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Author Topic: What's the trick to cantering??????  (Read 963 times)

melissah

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What's the trick to cantering??????
« on: March 30, 2017, 04:46:11 pm »

I've had Jex over a year now. He's cantered up hills and during a group ride some gaited horses were going faster (GPS) so he started a smooth canter but fell out when everyone slowed down. I have no idea if I cued him or what? Did the same at the beach. I asked Hope how she cues and she if I remember (David does) you pick up the opposite rein and kick with the opposite foot. That's Dozers cue. I've read Lee Zieglers book and the mechanics of build. Jex flexes and collects nicely but probably not as perfect as I may think. We were out riding and on a flat dirt road. David Cantered Dozer off no problem  and I tried same cue and OFF he went into a hard pace flying towards the street....luckily he neck reins and I was able to steer with one hand and hold the pommel. Wonder if I scared him or was not subtle enough. He doesn't canter on the lunge line but will in the turn out. Any idea's? I have set up poles/cavaletti's again this year. I know a lot has to do with confirmation, the back rounded, hind quarters pushing off. Any tips. I tried it a couple of days ago in the turn out and when he hits a certain gear the pace makes you fly out of the seat. But he does a nice flat walk.
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Ozhorse

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2017, 05:04:43 am »


Melissah, I dont know your history so sorry if this sounds an out of place question, but are you used to riding horses at the canter generally ?
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luvmysmh

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2017, 07:41:16 am »

I gave up trying to teach Wish to canter.  I haven't cantered in probably a dozen or so years.  I am so out of practice and he has never learned to canter under saddle - a recipe for disaster.  Like Jex, he canters fine in the field.  I did get him to canter in the round pen and could probably get him to canter on the longe as well.  But I've never been able to translate that to under saddle.

My answer to the problem - I'm getting someone to "fix" it for me  ;D

I've got a young woman (an excellent and fearless rider) who is going to work with him this summer and teach him to canter under saddle.  Once he has the cues down pat, I'll have her work with both him and me so that I can learn the cues and learn how to sit properly again and go with the movement.

I'm so excited.  I know this is absolutely no help for you, but if you do know of someone who could help you and Jex through this perhaps that would be useful.
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Karen

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2017, 08:42:01 am »

Trav's & Scout's cue is a kiss and nudge with the left leg and I move my seat into a canter.  Still figuring Bailey's out.  He "cross fires" but after a couple of strides smooths out into a canter.  Encore I'm not sure...it's been a while since I cantered him. 
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Karen

kckc

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2017, 09:26:26 am »

that crossfiring is a real issue with some breeds - my Eli (straight pacing twh) doesn't even canter well in the field.  I have kicked him into more of a gallop on hills under saddle but there was just never any use trying on flat ground.   You don't want to teach him to crossfire so get help.   
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ClaudiaIN

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2017, 09:28:06 am »

We don't canter, we just rack faster. -:)
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LadyAndMinerva

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2017, 10:32:31 am »

It's been 30 years since I "taught" a pony to canter under saddle, and I only had to do it for one, so this may be the completely wrong way to do it.  Also, she was a w/t/c pony, not gaited.

I took her to a large arena where I could have a long enough straight away without worrying about safety.  Then I would put her into a comfortable trot, tip her head to the outside and kick with the outside foot.  I just kept kicking until she cantered.  It required being able to hang on through the hard extended trot while continuing to cue.  She also swerved around a bit while she tried to figure out what I was asking for.  That's why a large, safe arena was key.  I could only worry about so many things while hanging on through that extended trot.  Once she hits the canter, staying on becomes much easier, so you can praise plenty and let her go on if she wants or ease her down if she's uncomfortable.  It only took a couple of sessions to get her to recognize the cue reliably.  Then it's just practice to refine the communication and movements and that can be done anywhere.
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wakemom

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2017, 05:43:29 pm »

Gabby has a canter cue, rein and leg but it's not a kick for her its just I place it there with the verbal "canter". She don't need to be "kicked" into gear. Maybe Jex doesn't either. :) Basically what is written below, is what I taught Gabby because I did want her to know leads.

"Another important component of canter departures is preparation of the horse. I like to use an analogy of John Lyon's: If I want to call and ask my friend to bring me a gallon of milk, I go pick up the phone, dial her number and wait for her to answer, before I can ask her. At this point, I can shout into the phone as loud as I can, but nothing will happen until she picks up the phone at the other end and says, "Hello, what do you want?" To prepare the horse to canter, we must prepare him for the cue and wait until he picks up the phone and says, "Hello, what do you want?" This is done by shortening up the reins a little and applying a little leg at the same time, to gather up the horse. When the horse's head comes up a little and his attention is on the rider, he is ready for the cue. Then the aids need to be applied: outside leg (to place the horse's haunches in), a release of the reins, a slight elevation of the inside rein, a push of the seat (the same motion of your seat that happens when you canter, you can't post a horse into a canter because posting means you want a trot), and what ever voice cue you use (I like to use a kissing sound for canter and not use it for any other cue)."

