Cross-Firing/Disunited Canter

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by Sayer, Jan 22, 2019.

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How can I fix this disunited canter and why dose he do it? Any answers would be so much appreciated!

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  1. Sayer

    Sayer Registered

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    My father bought a AQHA gelding back in 2012 Diamond was rode only about twice a year as a trail horse. I got Diamond and started working with him in early 2018, after getting him I noticed a problem where he would completely refuse that left lead. I would put him in the correct position and most the time he would just quickly shift out of the position and take the right lead instead. Only once out of six times would he ever take that left lead. I decided to focus on building muscles by working with him at the walk and trot. After getting the trot down I had his back adjusted and I started to work with him on loping. I worked with him in the round pen. I would ask him to lope and he would refuse that left lead yet he picks up the right lead fine. After awhile of him taking the wrong lead and me stoping him and asking again he started Cross Firing. I called the vet she had me lunge him and she said he has arthritis (Diamond is only 14 years old). I had his hocks injected and after a week I continued to try to get him to lope left lead in the round pen but there was still no change. Figuring he was assuming he was in pain and I needing to focus on other horses, I turned him out for about a month. I recently started working with him again and instead of him never getting that left lead but once in a million times, he gets that left lead but only half way... He cross fires...
    I love Diamond to death and we have such a special bond, but if it is a health issue I sadly can’t afford to have a vet look into it.
    I’m really hoping there’s a way to rule this out without a vet bill.
    How can I fix this disunited canter and why dose he do it? Any answers would be so much appreciated!
     
  2. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    Cross firing in my experiences has to do wit hthe horse being out or off in the pelvis or SI area.

    All that said - you have a 14y/o horse, whom you don’t know if he’s ever cantered on the left lead - right?? So it could stand to reason that he has never had to do it & therefore has spent his entire life cantering on the right lead. If that is the case, you may be very hard pressed to solve this. It would take much training & hard work to help him move his balance and weight around so that he CAN comply with your request.
     
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  3. Sayer

    Sayer Registered

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    Hi, yes I don’t know that he has ever cantered left lead. I really want to get this problem solved as he’s such a good horse and I would love to be able to haul him to open shows as I do my other horses. I’m very willing to take the time, I know it will be difficult but I would love to get somewhere with Diamond. What are some exercises that I can do with him to help move his balance and weight around? Thanks, Sayer.
     
  4. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

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    Honestly, 1st I would say you need to rule out pain working with a vet. It’s not very fair to ask him to do something that he physically cannot do. If he passes a thorough vetting then I must suggest you find a coach to work with. Correct riding is what is needed - exercises depend on what is going on & exactly what the horse is doing. I suggest you post some photos or videos for further assistance.
     
  5. BluemoonOKy

    BluemoonOKy Senior Member

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    I need to see a video to really be able to help you. Who knows what the cause is without really seeing what is happening...could be rider and could be horse. Does he pick the lead up at free lunge ? Not sure if round pen was under saddle work or not. There are lots of possibilities about what is occurring and lots of possible solutions depending on what is going on. When a video is posted, please make sure it is clearly visible in good lighting for best visual assistance.
     
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  6. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Why is it necessary for the horse to canter on the left lead? Do you want to show him? Maybe you should forget that and just keep him as a trail horse.

    He's been a trail horse for at least six years, and it sounds like he has been lightly used occasionally during that time and like he has arthritis in his hocks.

    Maybe it would be better to just leave him as a trail horse who gets worked lightly now and then, and stop worrying about him getting his left lead.

    It's probably a very long-standing habit, possibly for physical reasons that existed long before you got him.

    And in general, if something has been going on for at least six years without treatment, there usually isn't a whole lot that can be done about it. The way he goes is likely an 'adjustment' to his arthritis that is necessary to keep him comfortable and serviceably sound for light riding.

    Hock arthritis is generally not a big deal, as long as you don't expect too much of the horse. So, for example, when my Quarter Horse pony got arthritis in his hocks, he was at third level dressage and some work above third level, which means a lot of canter work and smaller circles and lots of collection and extension. So he was 'dropped down' to a pet home where he was trail ridden at a walk and a little trotting, nothing requiring him to use his hocks other than very lightly.

    He went on comfortably for a very long time that way.

    The key with horses really is to not put them in inappropriate situations.
     
  7. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    You said you trotted him to “strengthen “ him.

    Now, think about that. What part of the animal has to be the strongest to push him off into canter? Hind end. The leg on the opposite side of the lead does all the work.

    What strengthens the hind end? Backing exercises, and transitions from walk to trot. Short transitions to trot, then halt and back up.

    If he's arthritic, the right hind hock may be more painful than the left. That stifle is probably weak as well.

    If you are going to use a chiro to align the horse, they have to come back multiple times because the muscles will pull the bones back into the old position where the horse has built up stronger muscle to keep him in the old out of alignment position.

    So, get the Chiro coming out more often. Practice transitions and back him everywhere: In and out of the pasture, his stall, around corners, over a pole.

    Be patient, let him drop his head, turn it, so he can see his feet and back him one leg at a time. In the saddle, or on the ground, one front leg, then the other, goes back, then one hind, then the other.
     
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  8. Sayer

    Sayer Registered

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    Thank you all for your assistance. I’ve only been free lunging him I will try to get a video of lunging today and video of me riding later this week as I have no one to video on ground LOL.
    I’ve had the chiropractor out 3 times within the past year along with his hocks injected after the vet determined he had arthritis. Diamond doesn’t seem in any pain in fact he did seem to get more spunk after the injections so I don’t believe that it’s a pain problem anymore I think perhaps Diamond lacks the knowledge to know what I ask him. “Manesantails” Thank you for the excellent advice! In the beginning I did work on backing up transitions ect however maybe I need to go back to that.
    Anyway Thank you all for your assistance and I’ll do my best to get some videos! :)
     
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  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I would not do backing up exercises if the horse is diagnosed with arthritis in the hocks or stifles. That is, in fact, going to aggravate it.
     
  10. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Slc disagrees with whatever advice *I* give, as a matter of course. It's that Vendetta she has that must be exercised no matter that the suggestion she makes is incorrect.
     

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