Helping a STB Canter

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Avalancheé, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. Avalancheé

    Avalancheé Registered

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    Hi

    As the title says, I want to see if my mare can canter under saddle. She’s a former Amish horse, so I’m not sure how far her training has gone.

    She canters on her own and perhaps she prefers it (I’ve seen her canter more than pace) but under saddle she paces when asked for a faster gait. She doesn’t really have any buttons or know leg cues, so asking her to switch gaits is all by reins + voice + squeeze. I want to try lunging her, but I don’t have a round pen or lunge line.

    I don’t have experience with gaited horses, so I’m not sure if there’s a specific way to get them to canter under saddle. Also, is it possible to do it bareback? I don’t have a saddle right now, nor am I able to afford one. If I can’t get her to canter, it’s no biggie. I’m a trail rider lol. I don’t need her to, it’s just for fun.
     
  2. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    I'm not a trainer nor do I have experience training STBs, however I would likely use voice to my advantage. I know you said you don't lunge her, but I would either lunge or long line her (might need some lessons in either if you are unexperienced with it) and use voice commands in addition to your regular lunging or long lining cues. Once you have her consistently understanding the cues on the ground, I'd do it undersaddle, using correct aids and voice as an additional cue that she'll already know and be confident with. You cannot just squeeze to get her to canter, you need to cue her properly for her to ever understand the difference between canter and speeding up (among other principles regarding leg). I know you said you just trail ride, but it might be worth it to take a few lessons, as it's much easier to teach these things in person, and much easier to learn from an experienced instructor on the ground.
     
  3. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Canter in your body. You know how to move at a canter, right? So trot her, give her her head, then kiss and start RIDING as if she WERE cantering and to be comfortable, she will follow the motion YOU are doing above her.

    We donot ever lunge a STB, they are gaited, tight circles are not helpful and this horse is already broke to death.
     
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  4. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    LOL.

    Longeing is a great way to get the canter as well as the trot with a pacer. And no, longeing has nothing to do in this case with how 'broke to death' the horse is, lol.

    It helps to position the horse so he is able to canter, and to give him the freedom to make a more awkward, less schooled, transition into the canter, without him getting any mixed messages.

    Also, keep in mind that initially, the canter is usually of poor quality with an unclear rhythm that is 4 beat or 'pacey' ('lateral'). Use of the longe line allows the horse to develop a better canter rhythm without getting mixed messages from the rider, who may have a very hard time following the canter with his seat and hand.

    One small circle and most of ours would be cantering.

    We'd also spiral in and out a time or two with the horse's body bending correctly, voila, canter.

    It's important to praise the horse for cantering as many of them have been punished for cantering.

    It's also important to not keep trying over and over, to have a really clear plan, get some skilled help or 'eyes on the ground' so you do it once or twice, it works, and you quit for the day. This is using the muscles in a new way, so is tiring even for a fit horse. Horses really do have to 'get fit at each gait.'

    Another way to develop the gait of canter is to get the canter going, and then canter uphill(a slight slope, obviously). Do not canter downhill on this method, make a transition to trot or walk before going down the slope.
     
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  5. Avalancheé

    Avalancheé Registered

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    It’d be great if I could get a couple of lessons from someone else, I agree. And starting from the ground up always sounds good, but if it’s just cantering on trails, we’ll have just as much fun walking and trotting :) unfortunately some extra lessons aren’t a priority unless I have extra cash :( I wish to continue lessons

    This, I could attempt. If it doesn’t work and I just end up looking really awkward, then oh well. Maybe she’ll get the idea, maybe she won’t
     
  6. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    She WILL. Horses ride by following your movement. Ride the canter and just keep doing it. It shouldn't take more than five strides for the horse to try to canter with you. When you get it, don't ask the horse to do it for long: six or seven strides of it while you scratch the wither to tell the horse that that's what you wanted, is enough for the first try.

    Then rest the horse, stop, stand and let him “soak“ (think about what just happened.) for a few minutes.

    Later in the ride, ask again by riding it. You have to build on that because the horse isn't used to carrying a rider during canter. The horse's balance will get better in time and then you can canter all over the place.
     
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  7. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Do not argue with me. I made my living off training STBs. They do not EVER profit from lunging. Period. It is a fact.

    You, on the other hand post threads asking how to hook one to a cart.
     
  8. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    You are not in charge of what I say. If I disagree with something you say, I am free to say so.

    We kids taught Standardbreds to trot if they paced, and canter if they didn't canter. We were very near to Hamburg and most of the school horses, no matter whose barn one was at, either came off the harness track or the flat racing track.

    We worked with a lady who spent most of her life doing that, and she was about 91 when she finally slid kicking and screaming into the grave. She had methods that worked.

    This lady drove (president of the Walnut Hills Driving Society), she played polo, hunted, did eventing, dressage, show jumping and she trained horses on the track.

    Her parents both trained race horses. She was born on the track, lol.

    And no. They're not the methods you describe.

    You're just telling people to 'canter with your body.' She called that 'humping the saddle.'

    Regardless, my comments provide another method that people can choose if they so desire. Or after they try yours, lol.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  9. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    I've had a lot of ex-amish horses in my life at one point or another and they are very rarely, if ever, trained to use their body. They're trained to let you strap on whatever get up you want and ride/buggy off. My guess would be your mare does not feel balanced in herself and not confident enough to canter with you on her back.
    A quick fix is to find a hill and get her to canter up it. Get her used to the feeling of cantering with a rider and allow her to gain some muscle memory so to speak. Keep your cues exactly the same when transitioning to the flat.
    A long term solution is to teach her how to use her body properly. I used to ride a morgan who had been an amish buggy horse most of his life and mah gawd that trot was awful. Nose up in the air, hollow back, jarring. Poor dude had the buggy horse plod.
     
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  10. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Yet she never taught you how to hook a horse to a cart, which is a less than three minute study~!!
    Yeah, right, one more “well known“ name to add to the list of hundreds you claim to have “worked with“. :ROFLMAO:

    Standardbred people DO NOT lunge horse. Period. It is NEVER done. So you have given yourself away that you are making up stories.
     

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