|Utah 7 year old Tennessee Walking Horse with
6 months professional training ridden in snaffle or Dr. Bristol bit
in English style endurance in round pen indoor and outdoor arena by adv
Question: Having trouble teaching horse to slow down his canter. He
is all or nothing. Picks up left lead every time but I have trouble getting
the right lead takes two or three
From Panelist Lee
To get a horse to slow down his canter, you need to play some mind games
with him, and also allow him to develop the strength in his back and hindquarters
that is necessary for a good slow canter. The mind game is -- don't canter
for very long. Ask him to canter, go three or four strides, then
slow instantly to a walk. Walk a relatively long way, then ask again for
three or four strides of the canter, then return to the walk. Keep
this up long enough and the horse is going to get the idea that since he
can't go very far in it anyway, there is no reason to rush when you ask
him to canter. You can also add a little bit to this game by cantering,
walking two steps, then backing a step or two before you ask for the canter
again. This not only convinces him that he has no reason to rush, but it
As for the leads -- it depends a lot on how you ask for a canter depart.
I prefer old method of bending the horse toward the desired lead, using
the outside leg to ask for a light haunches-in, moving the hind quarters
over a little toward the direction of the lead, keeping the head and neck
straight or slighlty tipped in the direction of the lead, and asking with
weight in my opposite seat bone for the horse to strike off into the canter,
The horse may also be stiff to the right, so a lot of work bending him in circles, both large and small, and spirals in that direction may help. I would do this in the true snaffle, not the Dr. Bristol, which can be a little severe.
From Panelist Laura
Sounds like you have a good start for a nice canter, just need to teach your horse to rate his speed. Try to do most of your canter work in the round pen where the horse will feel more confined to help keep him slow.
A few of the different things you could try are:
(1) let him go for a while at his favorite speed then use your hands to slow him down (gradually) while keeping a little leg on him to keep him from falling out of the canter. Don't get discourage or frustrated with him - sometimes this takes quite a while;
(2) try canter, stop, start, stop, back up a little, canter again and
(3) try cantering in smaller circles;
(4) in a larger arena, work on figure 8's with a simple lead change
in the center
(5) hand gallop out on a good trail and slow him down & collect him going up hills;
(6) canter in a plowed field (have on splint boots and don't work in deep dirt very long).
From Panelsit Erica
Try keeping your horse busy and focused on you at the walk and running walk - eventually letting him naturally give the canter. Keeping him soft and focused prior to will help keep him unrushed in the canter.
Also, in picking up your right lead, try moving his shoulder to the right as you cue the canter. Moving the weight in the direction of the lead will help him naturally pick up that lead.
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