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What Am I Doing Wrong?

Everything apparently but that’s horses for you.

There is something in particular that I’m doing wrong and I need to figure out what it is. A trainer would be helpful here, but I’m not quite ready to re enter the world of lessons. H’Appy isn’t to the point where I think the money would be well spent yet. Soon though. Instead I’m turning to the hive mind of the blogosphere for suggestions.

Daffodils are up and blooming! Spring is on its way. 

The problem: all my horses think “canter” when all I want is “trot”.

It happened a lot with Gem and both TrainerJ and I chalked it up to her hyper sensitive, high energy self.

But it is happening with H’Appy too and I’m convinced it is something I’m doing to confuse him.

Let me fill in some details.

Saturday afternoon I hopped back on. This was the third ride with the Dynamic Duo out of sight in the new pasture and true to form he was settled and focused once again. He may be a Doofus but he is a Doofus with a brain and time has shown me that after a few repeated experiences, he returns to his calm self. He didn’t even need time on the lunge before mounting.

Finally had someone show up to look at the arena. Waiting on a quote to scrape all this off and replace with manufactured sand instead. Will see if we can afford it or not. 

Off we went for a nice long walk warm up. While he was more focused, didn’t yell for his friends and didn’t argue with me, I could tell he had a lot of energy so we quickly proceeded to trot. Except he wanted to canter instead. We talked about that and after a while he chilled out about it and acquiesced to trotting.

Confession time here. I could enter an arena and remain in the trot for hours and never tire of it. That’s probably not normal and more than likely bores the horse to death even with changes in direction, various figures and walk breaks. I get it.

Since I wanted to work on the canter anyway, once he gave me an entire circuit of the arena without breaking from the trot, I cued for the canter and off we went. I focused hard on sitting down, leaning back so that while I felt like I was laying on his butt my shadow proved I was vertical (I’m a habitual forward leaner) and not driving with my seat.

Used the pasture as a rocket launch pad. Look closely and you will see the two senior horses hiding beyond Doofus watching intently while he is in lala land grazing. 

By the end I was feeling a lot better about my position and steering and it was a fantastic ride.

Except….

When I did take breaks from cantering and then got him back into the trot he would try to canter again. Now I know canter work jazzes many a horse up and I’m sure he was also anticipating the cue, but this isn’t unusual for horses I am riding to jump to canter.

Since he was attentive under me, I decided to pay extra attention to what I was doing so that I could maybe isolate some factors and play around with my position. This led to the following data:

  • Leaning forward while posting speeds him up and he breaks to canter
  • Leaning back does the same thing
  • Sitting tall and vertically slows him down and keeps him in the trot easier
  • Slowing my posting allows him to stay under me better and therefore maintain the trot better
  • Turning is almost always where he breaks to canter. Maybe I’m sports car racing around my turns? Or maybe he learned in lessons that he was always asked to canter in a turn?
  • Going back towards home is another favorite spot to try to canter. That’s bad behavior related not necessarily my fault.
  • He does prefer to shuffle in the trot or break canter versus give a nice true working trot. Extended trot leads to cantering. Fitness issue? Connection issue on my end?
  • I tend to throw him away in the trot transition. This was created by Mr. I Like To Throw Temper Tantrums throwing his head all over the place in the transition. I think maybe I should stop doing that now and keep contact so he can’t go racing off in the wrong gait.
  • I am always more tense than I should be and I’ve figured out that I have a pretty hard core driving seat at all times. I yell even when I don’t think I am. This probably isn’t helping.
Gem’s nemesis. She could care less about walking buckets, quads, Wyatt attacking trees with sticks, rockets being launched. But a kid swinging in a tree? Brain melt. 

There were other issues that popped up in the ride as always but this is the main one I’d really like to fix soon. I want to be able to trot when I want and for how long I want without breaking gait. For a lot of reasons but mostly because it is annoying as hell to be trotting one step then cantering then walking or halting and cycling back through. That whole rhythm thing and all. I had the same or similar issue with Gem too so it has to be driven by me and something I’m doing while trotting that tells the horse to canter without me knowing it.

Any suggestions from you all on what to work on or improve to fix this?

41 thoughts on “What Am I Doing Wrong?”

  1. I think it’s really hard to give you advice without a video, so this might be totally off base.

    My first thoughts are that horses create habits when they get positive rewards for behavior. Since the problem happens more in the corners, I would say that he is probably losing his balance over the forehand and falling into the canter (when you sit up super tall, straight, and balanced, it helps him keep his balance). He starts to canter, catches his balance, and feels better in the canter. Since it takes your a couple of strides to “correct” him, he gets the reward from cantering and the “trot now” is a new aid.

