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Old 09-29-2009, 06:54 AM  
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Cross-cantering...how to make horse stop doing it :-)

I have a QH mare that cross canters on her left lead. She will canter 5-6 strides then swap in the back. My question is how to teach her not to do that. I have worked circles, straight aways, done hill work, just exercises to strenghten her hind end, ground poles etc.

She originally wouldn't even pick up her left lead but now she actually gets that and doesn't have any problems there. She is VERY unbalanced and uncomfy at canter. Sometimes she will swap her back then as I go to correct her/bring to trot then back to canter she will swap back again. I really like that she is recognizing and fixing it BUT I don't want her doing it at all, makes it hard to show, sell or move further in her training if she can't canter properly..
Any suggestions?
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Old 09-29-2009, 07:17 AM  
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straightness

I'm no expert at this, but I try to study the experts. Last night I was reading an article that I think addresses your mare's problem - Dr. Deb Bennett's article on straightness at equinestudies.org. Click on Knowledge Base (on the left), then "Lessons from Woody" (on the right).
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Old 09-29-2009, 07:49 AM  
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I'e found that sometimes this happens when the rider is not riding correctly balanced on the horse. By this I mean that many riders allow one hip to collapse toward the rib cage, usually the right hip if right handed. This creates more pressure on the saddle on the opposite side. This can be enough to throw the horse off balance. Also some ride with one side of the pelvis forward of the other side, again the left side leading the right if right handed.
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:12 AM  
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Has this horse had a chiropractic adjustment? I've seen cases where back pain would cause them to do this. Seems like this horse wants to cooperate not an attitude problem, may be sore. Just a thought.
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:14 AM  
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Thanks for the information and web addy. I will be looking that up today!

This mare does it mainly when she feels you wanting to down shift to a trot then she swaps. She anticipates things. I have been riding her western lately to try and center myself better and ad some more weight in different areas that an English saddle doesn't do. I feel she is getting a tad better but really isn't where I'd like her to be at, at this stage in her training.
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:16 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunamovin View Post
Has this horse had a chiropractic adjustment? I've seen cases where back pain would cause them to do this. Seems like this horse wants to cooperate not an attitude problem, may be sore. Just a thought.
No by no means is this an attitude problem. She is willing and trys hard and never does anything nasty. Very nice mare all around.

I don't think she is any pain, we've checked her all over, flex tested her and used the needle trick to see if she is sore coming up with nothing. Doesn't mean she doesn't have anything going on that we missed. I will talk with owner on adjusting her but the owner is having some hard times so I assume that is out of the question. I know a friend that does chiropractic adjustments and maybe I can get her to come out and assess her for next to nothing.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:03 AM  
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I have a student with a pony that does that. After some careful observation I noticed the problem was in the rider's hips...she was much stiffer on the one side, so her outside hip would come forward, causing the horse to swap, particularly on the transition down. Having the kid look back over her outside shoulder helped her pull her hip back and helped the horse keep the lead...showing the kid (and reinforcing for me) that it was not the horse, it was the rider.

Uneven arm/hand stength and/or stiffness in the arms/shoulders in the rider could also cause the horse to be stiff and break leads behind.

It is important to note that some horses are more sensitive to the rider than others.

If issues with the rider are not able to be pinpointed as the cause, I would do further diagnoisis using lateral work at trot, and looked for unevenness in the pony's ability to leg yeild, do proper turn on the forehands (crossing under with the hind leg) and do shoulder fore. THese excercises would help pinpoint the weak muscles or training and I could then use ground work to help the pony learn to use the muscles correctly and/or respond to the aids correctly. I would strengthen the horse's trot work before doing any more canter work so the horse doesn't continue to practice being disunited.

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Old 09-29-2009, 09:07 AM  
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A friend's horse did this. The owner just kept working him. As he got fitter, he finally quit, but it took awhile. Certainly don't let him keep going in it. The concentration on trotting seems like a very good idea.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:44 AM  
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I agree with EquineAlberta. Canter problems are much better diagnosed through lateral work at the walk and trot. Once your horse is supple enough yield correctly(ie-if moving to the left, horses body should have left bend, if moving right, horse should have right bend), then ask for a canter transition straight from the leg yield. Only allow the horse to canter while still balanced, then regroup and ask for another transition. Once the transitions are solid, then you can work on longer periods of canter/re-balancing within the gait. Good luck!
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