Young Horse Struggling to Bend on One Rein

epeters91

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My just turned 4 year old is doing really well with her schooling in walk she keeps an inside bend very well, turns lovely circles and leg yields very nicely. As soon as we get into trot she looses her bend and struggles with leg yielding, once we are in canter it's a struggle to do a 20 meter circle.

I'm starting lessons very soon which I know will help. My problem is at the moment I'm judging it that she just needs to build up some more muscle and that's why she struggles in the faster gates. Rather than push her too hard I'm making sure she keeps her bend in walk and doing little exercises occasionally in trot to try and improve her bend and train her muscles for example 20 meter circle becoming smaller and then pushing her back out to the 20 meters.

Am I doing the right thing or should I be pushing her more? She's had her back, teeth and tack checked and all fine.
 

crabbymare

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I would think she is unbalanced and not yet strong enough to keep the bend.until the lessons start Ii would be reducing the amount of trot she does to a quarter of a circle so that she can keep balanced and bent the correct way. then walk again for the next quarter and trot the next. that way with correct transitions the trot work on a circle will slowly build up and she will be able to handle the bend more easily. also make sure you are not getting bend in the neck only and that the whole body is bending so where possible make the circles bigger so that less bend is needed and it is easier for her
 

be positive

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At just 4 I would not really be asking for bend until she was going forward in a good rhythm in all paces and remaining straight into a light contact, asking for bend in the early stages will often end up with a crooked horse that is too reliant on the hand, they tend to drop through their shoulders if they are not ready and that can be tricky to correct. Do plenty of transitions, short periods of canter only and think more about her carrying herself and going forward than whether she is bending, the bend and suppleness will come more easily once she is stronger and taking some weight on her hindlegs.
 

epeters91

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Thanks for the feedback! I will back off the bending work for now and concentrate on keeping forward and allowing her to build up a bit more. Then when she's ready we will try the suggestion above of trotting maybe a small section of a circle to keep the bend. Hoping we can get out and do more hacking now I have a trailer too so that will help with building her up.

Thank you both :)
 

webble

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I wouldn't think she is ready for 20m circles yet and not in canter anyway. I would maybe concentrate on lateral work first. If you are looking for a good instructor and you are where I think you are I can recommend Sue Harwood, she is fab with babies
 

NZJenny

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I'm also riding a 4 year old, and I very rarely ask for 20m circles at canter - I keep them big.
 

muddy_grey

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This time last year my then 4yo could barely canter in a 20x40, let alone a circle. I mostly hacked her for her 4yo year and started jumping and schooling in about July 1 or 2 times per week. She got a DC in her first BN last week and over 65% in her first prelim on Sunday so it hasn't hurt her!
 
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