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Can't get my friesian to canter

Discussion in 'Horse Riding and Training' started by Rue, Aug 9, 2015.


  1. Rue

    Rue PetForums Newbie

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    I currently loan an 8 year old Friesian mare who has basically been used to breed until the age if 7 when she was given the dealers.
    When the owner first got her (I've loaned off her owner for years and years) she wouldn't even do two strides of trot, was scared a poles, wouldn't do a circle and used any excuse to buck. It used to be a necessity to ride with a crop and she'd drag you half the way across the arena.

    On the ground she'd stomp her feet, bite, go to kick, wouldn't be caught and was a general arse to be around.

    after A LOT of hard work she now picks up her feet, can be groomed, bites a little bit but wont lunge for you, is able to be caught and waits for her food (super impressed that she waits rather than baring or running me over).

    Whilst being ridden she now walks forward, trots, circles (kind of), trots over trotting poles (still needs work ,she mainly rolls over them), does tiny jumps (whilst knocking them over, but the effort is fantastic), and no
    longer bucks! I now don't even need to carry a crop to ride her.

    The only thing that I would love for her to do that she doesn't seem to understand is canter. I know t's difficult
    Friesian to canter but is there a special ay to teach her? She's done it before as I ride next to sheep and she's scared of sheep and has cantered away from them, however I just can't get her to do more than about four strides of canter! I've tried praise, lunging with a rider, angry voice, winding her up - nothing gets more than a fast trot! (and she is also the laziest horse I've ever ridden and will not respond well to winding her up - her response is more 'ugh do I have to').

    Anyone else had this problem? I genuinely don't think she understands how to canter. She never canters in her field and her legs are all over the place when she does. I want to teach her properly rather than bully her and make sure she understands what she's doing.

    TIA
     
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Have you had her checked by a vet? It could be that she has a problem with her back or joints which makes it painful.

    If she has been checked and passed OK, then I would engage the help of a good trainer for you and her. I used to have lessons with a great lady who taught me how to ask correctly for movements, paces, etc. Bullying a horse into doing something is not the way IMO - far better to get some advice from someone who can help you on the ground and one who does not use harsh methods.

    Your horse sounds like she has been manhandled in the past, so needs her confidence building up too.
     
    kimthecat likes this.
  3. bingolitle

    bingolitle PetForums Senior

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    Sounds like you've done a phenomenal job in getting her this far :) , but you need to remember that A she's a trotting breed, bred for generations to pull things (you don't want things pulled at the canter) and B she's probably had three/four foals or more, so her back and belly muscles and ligaments will be stretched and weak.

    Not cantering and not being able to jump without a huge effort go together. The damage to her body didn't happen overnight and won't be fixed overnight either. She will take a long time to build up, but you sound as if you're both stubborn and patient, so I'm sure you'll get there.

    Get her thoroughly checked over by a reputable physiotherapist (you'll need your vet's approval for this) and enlist the help of an experienced rehabilitation trainer who can get you on a system of exercise to slowly strengthen her frame and build up muscle.

    Cudos to you for taking on this mare and giving her a different life than as Tesco pasties.

    She can't say thankyou - so I will! THANK YOU!
     
    kimthecat and Lurcherlad like this.
  4. Hikari

    Hikari PetForums Newbie

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    Hi I know this is a few months old but thought I might suggest some things that helped my horses with cantering

    First there is making sure there is no pain etc that might be stopping them going forward of course

    One way is to always ask for canter in the same corner of school or field so the horse will then understand better what you are asking. Even if its only a few strides praise them and try again talking and encouraging them to go for longer and with my one horse a very gental tap with the whip on the shoulder in the rythm of the canter helps with keeping it going for longer or if they rush off let them to start then go on a circle to help slow hors down and make sure you ask for the trot not the horse.

    Another good way is if you can ride with someone and canter with them all encourage striking off into canter might take a few goes but its better out on a ride on a nice straight woodland track etc or can apply the same technique as the last method always asking in the same place but with the other horse in front doing it as well

    One note about always cantering in the same place you might end up with a problem of the horse cantering there then you don't want them to but is still a really good way

    Good luck and its brilliant what you've achieved so far, never give up
     
    Lurcherlad and kimthecat like this.
  5. Ninki99

    Ninki99 PetForums Newbie

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    I would suggest taking it slowly and starting with some ground work in hand or on the lunge. This way she can build confidence without the extra weight of a rider on her back.
     
  6. grace88

    grace88 PetForums Junior

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    i would use a pole and a lunge line? slightly raised

    or with mine (i knew her really well) taught her with bribery - but be very careful doing this - can encourage dropping of shoulders etc - i did carrots - worked beautifully as she was a stubborn mule but loved her food.


    good luck!
     
  7. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

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    Hi and welcome, just to let you know the original post was written 2 years ago and none of the posters appear to visit the forum any more.
     
  8. grace88

    grace88 PetForums Junior

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    oops sorry lol!

    im sure she has her cantering by now :D hopefully anyhow haha
     
    kittih likes this.
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