Canter transitions - hollowing and rushing - any suggestions

HeresHoping

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Bit of a background. In 2015, we were going great guns. 66% plus consistently at Novice; a crack at elementary. Doing some medium stuff at home in our lessons. She's a 15.1 Connie, ex broodmare. Willing as anything, although we wouldn't go much higher, nor beat the world. I moved up North in September 2015, and bought her, and brought her up here in Jan 2016. She had belonged to my previous yard manager who had kindly given me the ride. For the 3 months I didn't rider her, she was borrowed by a couple of teenagers who weren't that into schooling... When she got up here I was bitterly disappointed that she had no canter to speak of (like an ironing board, choppy and wholly unbalanced) was on-off lame for a few days at a time, and stiff. Vet deduced she might be getting a little arthrticky and to keep her going with a good supplement, with a view to injections if there was further deterioration. So I took her shoes off, and very slowly brought her back into work, not even thinking about schooling until the summer. She spent that summer teaching my kids to ride, so nothing serious. We sorted out saddles, teeth, etc. over winter. This year has been fantastic. She is sound, not showing any signs of deterioration or arthritis in her hocks and is moving better than ever.

We've worked hard in the school, with loads of horsey-yoga as warm up (a la Visconte Simon Cocozza) and the canter work is back on track. Still a bit unbalanced but the bend is there. She will walk canter beautifully. Likewise, halt - canter. It's coming down that is the problem. She was, to be honest, a bit uppity after canter, jigging sideways and generally getting her knickers in a twist, when I first started riding her back in 2014. But a gazillion transitions and 1000 lessons later, this was good. And it was always canter-walk that caused her to be like this. Now, though, it's canter - trot. She'll come down, and within two strides of trot, hollow and rush away. It doesn't matter if I do three strides of canter or 333 strides, it's the same. And then it's a good circle or two until I can engage her back end again. I try and do something else to take her mind off things, but it's not always successful.

Any suggestions? The vet is coming out in a couple of weeks to do teeth again, and I will ask him to give her a once over. I know I desperately need a good instructor, but I can only afford a decent lesson about once per month and I have been a bit strapped :redface3::redface3:. But if anyone has any suggestions in the meantime, I'd be very grateful.

Thank you.
 

milliepops

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Have you done much lateral work with her? I've been riding a horse who was ridden in a fairly unconstructive way for a while, and lost her ability to canter well.. stiff, unbalanced, worried...
she's come on leaps and bounds since going everywhere in shoulder-fore :D She does her upwards and downwards transitions in shoulder fore positioning and this helps to get the inside hind under, and also keeps the stiff tension at bay, because to do it well she has to accept the contact properly and allow a little flexion. I then ride away into shoulder-in in the trot so she doesn't slip back into her worried choppy trot. It's helped to develop the suppleness and acceptance, so she now feels confident in what she's being asked and is less inclined to hollow and rush.

There will be a dozen other things, but in a rush and this is just the thing that sprung to mind first.
 

HeresHoping

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Ping! - light bulb moment!!

Yes, I have been riding her in shoulder fore in trot everywhere. And we warm up with loads of long, low, exaggerated bend, leg yield in walk before picking up the trot and doing a more 'correct' leg yield. Half pass is crap, though - but that's probably me.. She was very left handed last year. This has straightened her out hugely.

I am feeling a bit stupid. It didn't occur to me to ride her in shoulder fore in canter! I've been working on a large circle rather than using the whole school simply because she was even worse in straight lines. THANK YOU so much!
 

be positive

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It is often a sign that something is not quite right, trotting is in many ways more difficult than canter and coming down is when they feel it most so getting her looked at is a good idea.

An exercise I find really helpful is to work on a 20m circle in canter and start onto a 10m ine as you ask for the downward transition, this means you use less hand, ca ride forward using the smaller size of the circle to aid with balance, reducing the speed and keep the back end engaged, if you use it enough they tend to start to wait and listen rather than rush off which can happen if they are on a bigger circle or a straight line, it is a great exercise when you can also ask for an upward transition as you rejoin the 20m circle, good in trot walk trot work as well.
 

HeresHoping

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It is often a sign that something is not quite right, trotting is in many ways more difficult than canter and coming down is when they feel it most so getting her looked at is a good idea.

An exercise I find really helpful is to work on a 20m circle in canter and start onto a 10m ine as you ask for the downward transition, this means you use less hand, ca ride forward using the smaller size of the circle to aid with balance, reducing the speed and keep the back end engaged, if you use it enough they tend to start to wait and listen rather than rush off which can happen if they are on a bigger circle or a straight line, it is a great exercise when you can also ask for an upward transition as you rejoin the 20m circle, good in trot walk trot work as well.
Thank you so much - will try this, too.

And get the vet, I think. She threw in a couple of bucks at the weekend when my son was riding her which is not like her. But then again, she was in a different saddle for some (very low) gridwork and although it has just been fitted to her, I don't think she likes it. He's also quite novice. She does not go disunited, or even change behind, and I have even managed to get her to do a long and low canter, so I don't think it's her hocks. Quite possibly something higher up, which wouldn't be surprising after 4 foals. She's not a spring chicken (16).
 

tristar

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strange that, because it made me think what happens when i am riding canter to trot, because i always ride really forward into trot and the power surge sets up the trot so we are not falling apart so to speak, and the following trot is very good, so what your horse is doing does sound strange, are you riding forward as she comes back to trot?
 
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