    I would stay at a walk and slow trot for a while. He doesn’t seem fit enough to work at a forward trot and keep his balance.

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    1. I wish I had a good video but I ride alone pretty much always. I agree it would be easier and I’m not looking for expert advice or anything. I will eventually get a trainer. Just looking to pick the mind of the blog world.

      It’s not in every corner and honestly after we have some discussions that I do in fact mean trot the attempts to canter instead go away and he will stay in a trot and go everywhere and anywhere I ask without breaking. Since Gem had similar under saddle behaviors I’m assuming I’m curing something I don’t mean to be.

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  2. Awesome that you’re feeling good about cantering so much more! Honestly the best way to establish communication about specific aids is to ask for them routinely – so continuing to work on practicing your canter is an awesome idea! (Plus if Happy is using forward as an evasion the best way to take that away is make forward a part of the job. Wanna canter? Okie dokie we are cantering forever now!) I use a lot of voice cues for Charlie too, since sometimes my voice can help him understand what I want when my body aids are kinda garbled. I also like to repeat specific figures and patterns to help be clear too. You know me tho, I’m a lesson junkie to the core so honestly the thing that helped me and Charlie get on the page the most was a reliable pair of eyes on the ground to help me feel those little things that are easy to miss.

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    1. I guess I never thought of him using forward as an evasion but you are very right. He is the evasion king and it makes sense that now that his other evasions (head tossing, curling, footing) have all failed to get him out of work he is trying this out.

      This is why I posted this! Thank you for new insight!!

      I did push him onward in the canter when he stopped listening and when he wanted to quit I was all “nope! You wanted to canter and I need to work on my seat so here we go!” He was much better at staying in the trot after that.

      Lessons are in the horizon. I want to get to a place where I’m comfortable with his pressure points before I enter and end up with a lesson like my last one where all we did was fight each other and end on a bad note. I’m nearly there. Then I need to find a trainer. Ugh.

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    2. Yes, came here to comment exactly this! It’s not uncommon for Tristan to do this same exact thing, especially in the warmup. Canter as an evasion to forward in the trot. So questions I would ask: is he truly forward in the canter? does he often offer the canter when you’ve asked him to work a little harder in the trot?

      When Tristan tosses out a canter (usually with head flails) instead of responding to more leg at trot, I get out of the saddle and really make him work for it, almost going into a hand gallop. I keep him going just a touch longer than he’d really like (which is honestly not that long, like maybe once around the arena) and then make a clear aid for a down transition and capture the energy of the canter in the trot.

      Lazy canter is easier than forward trot. Both in the energy sense and in the warmup sense. So if you find it’s a feature of your warmup you might do more work in the walk to start off with – in the summer I can often nip the problem in the bud by truly doing a long walk warmup with lateral work to really loosen him up. In the winter everything is too darn cold so I just ride through it.

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      1. My response has varied between forcing him to trot so he learns that he can’t decide what he gets to do and making him canter longer than he wants to enforce that cantering isn’t easy street. I’m not sure which way teaches him better.

        I tend to spend a long time in walk but he gets so bored with it and I’m not educated in the finer details like shoulder in etc to keep it interesting. I work on square turns, bend on a circle and figures but then I’m out of stuff to do so I go to trot. That’s when he typically starts to try to canter instead

        Also – I plan to order stirrup covers from you. I finally bought a new pair of stirrups so I can now know what size to order.

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  3. I agree with Emily that without a video it’s tough. There could be things you don’t realize you’re doing.
    I think more time doing transitions could be really helpful. Some horses think once they canter they’re going to canter from there on out. I know that in lessons we’ll work the walk, then the trot and then once we canter we rarely go back to walk or trot. So, he may be thinking that next up is canter and now we will canter.
    Doing it on a turn is normal- that’s when we usually ask for it. Some downwards on those turns may be really helpful?

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    1. I know video would help and as I responded to her I’m not looking for magic advice just new insight if someone else fights this too or knows of something they have heard that could lead to this.

      I’ll play around with asking for downward transitions in the corners and see if that has any reaction. After Emma’s response, a light bulb sorta went off and I think this is a new evasion tactic for him. Trotting nicely and in balance is hard, so lets canter! I don’t want to avoid all canter work since he needs more fitness and short canter sets can really help build that, so we need to come to terms with a happy medium.

