Horse cannot canter at 13yrs old... HELP!

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So, I recently purchased a 13y/o cob type. He is the sweetest chappy in the world. He has a brilliant attitude to his work and works beautifully through walk and trot but unfortunately when it comes to the canter, his days of being used by travellers as a trotting pony shine through and his canter is just awful. He really struggles, it can sometimes take two or three circles of asking for him to even break out of trot at all and when he does he just runs straight through. I have tried a few different exercises with him and he seems to struggle just as much with each one to the next. Does anybody have any suggestions of things I can try?
 

SEL

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I spent some time in Australia retraining trotting horses and you need space to get them cantering - an arena won't work.

We had 2 options. One was you trot them as fast as possible and praise like mad if they break into canter. Putting them behind another horse in canter helped.

The other was to try and train walk to canter. Some got it more quickly than going via trot.

I had access to a very long beach which helped. Didn't have to worry about corners.
 

ownedbyaconnie

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Can you canter him out on a hack with another horse leading?

My pony couldn’t canter in the school so I cantered only out hacking for the summer in a straight line up a hill.

Also make sure you are asking for canter from a good quality trot. Make sure he is straight, supple and forward off your leg.

To be honest I would forget about canter for a good few weeks and concentrate on the walk and trot. Start introducing lateral work like leg yield from quarter line to outside track, leg yield from a 15m to 20m circle, shoulder fore off a 10m circle in the corner down the long side and turn on the forehand.
 

OrangeAndLemon

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Not sure if this helps but my heavy horse struggles with canter in a school.

We try to go quickly from walk to canter without letting the trot get established. He can get a bit 'stuck' in his trot rhythm. As others have said, having another horse give a lead helps in both the school and outdoors but I'd suggest starting with outdoors to let him get the confidence of being able to balance himself and you in canter.
 

fabbydo

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We had this exact problem with one of ours from a similar background. We forgot about the school and cantered her on the gallops behind something else. It took a while but she ended up with the most fabulous canter. (When she was ready for the school, walk to canter was the thing that really helped).
 

Frano

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You need to try out hacking,perhaps uphill that often helps. I imagine he has not done much in a school before you got him. Once he canters out hacking and gets the idea you could go back to the school?
 

rabatsa

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My traveller bred trotter x cob who had road raced did not canter. Even when loose in the field he would be trotting while everyone else galloped around. One day he jumped the fence and landed in canter and discovered that he could do it. He still prefers to trot even now though. If he does not do it loose I would be onto a losing battle to get him to do it carrying a rider.
 

dorsetladette

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My traveller bred trotter x cob who had road raced did not canter. Even when loose in the field he would be trotting while everyone else galloped around. One day he jumped the fence and landed in canter and discovered that he could do it. He still prefers to trot even now though. If he does not do it loose I would be onto a losing battle to get him to do it carrying a rider.
Yep. My first pony was a shetland that had driven as a pair until mid teens. In all the time we had her she never broke to canter, fantastic lead rein pony and she went right to the top, but never ever cantered. The hours I spent as a kid following my mum and sister (plus liveries and YTS's) out on hacks trotting as fast as we could possibly go while they all cantered off in front on welsh cobs and hunters.

Gladys (the pony) knew what pace she was good at and stuck with it LOL
 

Follysmum

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I have a trotter x and he had absolutely no idea how to canter and was so disunited. I ditched the school which he hates anyway and used hills to get him going. He is so much better uphill, he still prefers to trot on the flat but when really excited and hacking somewhere new he will go from walk to canter a lot easier.
 

Upthecreek

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As others have said don’t keep trying for canter in the school until you’ve got him cantering nicely in straight lines out hacking. He is probably finding working on circles quite hard if he isn’t used to it. When you’re in the school focus on improving the quality of the trot for now and don’t let him run. You want impulsion and power and working through from his back end rather than speed. If you can achieve this you will find it easier to power him up into canter from trot once he has learnt how to canter out hacking.
 

MrsNorris

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Mine was the same, same background as yours too. We started with a lead out hacking and tons of praise whenever he broke into canter, even if it was just a couple of paces. A few months down the line and he’ll now canter in front happily, transitions aren’t great, and the canter is still a bit unbalanced, but we’re not in a rush. I’m hoping he’ll be catering happily in the school by the end of the summer, if not a bit sooner. Best of luck with yours.
 

Gloi

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Easiest out hacking in company , but in the school put a cross pole coming into the corner where you'd ask for canter. Going over a small jump there will often get them to strike off correctly. Try it on the lunge first if need be. Walk to canter is often easier too, try that in company uphill out hacking.
 
