Texas TWH Mare arthritis in hock, wants to canter rather than RW!

Texas Tennessee Walker 7 year old mare, ridden in snaffle and western saddle in  round pen by  mod to beginner level rider

Question: found out she has arthritis in her right hock... since that she has been resistant to her running walk, preferring to canter.  do you think this is because it causes less pain?  I was thinking that but she has had a few shots of legend and seems to not be short striding anymore, nor balking after riding for a while.  but when we are just at a nice walk for no reason she will just decide to speed up, sometimes starting at a running walk but mostly a canter... then slowing on her own if she wants too... she seems to not know which gait to do when.  what i have been doing is when she speeds up on her own is doing a circle to left or right and that slows her and then trying it again, then she will do it again, and we circle again... but even in the round pen when we work, she just goes at whichever speed she wants, she seems not to understand.. she will walk, but when I speed her  up she will runningwalk for 5-6 strides and then canter... and running walk for a few more !
strides and then canter...it is all mixed up. Any suggestions? 
 
 



From Panelists Nancy
 
It sounds that your mare is confused.  There is a rw position and a canter 
position.  When you ask your horse to do a rw, you put them in a rw position, 
and when you ask for a canter, you put them in a canter position.  When you 
and your horse both know these position, and your horse is made supple enough 
that you can place her in the proper position, then she won't be confused 
about what you are asking for.  The rw position is a very straight one, as 
for the walk.  The canter position is with a slight flexion left or right, 
depending on what lead you are asking for.  Also, the hindquarters are also 
pushed slightly to the left or right also.  If you are asking for a rw on the 
circle, you are probably unknowingly putting your horse in the canter 
position and that is why she is cantering.  Try just asking for a rw on a 
straight line while holding her straight and with your body also very 
straight ahead and even pressure from both legs.  Everything (both you and 
your horse) and all parts of your and your horse perfectly aimed perfectly 
straight ahead.  When she is not confused anymore and you have a consistent 
rw while going straight, then you can ask for it on a circle, but you must 
not allow the hindquarters to move to the inside or the head to be flexed to 
the inside.  Just follow the circle exactly with the horses body.  Nothing 
out of line.  But first just work her on a straight line for the rw.  I think 
this will help you.  Hope I've been clear in my explanation.

Nancy Cade
 
 

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