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  4. I’m in agreement with Emma. He probably is using forward as an evasion tactic. A few young ones I’d work with (I know H’Appy isn’t that young, but I feel that the behavior is very similar) would want to canter and not trot, so if they wanted to canter we’d canter. For a while. They didn’t get to stop when they wanted. At first they were all happy (lol) and then after about 4-5 days of doing that they were so done and were super willing to trot. They were also really polite going into the canter. Plus I got a lot of practice cantering by doing that haha. It is definitely hard to completely know what’s going on, but hopefully the blogosphere has given you a bit of insight!

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    1. I agree with this 100%. It was a lightbulb moment reading Emma’s comment which is why I posted 🙂 I love getting those insights from all of you.

      He is much more amenable to trotting after we’ve cantered a while. He is only 7 and while that isn’t baby territory his isn’t super mature either.

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  5. Do you always ride around the outside of the arena? Would it help to break things up and stop the evasion/anticipation in the corners if you trotted circles/figure 8s? Change direction across the diagonal, extend the trot on the long side, collect on the short end? Lots of transitions between w/t/c to help get him paying more attention to you? If you make things more difficult/different for both of you, it might help break up some of those habits – him evading, you being tense/driving with your seat.

    I’m glad to hear you are riding more and having some good rides! I know my horse does better when we do some patterns and/or polework (no jumping for me – I ride western) – it keeps both of our brains engaged and less likely to start anticipating.

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  6. I like trotting on the right horse lol. IMHO get wanting lessons to be for more adv training, jumping etc but what you are facing is really what they are for, experienced eyes to see and correct these training gap issues. Even some very adv riders I know looked to my trainer for input with green horses or jump issues, because a good trainee has seen dozen horses and riders with this issue.

    I’ve been on a couple horses who did this, it was always a combo of needing more fitness/balance and them getting away with it. We did lots of transitions, and more trotting after canter. Lots of circles, change of direction. Id say yes get your contact back so he can’t get into the canter. Fitness should help a lot.

    Im just glad you are riding again 😉

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    1. I didn’t articulate the lesson thing very well. It’s not so much I’m waiting for more advanced work it just…well I have a bad taste in my mouth after my last one and I worry that going in to a new trainer on a horse I don’t know super well will just circle out of control again. I don’t need to pick those pieces back up all over again. I’m waiting until I feel like I can be a good advocate for him with a better understanding of when I need to push him through his tantrum versus back off and attempt a new route.

      Right now I don’t feel confident in myself with him enough to do that though each ride is progressing nicely in that direction.

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      1. Aha. I get that, but from the peanut gallery you already are there, you would advocate fine. But I get trainer shopping sucks, I lucked out and a friend hooked me up with mine. Most of the other trainers at our barn were less than stellar.

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  7. There are lots of good thoughts here re: cantering, so I’m going to leave that alone. I think you’re thinking of lessons in the wrong framework, maybe. I know it can be hard to spend money on something when you think you’ll get less than their face value out of them, especially when you’ve had bad experiences in the past. But I would think about it as investing in YOU, not in Happy.

    Without eyes on the ground to understand the context, you won’t be able to diagnose this problem properly. There’s definitely something to this equation that you’re missing – no shame on your observation skills, but we are just not capable of seeing the big picture when we ride. Getting a trainer out to get eyes on you is going to give so much more value to your riding than anything we can tell you through the internet. You would never expect a professional in your field to keep just muddling along with clients never doing as they are supposed to and helping themselves with Dr. Google – you’d want them to consult a teacher who could help fill their holes. You deserve those expert eyes for yourself, even if Mr Sass Pants doesn’t.

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    1. I worried this post would be taken wrong and I think for some it has.

      I’m not posting this hoping to get out of spending money on a professional or to put anyone on the spot to give me miracle cures without eyes on the ground.

      I was reaching out in case someone else would have some insight that maybe I was missing. Emma really hit it on the head for me with her comment about this likely being a new evasion tactic to get out of work. Plus a lot of other good tips about more transitions or using corners for downs instead of always up. Lots of food for thought that I can play with the next ride which is what I was hoping for.

      As for lessons, I’m concerned that right now I can’t be a good advocate for what he needs because I don’t know him well enough. A new horse with an old trainer is one thing. At least the trainer would know me well enough to figure what is me versus him. But a new trainer who doesn’t know me at all plus a horse that I’m not super comfortable knowing that well seems like a really bad idea to me. I can’t advocate for him when I don’t know him well enough.

