Horse struggles with canter?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by benthetb, May 30, 2018.

  1. benthetb

    benthetb Registered

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    Hey guys, so I recently purchased a 15 year old off the track gelding who I had been leasing for about 6 months, and who had really just been sitting in the paddock for the year or so before that. He hasn't had a whole lot of education in the 4 years he's been off the track. For the past approx 5 months I have been working on strengthening exercises in walk and trot (cavalletti, small jumps, hill work, backing up inclines, ect) and attempting to do some canter work, but this horse is so unbalanced at the canter that he can only go, very choppily, down the long side of the arena. He also tries to run into the canter, and even when I bring him back to a controlled trot and queue again on the next straight he still runs the last couple trot strides. When I try to canter him around the short side of the arena he honestly feels like he's going to slip over, even with my rein and inside leg trying to support him. Does anyone have any ideas on how we can improve his canter? (also just in case it makes a difference, I ride him bitless because he does not like the bit at all, never did even as a racehorse apparently so it's not an issue with teeth) I've tried taking him out of the arena to canter but he gets super hot and strong... Unfortunately too there are no trainers in my pretty small coastal town, so that isn't even an option! :no:
    I would really appreciate any tips, thanks!
     
  2. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    I'd suggest showing a few things.

    Conformation photos - there's a stickie at the top of the critique board that tells you how to do them. Then post videos of him walking and trotting at the camera and away from it, also of him on a lunge line walking, trotting and cantering. We've got really good eyes here that might notice something. I'd like to see photos if his back from behind at the tail, from just slightly over it, you might need a step ladder. Not way over it, just enough to see any misalignment.

    The obvious next suggestion is chiro treatments. Has he had any? Many ottb have problems and seriously need them to get balanced.

    Video of you riding him at the different gaits and transitions too. A cell phone video is just fine, but not from too far away for seeing.

    We'll need to see his hooves too in those photos of conformation, so please read the post at the top of the critique board about hard or firm level surfaces.

    Let's hope we can give you some answers. :)
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  3. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    I added a few things to this post above after I posted it, just an FYI on it being edited. ;)
     
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  4. benthetb

    benthetb Registered

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    Thanks for your detailed response! I’ll get those photos and videos over the next few days. I don’t know about his history with the chiro but I am booking with someone coming to my area in a couple of weeks, so fingers crossed there. Thanks again, can’t wait to see what everyone thinks :)
     
  5. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    My mare has had issues cantering forever (it could have been remedied I'm sure had I had the knowledge to improve it). She had always done the same - incredibly unbalanced, super rushed, leaning on circles, and unresponsive once in the gait itself. I've been lessoning the past year+ regularly, and her canter has improved tremendously. Working in the canter itself helped, especially in wide open spaces where I could give her her head and just let her figure it out with supportive seat and leg (knowing she'd be safe to do that with). Lunging once a week or so helped her, because the canter became this big deal that became a mental challenge as well, and just letting her figure it out on the lunge helped bother of us mentally. Lastly, working on lateral work to get control of her shoulder and to be able to better influence her inside hind leg has made a huge difference - lots of shoulder fore and leg yields. Her canter is greatly improved now, and I ensure I am not hindering her or making it harder for her unintentionally, and make sure my aids are correct and the same with every transition. It took a lot of time, but I had all but given up on it at one point, so I'm thrilled with our progress :)
    (This is assuming there's nothing physical, including saddle fit issues, which should be investigated first)
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  6. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    Off the track?

    Are we talking about a Standardbred race horse?

    He is 15 and was retired age 14 and nothing done with him afterwards??? I find 14 as retiring age a bit hard to believe.
     
  7. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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    Does he have the same problems when he is not ridden?
    When was he last vet checked? Is the saddle fitting him okay?
    Might be pain-related, might be a problem in his training so far. It sounds like he has trouble keeping his balance.
     
  8. Ziast

    Ziast Senior Member

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    You say you've been doing small jumps, how are those going ? One way to introduce the canter is to trot into a fence and canter away. The canter you get after a nice fence can be better than the one achieved in a rushed ,unbalanced transition.
     
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  9. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    OTTBs need re-schooled. You work on walk, then trot, transitions to trot then walk, then you worry about loping.

    He has no education in astride riding, you cannot expect him to canter yet. You have no basics installed. Retrain him like you would a horse just learning how to ride.
     
  10. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I'm not saying this to be mean - these all sound like rider issues. Sorry. It's also possible the horse is lame and he's obviously not very fit, but it sounds largely like riding issue. Sorry. The horse has some bad habits obviously but it's the rider that addresses the faults. Working with an instructor will help. I don't really see this all getting fixed with a bitless bridle; in fact the bitless bridle may be a big part of the problem (also, sorry). I'd try to find out why the horse is difficult with a bit and resolve that.

    Without seeing a video I can't really say what to work on first, it's best to get an instructor.

    If I was going to guess (and of course I just hate doing that), I'd guess based on what I've seen in lots of other riders, and that would be a general need to strengthen the seat and position so the position is quieter and more secure (sorry) and the hands are quieter (sorry). In other words many people have the same challenges to face.

    benthetb,

    Hey guys, so I recently purchased a 15 year old off the track gelding who I had been leasing for about 6 months, and who had really just been sitting in the paddock for the year or so before that. He hasn't had a whole lot of education in the 4 years he's been off the track. For the past approx 5 months I have been working on strengthening exercises in walk and trot (cavalletti, small jumps, hill work, backing up inclines, ect) and attempting to do some canter work, but this horse is so unbalanced at the canter that he can only go, very choppily, down the long side of the arena. He also tries to run into the canter, and even when I bring him back to a controlled trot and queue again on the next straight he still runs the last couple trot strides. When I try to canter him around the short side of the arena he honestly feels like he's going to slip over, even with my rein and inside leg trying to support him. Does anyone have any ideas on how we can improve his canter? (also just in case it makes a difference, I ride him bitless because he does not like the bit at all, never did even as a racehorse apparently so it's not an issue with teeth) I've tried taking him out of the arena to canter but he gets super hot and strong... Unfortunately too there are no trainers in my pretty small coastal town, so that isn't even an option! :no:
    I would really appreciate any tips, thanks!
     

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