Ex-pacer wont canter

Waikato Valuta

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I have a training questions to do with my new boy. He is an ex-pacer and has never cantered with a person on his back. I have tried to get him to canter on the trail and all I got was a very excited horse who ran sideways at the trot/pace. I tried up a hill and he fell back to a walk despite encouragement.

He lounges at the canter beautifully. He is really well balanced and looks very smooth. So how would you suggest getting a canter? Should I just work on the trot and walk stuff more or is there something I can do?

I have trained other Ex-pacers to canter but I can’t even remember what I did. LOL. I think it just happened one day.
 

wundahoss

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May 7, 2008
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I would start by teaching him a voice cue to canter on the lunge. I would also start asking when riding while someone else lunges him & cues him in the same manner you have been successful with, either on lead or 'freelunging' in an arena or such. Get so as he's really good at doing it in this situation before trying it without the helper, then when he's good at that, try it out of the arena.

Also make sure you reinforce whatever you get and don't ask for too much too soon. Eg. at the first steps of a canter, reinforce/reward him and allow him to relax & 'come down' again. Get him good at this before asking him to do it a little longer.

As an aside, - but an important one - many horses can find their saddles reasonable at walk & trot, but too uncomfortable or downright painful at a canter, so double check that his saddle is wide enough & flat enough to be comfortable for him in all paces.
 

xxhannahxjazzxx

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Sep 5, 2008
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HI i almost bought an x pacer from the racehorse centre in shropshire
they have a website and had the x pacer cantering and trotting normally
hope this helps!
XX
 

Bethii

Beth loves Chester!!!!!!
My tips on how to get the canter.

Heres what i would suggest:


On The Lunge...
1.Put him on a lunge and walk him around in a circle in an enclosed area.
2.Ask him for trot without using the whip, then ask for canter using the whip and voice and the lunge rein.
3.When he canters say "Canter" to him keep saying canter until he trots.
4.Keep doing this for 15 minute sessions at a time once a day after he has been ridden under saddle...


Undersaddle...
1.Walk around in walk in an arena doing circles,serpentines,figure of eights etc...
2.Do the same in trot but get him on an outline.
3.Turn into the centre of the arena.
4.Shorten up your reins and push your heels down as far as you can/
5.Kick him on and ask for trot.
6.Then sit in trot and ask for canter in the corner if he refuses to go into canter whip him.
7.When he is in canter keep kicking him and saying "Canter"

This worked for my horse and me so it might work for yours!
 

vikkig

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Jul 26, 2007
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if your horse is walking and Trotting correctly then i would try canter poles, and a strike of pole on the corner of the arena helps to get ours into canter,

i find when i first tried to get one of ours to canter i really really needed to push it and i felt like i was kicking like pony club very embarassing. he canters well now and very good over poles and into jumps however on hacks he will pace until force to canter, everytime the horse paces bring him/her back and ask again dont just let them pace. :)

good luck
 

Wally

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Apr 16, 2000
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Heres what i would suggest:


On The Lunge...
1.Put him on a lunge and walk him around in a circle in an enclosed area.
2.Ask him for trot without using the whip, then ask for canter using the whip and voice and the lunge rein.
3.When he canters say "Canter" to him keep saying canter until he trots.
4.Keep doing this for 15 minute sessions at a time once a day after he has been ridden under saddle...


Undersaddle...
1.Walk around in walk in an arena doing circles,serpentines,figure of eights etc...
2.Do the same in trot but get him on an outline.
3.Turn into the centre of the arena.
4.Shorten up your reins and push your heels down as far as you can/
5.Kick him on and ask for trot.
6.Then sit in trot and ask for canter in the corner if he refuses to go into canter whip him.
7.When he is in canter keep kicking him and saying "Canter"

This worked for my horse and me so it might work for yours!


ROFL!

Pacey horses are not easy to convince to canter, you are asking them to break a lifetimes lateral movement and start using diagonal ones. When you first get it 9 times out of 10 it will likely be disunited and lateral, but at least he'll be trying.

Kicking and walloping will do nothing, all he'll do is go faster and faster with less and less balance, pacing is a long flat gait, canter needs far more collection and balance, you will not get a canter from a drawn out pace. Beleive me, they can pace much faster than they can canter,

Imagine someon telling you (if you are right handed) that you have to write with your left, and write a complete essay, make it readable and do it in the same timespace as you would with your right......would that be a fair request?


Canter poles and small jumps are a place to start, circles are hard for pacey horses and you are better working on larger ones with small jumps and poles. It might take a year for him to supple up and get the use of the muscles he as rarely used and the balance he feels is so alien to him.