      Maybe it’s still the wrong philosophy and maybe I’m letting past experience dictate my future, but I feel on the cusp of being ready to go in and learn and improve. Just not right now while I’m still playing with him buttons and his attitude and figuring him out.

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  8. A video would be helpful in a situation like this – but you have a pretty solid list of things you think it might be and really any number of those things could be it (or combination of). You’ve also received some good suggestions. Dante likes to try and hop into the canter if I ask for more impulsion from behind without the requisite amount hold in the front. You may be asking for more trot (inadvertently) but letting him splat onto his front end and the easy way out for the horse is to then canter.

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      1. This is what I was thinking as well. Not so much as an evasion as it is a lack of balance and fitness to carry from behind. Another thing might be that you are using a lot of leg and it’s making him think that you want him to go faster. One other issue is if you are not even in you seat and legs you may be weighting one side more than another making him mistake it for the canter cue.

        Lots of ideas above to try out and see if any are helpful.

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      2. The leg thing is an interesting though. His rhythm is naturally a lot slower and less lofty than Gems Arabian trot. I tend to find myself nagging him thinking we need to go faster when in reality it’s a lovely trot so he could be getting annoyed and breaking to canter.

        Also I definitely put more weight in the right which is hopefully getting fixed through PT.

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  9. There are so many things that can be contributing to this; and good for you to look at your seat and balance and ask if you might be part of the issue. Not all riders are that humble. I have just a couple of thoughts: 1. H’appy is an appy-what is his base training? Has he always done english sports, or did he start out doing stock horse sports? There’s a lot less leg and a lot less seat drive in stock horse training, and a lot of the onus in the training is placed on the horse to respond to extremely subtle clues. I have a friend that’s an amazing jumper rider, but when she rode my stock mare the mare got really fidgety and almost dumped her over the rail bc of the difference in constant leg pressure.

    2. At this point you know you have proper equipment fit, and seem to feel this is connected to you and your stability. Do you have a yoga ball? Using the yoga ball you may be able to analyze where your wiggle is. If it’s in core and sholdures squats,planks, and wall pushups will be a quick and easy fix.

    3. You’re teaching him to jump and work on eventing. You may be changing his front-bakc balance. He feels that elevation and breaks to canter bc its comfortable. The only solution to that is to calmly keep working through the changes until he’s more confident. Doing transitions, especially walk-canter-walk will help build elevation and his confidence.

    4. You’ve mentioned that 2-pt is really comfortable at the canter, and your preferred place of balance. Do you know why? is it old training habits, or is there a tightness in your seat you’re avoiding? In either case, when someone is with you, shorten your stirrups about 2 to 3 inches shorter than they should be. It should be uncomfortable at first, until you can force align your hips via your seat. It should force you to sit back and upright. Because it’s a new seat arrangement, have someone with you bc it will drastically change your balance.

    Lessons are fun, but not always feasible. It’s also super important to be with someone you trust. I think it’s really important to be able to assess a trainer before getting on board with them. The trainer should also be willing to let you watch lessons or traininh sessions so you can decide if their philosophy meets what you’re looking for.

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    1. 1). I believe he was brought up as a hunter. Nothing I was told said western but you never know what you aren’t being told. He is..well not that isn’t right…he can be very sensitive when he wants to be so I know the training is in there.

      2) it could be related to my dead butt. I do put a lot more weight in my right butt and stirrup and I’m sure that isn’t helping. I’ll steal time on the yoga ball at PT this week and test this out.

      3) Confession: I’ve never done a walk-canter on purpose. May be a good time to learn.

      4). It’s a bit of everything. I’m tense so sitting I tend to fight the motion more than flow with it which makes me feel unbalanced but I can absorb that in my ankles so it feels more secure. If that makes sense. I can try the stirrup thing next time Dusty is around.

      Thanks for the well thought out reply!!!

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  10. Can you prop your phone on a fence post or jump standard and film yourself? You can buy a cell phone tripod with flexible arms that you can hook to fences on Amazon for less than $20. 🙂 Being able to film yourself so you can watch yourself riding later is a huge help when riding without a trainer/”eyes on the ground.” https://www.amazon.com/UBeesize-Phone-Tripod-Wireless-Compatible/dp/B07837W5NX/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=cell+phone+tripod&qid=1549913789&s=gateway&sr=8-4

    You have some really great suggestions already above. Emma’s evasion suggestion is good, except for what you already mentioned: Gem and now H’Appy have offered the canter when you ask for trot. I’ll echo what some of the others said: IME offering to canter instead of trot was a balance/fitness issue on the horse’s part.

