what you want.
    I found the "From Green to dressage" DVD by Linda O'Leary was AWESOME. She explains step by step from breaker to first dressage test, they keep the hairy bits in there too so it's not perfect. **) Really helped me.
  7. TSN

    TSN New Member

    Well, I'll go against what a few have said and say don't put side reins on. Personally I hate them with a passion as they teach the horse either to lean on pressure or tuck behind the contact as that is the only place they find release.

    Definitely make sure you have a balanced walk and trot before attempting canter and remember that the canter will feel absolutely awful for a few months - don't expect too much. While it is tempting to hang off their mouths and tell them a constant 'whoah' when they start out because they feel like they are rushing and falling in and falling out and just generally feel terrible, you need to keep a loose rein and let them find the rhythm they are comfortable with. I am with Equislave on this and think it's best to start cantering either on trails or all the way around the arena or a large paddock. There is no quicker way to ruin a horse's natural rhythm than by constantly pulling him around a 20m circle and having to have inside leg pressure to stop them falling in. All you will achieve by starting out like this is an angry horse that is stiff through its back.

    I like to get off their back when they are first starting out as I believe it helps them get their balance a bit better as they don't have to worry about my weight as well as their own. Another thing to be mindful of is not giving them a great big kick in the belly when they break back into trot - it is hard work for them to try and balance themselves and their rider and you make it a bad experience by getting stuck into them when they break. If they break into trot, go back to rising immediately, re-group and try again. You might only get a few strides to start with but their backs will begin to stregthen and get used to carrying a rider and you will gradually get longer canter periods.

    Good luck! It has taken me almost 6 months to get a decent canter from my young horse. I know there are quick fixes for getting a canter that 'looks' nice but I don't believe the horses are comfortable nor are they working through from behind correctly.
  8. jess4dressage

    jess4dressage New Member

    You need to go back the walk and trot and make sure he is balanced within those pace's, transitions up and down of the next pace is very helpful and so is working the pace within a game.

    With young horses I set up two 20M a pole in the middle then on the other sides of the two circles put two cones about 5 M apart so you pretty much ride through the cones at a trot half a circle around to the the pole, canter over the pole to the left (it helps with correct lead) then when you get to the other set of cones ride through come back to trot then ride to the pole and canter to the right trot when you ride through the set of cones do this a couple of times then turn around and do it backwards.

    You can also do walk trot as well, trot from the cones half a circle to the middle walk at the pole then walk half a circle ride through the cones trot on and walk again when you get to the pole.

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