Please don't kick and whip him, help him to discover his own balance and abiltiy.
 

Wally

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Bethii, would you like to come and use your methods on some of our pacey horses? :D :D


This worked for my horse and me so it might work for yours!

Was your horse a pacer?
 
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Waikato Valuta

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I got a Canter!!!

We were trotting along the trail next to another horse. I was letting him do whatever he wanted. He just picked up a canter and we did about 5 strides. It's lovely and smooth. :)

I know this is a long way from canter circles but it's still nice.

I have to agree. The harder I push the more likely I am to get a pace. He just won't understand. I have been getting him used to the verbal command in the lunge ring but I havn't tried it under saddle yet.
 

Wally

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This is the key, keep it up out and about, over rough ground, have you got a beach with deep sand?, that if often a good place for them to pick up a canter, or somwhere with long grass.

Was it a proper canter, or was it a bit pacey? Doesn't really matter, what matter is he thought in a different foot order.
 

Liz1949

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May 16, 2008
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WV, congratulations! Lots of praise for even one or two strides of canter and his learning will accelerate, as I am sure you know. I have had several ex-pacers and found that once the light was 'switched on' and they realise what you want them to do, they will try their hearts out for you. Switching on the light could sometimes take a considerable time, though!

I found it best to slow to walk after a very few canter strides, especially for the horse who has had problems producing a canter, as canter is tiring and disorientating at first, and you do not want your pacer to start to offer those confused mixtures of gait that you sometimes see under saddle, and which are so uncomfortable to ride. Other people like the horse to maintain the canter for longer to confirm in the horse's mind that it is doing the right thing and to reinforce the gait; both methods seem to work as far as I can see.

I think many people are unaware of the fact that pacing is a hard-wired movement - as is left-handedness in us humans - and instead, think it is simply something that the horse has 'learnt' to do, perhaps as an evasion or disobedience of some sort. Mind you, even if it were, I am dismayed that anyone would suggest progressive whipping and kicking as a solution ...

It used to be thought in Britain, and many other countries, that being left-handed was a sign of association with the devil; even nowadays, left-handed children are severely punished in some countries worldwide for merely persisting in using their left hand for routine tasks. I am ambidextrous and as a small child, was gently discouraged by my parents from using my left hand for writing and painting, as my father had suffered greatly in the 1920s as a left-hander. Prejudice against left-handers was still common, especially among older teachers, when I was at primary school in the mid- late 1950s. Fortunately in most civilised countries, the only problem for a left-hander are those posed by living in a right-handed world. I am fortunate in being ambidextrous to a fairly high degree, so the difficulties of the right-handed world are more of an annoyance and an inconvenience.

I suppose, then, with such lack of understanding of ourselves, it's hardly surprising that some people still think that pacing is a 'learnt' gait, and hence can be 'unlearnt'. it is just a pity that those people haven't bothered to unlearn some of the outdated nonsense they use as an excuse to bully horses into unwilling submission.
 
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Wally

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Imagine someon telling you (if you are right handed) that you have to write with your left, and write a complete essay, make it readable and do it in the same timespace as you would with your right......would that be a fair request?

so my analogy was not far wide of the mark :D :D

My brother is left handed and my father too was forced to write with his right hand in the 20's.....his hand writing says it all! :D :D

I am abidextrous to a small degree, and cannot use a computer mouse in my right hand! :D :D

Frances' horse cannot trot, he can tölt and pace, and canter with a correct diagonal in it, (disunited more often than not though;)) Maybe , once or twice in his life we have had a glimmer of trot, but then he loses it.

Agree totally about getting him back to walk after short bursts, as they can lose their balance really easily.

My horse is really pacey, but he can trot, but the concentration on his little face, you can feel his whole body trying so hard to keep it up, he will do one circuit of the indoor school, then lose his balance and drop back into pace again.....and you have to help him every step of the way, you lose it and he loses it. But he does try so hard.



It used to be thought in Britain, and many other countries, that being left-handed was a sign of association with the devil;

Hence:-
sinister = left handed
Dexter= right handed!
 
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Liz1949

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Your analogy was dead on!

I can use a mouse, or almost any sort of garden tools or equipment in the garden, with either hand but at school many, many years ago, I could only play tennis and lacrosse left-handed. I cannot mount from the off side although I can do everything else horsey from either side and with both hands.

Is it sinister that I can use both hands? Or would it just be though of as dexterity?:confused:

Gait in the horse is largely genetically determined, as is handedness in the human, although both are also amenable - to different extents in different individuals - to retraining and reeducation.
 
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