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    1. I’m trying for a solo shot or similar for my birthday this spring to solve this.

      I don’t think race car driving around the turns helps and I used to get called out for that with Gem. She was athletic enough to handle it well but he just plain isn’t so I really need to do a better job at balancing him. All good food for thought I can play with tomorrow when I ride

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      1. The $17 tripod will be a huge help for you now instead of waiting until spring. That is not something I would wait on. You can set up your phone on the tripod on the corner of the arena so that it includes the largest view possible and work at that end of the arena while filming.

        Seeing yourself on film is a whole lot better than trying to evaluate your riding from your shadow on the ground, especially when you’re trying to trouble shoot significant issues. The things H’Appy is doing are not awful per se, but they are significant and can lead to bigger problems later on. If you are not going to work with a trainer now, at least film yourself so you can see what you are doing. I do it all the time with both riding and lifting. It also makes it easier when I’m asking for advice/opinions/suggestions from equals or professionals: I have material I can show them. “Hey, this is what I’m feeling/what is happening. How can I fix it?” And they can look and tell me what they see.

        I understand your position about working with a trainer bc of your experience with trainer J. But I’m with Eventerinprogress below re: my views about taking lessons. A good trainer that didn’t know neither me nor my green mare at the time was crucial in getting us through the initial hump of the mare and I getting to know one another. The trainer wasn’t a hot shot upper level pro; she was just a good, fair trainer with an open mind who could look at us objectively and give us tools and feedback to improve what we were doing at the time. We weren’t doing fancy things: it was the most basic dressage work at walk, trot and a little bit of canter. But she made both the mare and I fall in love with that kind of work thanks to the tools she provided. It would have been disastrous if I had tried to solo that part of my development of that specific horse, and this is coming from someone who worked with green horses as a side job to help pay for my lessons back in the day. I was not inexperienced and I still benefited from help.

        I hope you’re able to audit a few trainers in March. In the meantime, I think you’ll be surprised by how much more you’ll be able to troubleshoot and improve if you start filming your riding consistently. ❤️

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  11. Maybe you have an electric butt like I do 😉 I frequently ride horses that people swear are going to need spurs and/or a whip and I light them up just by sitting on them. I joke that it comes from riding racehorses, but it’s been happening longer than that. They stay in whatever gaits I want, but they tend to be livelier with me than their regular riders. It’s a good thing in my case because I hate pluggy horses, but I’ve had multiple people comment on it over the years.

    With all that aside, it sounds like you’re getting some good feedback in the comments and I don’t actually have useful advice.

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  12. You’re not alone in loving the land of trot! I will happily trot all day long – although some of that is about confidence issues at the canter. Lessons are also challenging for me; ironically, every time I’ve fallen or had a really bad moment has been in a lesson, which Does Things to one’s brain… lol

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    1. Lessons are tricky for me. I don’t do well with being pushed and tend to shut down depending on how it’s done. I’m fine moving beyond my comfort zone as long as I feel ready so I need someone ok with going slow

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  13. A tricky situation for sure and a few thoughts that I think have been mostly covered by others but will put them down just in case there’s something new.

    -As Emma said, canter can be a lot easier for horses than a nice forward trot depending on the expectation of the horse within each pace. It may just be easier for him to canter due to fitness. It may be worth taking the canter out of the equation and working on getting him stronger and fitter with poles and getting him stretching over the back.

    – Lack of balance from you and/or him. If you close your eyes and walk around the arena then halt where is your body? Is your weight over one side or both? is your alignment from chin to navel to hips still square? Are your legs even down both sides of the horse? Are you carrying your weight in the seat or your feet? Are your hands and elbows even in shape and tension?

    -Inconsistency of aids. If your leg is on and he goes to canter when you are asking for trot are you then removing your leg aid and reinforcing that it was the desired response? Or do you hold it and correct the gait before releasing? Have you established a clear difference in the way you ask for your gaits (i.e. more trot vs. increase gait to canter)? It’s the release of pressure that trains the horse to do what we want, not the pressure itself.

    -Do you have physical limitations? These can be both physiologically and psychologically imposed. Often, leaning forwards can be caused by tightness through the gluteals and hips which may be from sitting, pain etc. but can also be a fear manifestation, like curling up into a ball on horseback.