Some gaited horses do not canter well on the flat. Gretchen's Foxy is one. Uphill, ok keeping up with Gabby ok, but once Gabby is stopped Foxy does too. She will do a teeth jarring pace on the flat in an arena. We call it her can't a lope of eight legs. She even went to a dressage trainer to try to sort it out. He couldn't get her to canter either. She had to stop lessons when she was diagnosed with cancer. Since her recovery it hasn't been important as Foxy is a good horse in so many other ways.
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melissah

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2017, 08:54:09 pm »


Melissah, I dont know your history so sorry if this sounds an out of place question, but are you used to riding horses at the canter generally ?

My MFT had a jack hammer canter and my Peruvian Paso I use to Canter bareback, My first TWH I cantered.


I gave up trying to teach Wish to canter.  I haven't cantered in probably a dozen or so years.  I am so out of practice and he has never learned to canter under saddle - a recipe for disaster.  Like Jex, he canters fine in the field.  I did get him to canter in the round pen and could probably get him to canter on the longe as well.  But I've never been able to translate that to under saddle.

My answer to the problem - I'm getting someone to "fix" it for me  ;D

I've got a young woman (an excellent and fearless rider) who is going to work with him this summer and teach him to canter under saddle.  Once he has the cues down pat, I'll have her work with both him and me so that I can learn the cues and learn how to sit properly again and go with the movement.

I'm so excited.  I know this is absolutely no help for you, but if you do know of someone who could help you and Jex through this perhaps that would be useful.

Yep I got lessons in May with my Trainer to figure it out. I'll stay the weekend at her place.

Gabby has a canter cue, rein and leg but it's not a kick for her its just I place it there with the verbal "canter". She don't need to be "kicked" into gear. Maybe Jex doesn't either. :) Basically what is written below, is what I taught Gabby because I did want her to know leads.

"Another important component of canter departures is preparation of the horse. I like to use an analogy of John Lyon's: If I want to call and ask my friend to bring me a gallon of milk, I go pick up the phone, dial her number and wait for her to answer, before I can ask her. At this point, I can shout into the phone as loud as I can, but nothing will happen until she picks up the phone at the other end and says, "Hello, what do you want?" To prepare the horse to canter, we must prepare him for the cue and wait until he picks up the phone and says, "Hello, what do you want?" This is done by shortening up the reins a little and applying a little leg at the same time, to gather up the horse. When the horse's head comes up a little and his attention is on the rider, he is ready for the cue. Then the aids need to be applied: outside leg (to place the horse's haunches in), a release of the reins, a slight elevation of the inside rein, a push of the seat (the same motion of your seat that happens when you canter, you can't post a horse into a canter because posting means you want a trot), and what ever voice cue you use (I like to use a kissing sound for canter and not use it for any other cue)."

Some gaited horses do not canter well on the flat. Gretchen's Foxy is one. Uphill, ok keeping up with Gabby ok, but once Gabby is stopped Foxy does too. She will do a teeth jarring pace on the flat in an arena. We call it her can't a lope of eight legs. She even went to a dressage trainer to try to sort it out. He couldn't get her to canter either. She had to stop lessons when she was diagnosed with cancer. Since her recovery it hasn't been important as Foxy is a good horse in so many other ways.

Thanks Cheryl.....I know he has cantered under saddle.....we'll see


Thanks everyone,
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RackinRocky

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2017, 09:07:11 pm »

I don't like the idea or even the word "kick" a horse into a canter. I've never had to kick my two, or any I've owned, for that matter.  It's kind of crude. I SQUEEZE with the outside leg while touching the outside rein (not tugging or causing the horse's head to bend). I kiss, and they know that is their cue to canter. I don't want a horse to become "dead-sided" from kicking, and I think if a horse is broke, and has been taught to canter on cue, he should never HAVE to be kicked.
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Ozhorse

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2017, 08:24:08 am »


If you are used to riding a canter yourself that is a good start, otherwise both horse and rider learning at the same time is difficult.

One thing I have found easier with riding the gaited horses I have, is ask for gait from a COLLECTED WALK.   I suspect  for gaited horses, it is easier to canter from walk than gait.  Since the gene that gives them gait is also the one that suppresses transition to canter then that would make sense it is a bit difficult for them to go gait-canter. That is why the gene helps both trotting and pacing harness race horses stay in trot or pace.  The gait gene has been accidentally selected for in those breeds because of it.   

I think there is an assumption that a horse must be in a trot (or gait) to go into a canter, but I have no idea why people think that.

