Improving canter work in the school.....

L&M

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I have a delightful, (if a bit cheeky!), 15hh irish cob, who has just turned 7.

He is predominately hunted, hacked and we do a lot of fun rides and xc.

This year my goal is to improve his flatwork.

He has a fab walk for a cob, trot is definitely getting there, but his canter is a disaster! He finds it hard to maintain canter both on the lunge and ridden. On the lunge he may manage 3 rotations with a lot of encouragement, and ridden just about can do one lap of the school but will break back into trot if I don't keep my leg on.

He has had his teeth done recently, with a saddle and physio check before Christmas so no physical issues.

Conversely out hacking or hunting, he has the most divine canter - he can shorten and lengthen and will happily canter for a long as required. Also if I introduce jumping into his schoolwork he finds canter easier too maintain. He is naturally forward going so don't think it is a laziness issue?

So any ideas?
 

PorkChop

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Sounds like you just need to make it more fun - I think I would try poles on the floor to canter over and do transitions over building up to canter poles.

However I wouldn't push it, it will come with time, he sounds lovely :)
 

Luci07

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Sounds like he can canter in a straight line but struggles on a circle? Can you test this by trying to work in a big circle on a hack before going in the school? If ok, then perhaps to trot canter transitions to build him up?
 

JillA

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Sounds like he can canter in a straight line but struggles on a circle? Can you test this by trying to work in a big circle on a hack before going in the school? If ok, then perhaps to trot canter transitions to build him up?

Ditto - sounds like a balance issue to me. Lots of short (5 or 10 strides) bursts of canter the back to trot and repeat. You will find his balance is good for the first few strides because he has engaged his hinds for the strike of, but maintaining it is a matter of building the right muscles and getting his hocks under him in all the paces. Circles, shoulder in etc to build his ability to balance himself and canter departs on a circle, all will get that engagement that means he can give you a balanced canter in a confined space.
 
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