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As others have said don’t keep trying for canter in the school until you’ve got him cantering nicely in straight lines out hacking. He is probably finding working on circles quite hard if he isn’t used to it. When you’re in the school focus on improving the quality of the trot for now and don’t let him run. You want impulsion and power and working through from his back end rather than speed. If you can achieve this you will find it easier to power him up into canter from trot once he has learnt how to canter out hacking.
He actually struggles to pick up any kind of semi decent canter EVEN MORE SO when he is out hacking or on a straight line because that is when, in his trotting days, pushing him on would just mean extend and speed up the trot. It is quite obvious that a lot of people who have chimed in on this thread have never had ex-trotting horses before. He is not a green horse, his walk and trot are completely established and beautiful quality! He works in a gorgeous frame and works very fluidly through his back. He just spent the first 7 years of his life, not being allowed to canter.
 

dorsetladette

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He actually struggles to pick up any kind of semi decent canter EVEN MORE SO when he is out hacking or on a straight line because that is when, in his trotting days, pushing him on would just mean extend and speed up the trot. It is quite obvious that a lot of people who have chimed in on this thread have never had ex-trotting horses before. He is not a green horse, his walk and trot are completely established and beautiful quality! He works in a gorgeous frame and works very fluidly through his back. He just spent the first 7 years of his life, not being allowed to canter.
Does he pace or is it a fast trot?
You say 'semi decent' so there is a form of canter happening?

What hacking do you have around you? You need a decent length of run to really get him going, even hold him back and let others go on ahead if possible then let him go to catch up.

If your hacking isn't that kind then a cross pole big enough that he has to jump it to get over it but not huge as he will be really unbalanced. push for a couple of strides on landing and lots of praise. I would do this down a side/centre line to start with rather than on a corner.

IMHO your message above wasn't written in the best tone when responding to suggestions that you requested. Help or suggestions may not be so forthcoming next time you ask.
 

ester

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Asks for suggestions
Complains they’re not the right suggestions from the ‘right’ people.

OP it’s actually clear to me the time quite a few responders have experience with ex trotting horses so maybe thank them. By definition he is green in canter which is the bit you wanted suggestions for.
 

Frano

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I actually have a Standardbred who did harness racing ,before I owned him . He trots and Paces.But does canter though you need to set him up for it ,and he will revert to pacing if excited. Takes more work to get canter established but it is worth doing it.
 

Mrs Jingle

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I am confused OP - you tell us you have recently purchased a 13 year old who you are having difficulty getting a canter from him because of his past background as a trotter. And then further on you say for the first 7 years of his life he wasn't allowed to canter. So he has had approximately 4 plus years since the travellers had him (assuming the usual breaking in at 18 months for this type?).

Presumably he has not learned to canter in that time if he is still not doing at 13? Or did the previous owners mange to canter him? if so why not ask them how they asked for canter and what worked with him? Not everyone uses the same aids when retraining these trotters as very often you have to be very imaginative and versatile in your training methods to help them learn what is expected of them.
 

ILuvCowparsely

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So, I recently purchased a 13y/o cob type. He is the sweetest chappy in the world. He has a brilliant attitude to his work and works beautifully through walk and trot but unfortunately when it comes to the canter, his days of being used by travellers as a trotting pony shine through and his canter is just awful. He really struggles, it can sometimes take two or three circles of asking for him to even break out of trot at all and when he does he just runs straight through. I have tried a few different exercises with him and he seems to struggle just as much with each one to the next. Does anybody have any suggestions of things I can try?
Personally i would get a chiro/physio out, my mare does a poggo type canter when her pelvis rotated. He could be in pain so that what I would do but contact the vet first.
 
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Gloi

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I actually have a Standardbred who did harness racing ,before I owned him . He trots and Paces.But does canter though you need to set him up for it ,and he will revert to pacing if excited. Takes more work to get canter established but it is worth doing it.
I have an Icelandic who paces and it is very hard for them to get their balance in canter and it's certainly easiest on an uphill straight line. We certainly need to know if the horse has pace there or if it just trots as the methods of getting / training canter are rather different.
 

teddypops

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He actually struggles to pick up any kind of semi decent canter EVEN MORE SO when he is out hacking or on a straight line because that is when, in his trotting days, pushing him on would just mean extend and speed up the trot. It is quite obvious that a lot of people who have chimed in on this thread have never had ex-trotting horses before. He is not a green horse, his walk and trot are completely established and beautiful quality! He works in a gorgeous frame and works very fluidly through his back. He just spent the first 7 years of his life, not being allowed to canter.
How ungrateful! I ‘chimed in’ because I replied to your question on how to help get your cob to canter. My current pony is not a trotter but in the past I have actually re schooled 2 trotters in exactly the same way as I suggested and they both eventually had a decent canter.
 

fabbydo

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Rude replies like the one from the OP don't normally wind me up but this one really was a cracker. Many experienced people have given good advice, as they were asked to do. Assuming there is nothing physically wrong with the horse, I would start to question the riders ability. Perhaps it's time for a professional to ride it? I could have worded this more kindly but, quite frankly, I can't be bothered.
 

ILuvCowparsely

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Shheesh, how rude, if you want replies from people who have had trotters only, then why not address your post to them on go on a trotters group on FB. Many of us have not had trotters, but have had other types of horses for 30 years +.

If you are going to be rude like that, people will not advice you.
 
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