Riding tips can't get her into a controlled canter

My 11yr old mare, has just recently been brought back into work after having a yr off with foal and having a young rider just plodding around on her. I don’t know the history of my horse as I have only owned her for 18mths. I am riding her agin now and she is good as gold. Most of the time she has a fantastic topline and naturally brings her head under. However she is sometimes a little strong and to keep her head under we end up in a little battle. I am a little rusty at riding too and dont know if I’m giving her the right signals, can you offer any tips? Second question, I can’t get her into a controlled canter, she just gets faster and faster in trot until she forces herself into a burst of out of control canter! please give me some tips as to the best postioning leg signals, hand postioning etc if you can. Thank you very much!

Answer #1

Excellent advice, really appreciated, will give these points a try and keep you posted. I’m hoping in a few months to do some novice dressage with her and have booked some lessons with her on basic schooling and dressage training (mainly to help me) I’m currently riding in a plain snaffle bit and she is a big strong mare CBxTB 16.1hh so I think start with lessons and practice both your points. Thanks again! I won’t feel so silly asking the instructor questions now! x

Answer #2

Tucking her head and keeping it lowered is basically her “giving to the bit”…Maybe try this when warming her up…Start out using both hands on the reins (as if you were riding a colt, or English)…When you feel her start to wanting to control the bit, lightly “rattle” your reins (I use my little fingers)…You might have to do this every 5 steps at first, but it’s a gentle easy reminder for her…you’ll feel her relax, instantly quit rattling…repeat…repeat…repeat…This works really well, if you’re using a broken mouth bit, like a snaffle, Tom Thumb, or even a Wonder bit.

If you want her to go from a walk directly into a collected canter, you can’t let her trot between gaits…Which ever lead you want to take, slightly pull her head opposite that lead, and give her leg also, on the opposite side. If she trys to break into a trot…stop, and start over. In between say 3 “trys”…walk her around the arena or round pen, giving her a “break”, and keeping her frustration level down. You might not succeed the first few day you’re working on this, so always remember to her put away after doing something she KNOWS how to do…always on a good note, never put her away frustrated.

In all the years I’ve been around horses, one of the most amazing things to me is…they seem to think things over after you’re done riding…You work on something and work on it some more…then suddenly within days, you take them out and they do it first try…


Answer #3

Just wondering - did your mare always canter like this ? Quick trot into flat out canter. The reason I ask is because I had a mare that when I first bought her use to do the same, but it turned out to be a back injury as she had had a foal also. Might be worth checking out

Answer #4

Hi, not sure how to use this so sorry if doesn’t appear very well. I have had her backed checked since and she has a clean bill of health, she is the same in the field and volunteers her head under which is why the vet said her natural movement is very free so put her behaviour down to me/ my riding and her training. I knwo what you mean though but have checked under lyning issues, Thanks for the comment tho!

Answer #5

Hi, it’s great your riding,

Well as your saying tucking your head in is actually called collection. Collection is power and impulsion from your mare’s hind quarters, to achieve ‘Collection’ you have to teach her neck exercises. What I do is: Grab a piece of carrot and stick it between her legs so she STRECHES her neck as far as she can another is get her to bend her head around to where your leg sits without her moving. She won’t be able to do it straight away as by the sounds she has grown muscles in the lower part of her neck so it would be hard at first. To get her to canter is a lot to do with the impulsion and flexing, when you ask for her to canter don’t rush it ask gently with your inside leg on the girth and outside just behind, the you sit deep, ask for her head by just jingling on your 4th finger and turn her head slightly to the inside so you can see her eye and squeeze and say CANTER, horses respond to voice so when she gets to fast tell her and say whoa and say TROT,WALK,CANTER or anything. Try this on large circles and in corners. When your mare rushes into a really fast trot and the in a wild canter THIS IS A MAJOR no no it is a very bad habit for ponies to learn and hard to get out of them. With this you ask as I explained before and if she rushes pull her back straight away. Eventually she will respond to your training. If she is very hard to control this is usually from little toddlers pulling and yanking at the ponies’ mouth, if it gets really bad, you could look into buying and fitting your pony with a Spanish Snaffle. Good luck… don’t worry you will be doing counter-canters and flying changes in no time… It’s all just a matter of persistence.

Answer #6

check her past ..

dont keep her head tucked in.. start by.. warming up (walk arnd the skl with a los los rain) and then slowly tighten (not to much) then bring her full onto the bit.. she has to warm up first. let her have the rain for 10mins then 5 mins tihghter then put her onto the bit.. ii no it sounds borring just walking for a while but if you don’t the horse cld get injured (if not warmed up).

she is used to getting away with stuff (cus of lil rider) so. she is trying to do it now. don’t let her thats bad and its her happit.. if she speeds up in her canter that is wrong and you should turn her in to a circle and keep turning her untill she starts to listen (dont turn to much, get dizzy) if she is a big mare make the circle bigger but if she is smaller make it smallish.

my 12.2 (old 12.2 now) was a jumper and very fast and ii cldnt controll all the time.. trust me (strong bit) but as ii grew up (taller - more weight) ii learnd ii have to turn arnd arnd arnd arnd and then he started to slow down and listen

try it.. (it might work but it might not) why dont you have lessons (1 or 2) just to get you back comfy in the saddle..

and she has just come in frm the field course she wont want to go back to on the bit or being riden,. so let her take it easy for a bit then she will slowly start to listen and calm down.

she will want to canter and play for awhile.

hope ii helped youu..

good luck ;)

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