I ride and show reining horses, and I have done reining with a gaited horse (no trot in reining).  Canter departures are critical so they get worked on a lot.  One thing I learned reining, is that if a horse is all strung out and rushing in one gait (walk or trot) then it is going to still be rushing and strung out when it goes into canter. (Kind of obvious, but not all obvious is obvious). So we work on the walk and the preparation to canter ( as wakemom has described so well so I wont repeat it).  If a horse is strung out and rushing in gait it is going to be difficult for it to collect up to strike off into the canter.

The cues wakemom has described are body positioning signals, they should be practiced at the walk so your horse is in a correct shape to take a lead departure. Doing two track exercises help with that.  The actual signal to strike off I also use the Kiss.  Really there are two separate cues to canter, either canter on left lead, or canter on right.  On a well trained horse the cue is shortened to tightening  the calf muscle on the opposite side you want the lead, and kiss, they step under in the hind end, and lift the front leg that is going to take whatever lead. 

Uphill is definitely easier as the hill creates collection.  If you are trail riding up hill and your trail buddies will let you, go first and get the walk-canter going before they canter off.  With your horse in front it is less likely to rush and pace.   Also if a horse is not used to cantering then circles can be hard for it and uphill on the straight much easier.

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gallatingal

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2017, 08:32:57 am »

Really lateral horses, the ones that have a tendency to pace or step pace, have a very difficult time cantering.  Not impossible, but very difficult. Jennie Jackson spoke quite a bit about that at the Expo this year. They want to move both legs on the same side at the same time, and that doesn't really work in the canter.  When they do start to canter, and even in the field, they tend to want to cross fire because that is more lateral. It took me nearly a year, even with help, to get Eldorado aka Shiloh to learn how to canter, but once he got it he got it. IF your horse trots, it is easier. Jennie recommends teaching your horse to trot in order to "square them up". Jigsaw and Happy were much easier to get into a canter because they both will trot in the field and occasionally under saddle. Does Jex ever trot when he is loose? If not you will have your work cut out for you. It is not impossible, but difficult.
The cue to canter is to move your horses hindquarters toward the side you want your lead on and also use your reins and legs to keep them from falling on to the inside front leg. For example for the left lead you would keep your left leg on  at the girth and move your outside leg back to push the hindquarters over. That evolves into a cue which is move the outside leg behind the girth to give the cue... but don't let him fall in at the shoulder. If your horse takes off at a fast pace stop them and start all over again. He will eventually figure it out if you are consistant.
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melissah

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2017, 10:27:12 am »

Thanks everyone....I got out my Gaited Bible.....Lee Zielger's book and have so much highlighted in yellow. I'm getting there.  :)
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MyBoyG

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 04:59:13 pm »

G was very lateral when I got him as a youngster and it did take a lot of work to get him to walk in a consistent 4 beat flat walk/running walk.

What I found was that G will not canter from gait, he needs to be walking and not striding deep behind.  So, if your horse isn't sickle hocked, you will have an easier time of it. So with G, I just learned to contain his walk and his cue for canter is a bump with the outside leg slightly behind the girth, while I lift the inside rein slightly. I spent days, weeks, months on building up his hind end. Walking up and down hills, backing up small inclines, working leg yields, and lots of transitions from walk to halt, then worked on walk to canter.  The stronger the hind end the better. Teaching them to set back on the haunches to lift off into the canter is another 'goodie'. Rein backs are great for this.  Now that spring has sprung and G is a bit out of shape, this is how I work him to build him back up.

One of the ways we first worked with G on canter was to walk down the quarter line of the arena and leg yield over to the wall. Right before getting there when the outside leg was ready to come forward, I'd cue for the canter. That helped set him up well in body position to canter and pick up the correct lead. Another exercise once you get your horse cantering is to walk toward the wall or fence line and plan on turning right. Right as you get to the turn, cue for canter. Repeat going left, and repeat both sides a few times. It really helps set up your horse for the right lead.

When doing canter transitions, I'll work on a collected walk into canter, let him canter 5-6 strides and bring him back to a walk. I'll repeat this for about 5 - 10 minutes working both directions and move onto something else.  In the beginning, I didn't care about leads or the amount of lift, just getting a three beat canter and a smooth downward transition. As he builds back strength, I increase the amount of strides and work on leads, and getting that 'jump' into the canter. I never let him canter uphill.  Walking up hills is one of the fastest/best ways to build up a horses backend and topline. Cantering up hills is easier for them, which is why they tend to do it. Make them walk....its work.

It's a lot of work and patience, but the end result is worth every minute you put into it.
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luvmysmh

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Re: What's the trick to cantering??????
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2017, 07:47:12 am »

Kate,

So do you never canter G from a gait? 

Wish is very pacey, always has been and always will be.  The most I get out of him is a step pace.  To the best of my knowledge, we've never racked.  So, my experience will be a lot like yours (except Wish is a lot older than G was at the time you taught him to canter).

Is it always walk-canter-walk?  I don't really care how we have to do it.  If we're out with friends and they go canter-trot, I can always go canter-walk a few strides-gait.
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