    These are just a few things that crossed my mind and I get where you’re coming from regarding the trainer. I used to feel and think exactly the same and wanted to establish a base line between myself and the horse before bringing a third party into it.

    I regret that now.

    We spent a lot longer achieving a lot less because I felt I had to be at point A to really get something from it but a GOOD instructor meets loads of new combinations every day and can identify what the horse and rider needs. They’ll be able to equip you with the tools to sort issues before they’ve even become issues because they can recognise them from the ground. They have the experience with numerous other riders and horses and should be flexible to try numerous tools in their too lbelt to figure out what works best for the combination in front of them.

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    1. All great points.

      I’m trying to do short canter sets think 1 minute or so each to increase his cardiovascular strength while spending most of the time in trot. I think some good trail time and hill work is in order.

      Oh I’m all out of whack. My left glutes don’t work but it is improving through PT and focused stretch and strength work on my end.

      Hmmm…I’m sure I’m muddling my aides. I’d have to pay close attention next time I ride. I do cue canter different. TrainerJ taught me to sit a stride or two before cueing the canter to always it very clear that I mean canter. But I’m not sure I’m releasing the leg aide appropriately when asking for more trot.

      I hope to start auditing some local trainers in March to get a feel for who I’d work well with. I have a short list of local people and if they don’t work can branch out to those flooding Aiken. It would be a once a month haul since it is 2 hours away but I’m willing to sacrifice quantity for high quality.

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  14. I could offer a few ideas. But to be honest I have not seen you ride nor have I seen the horse or your arena . I can tell you what I might do but I’m not sure it would be helpful. It is easy to say this and that from my sofa here typing on my pc but another thing altogether to give you solid and worthwhile advice that would help. What about getting a trainer , even for one lesson, to help you? They could be eyes on the ground for you and assist while you are in the saddle dealing with the problem.

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    1. A trainer is on the horizon. After a very bad lesson that left me picking up the pieces of my relationship with him, I’m a bit hesitant to jump in head first again. I’ve got some placed lined up to audit some lessons to see if I’d be a good fit in their program

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  15. Like most others have said, it’s tricky to know without a video. It does sound like he might be rushing and unbalanced, and he finds it easier to canter than trot. The other thing I wondered was a hot seat or clamping your leg on unintentionally.

    With Henry he would also break into canter when I asked for a bigger trot. I would let him canter a few strides because forward was the response I was looking for and didn’t want him to be punished for going forward. I would ask him to trot and repeat. If he did a bigger trot, he was praised, and if he cantered I would let him go for a few strides and then trot again. It took a bit but he got it.

    Now if he anticipates the canter, he is told to trot, and if he wont listen I repeat but with a louder aide, sometimes going to walk or halt if he is really not listening. The straight back to trot like nothing has happened. It is often an evasion and we work through it until he softens and trots nicely but it can take a bit. Coolie can be the same. I also find doing a heap of transitions so they can’t guess whats next helps, it keeps them focused and light.

    good luck!

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    1. Thinking back with Gem I made the fatal error to always do walk work then trot then canter and be done. For her she learned if she just rushed to canter the ride would end a lot sooner.

      I’m trying to be more creative with H’Appy and add canter work throughout so he can’t anticipate as much.

      I need to pay close attention that I’m not clamping with my leg next time I ride.

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      1. Ooo, breathing helps too! I breathe out when I do a downward and both horses come back. Works especially well with Coolie, but Hen does it too and it’s not something I have consciously trained. might be something else to try. Plus more air always helps!

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  16. Soo many good answers. I think its great you are riding regularly and have found things to work on. Some of us are stuck watching blizzards or iced over paddocks.

    Your happy appy is smart and seems to like to test you and boundaries. This seems to be one part test / evasion, one part lack of fitness, one part lack of transitions / precision, and one part leg clamping / lack of proper seat. Isolate an issue you can control and focus on it. Once mastered move on to the next issue. I would start with transitions / precision.

    Set a goal of doing 10 transitions during one lap of the arena. Next time, do more. Keep him guessing. Leg yield into your corners, do half circles.

    Get out of cruise control.

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    1. Good points and I will accept that “challenge” and get my butt it of cruise and into work mode. I think you are very right in that it, like most horse issues, is multi factorial. I like the approach of focusing on one thing at a time too. Thanks for the advice!

      Like

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