Teaching a Horse to Canter

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Letters > Teaching a Horse to Canter/Collection

"As soon as I lope off with him his head is low but his nose is stuck way out in Sweden and he loses all of his frame"


Dear Keith...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Keith Hosman, Thank you first of all, for reading my email. I'm a little frustrated at this point with one of my horses. He's a 12 year old QH gelding that I just bought this year. Beautiful and very sweet. I've been working with him a lot this summer on softness and I feel we've come pretty far. When I bought him, he was pretty unresponsive and not very soft at all. For instance, he couldn't side pass, turn on his haunches or give me his nose in or to either side. Anyway, now he's doing much better. I can move his shoulders and hips around anywhere I want them, he side passes well, turns on the forehand and haunches, and is overall pretty collected and soft. My problem is that he's only this way at the walk and trot. As soon as I lope off with him his head is low but his nose is stuck way out in Sweden and he loses all of his frame. Or so it feels like. Also, he was a pretty lazy horse when I got him. The lady who owned him before would constantly pump on him to keep him going. As soon as she'd stop kicking or kissing he'd fall out of the lope. Fortunately, a lot of our work this summer has made him much more attentive and he's stopped leaning on my leg like he use to do with her, but I don't know how to keep him in the lope but soft. That's my bottom line question. How do I take this horse who is quite soft in the walk and trot, and make him just as soft in the lope. This seems like it should just be a matter of more baby steps but I can't really describe it, it's like he's a different horse when he moves into the lope. The other detail I should note is that as soft as he is when I pull his head around to either side, he's not as willing to bring his nose straight into his chest. We've been working on it and he's getting better but more gradually than the other stuff came to him. Anyway advice?



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Hi - and thank you for the email. While I'm sure you understand that I can't advice via a simple email for a horse (or rider) I’ve never seen, I can suggest that you go to this page on my site: http://www.horsemanship101.com/Horse-Training-Tools/index1001.html. It lists over 200 training topics. Simply find a topic related to your situation and the link will bring you to a list of relevant books, video, audio tapes. It will also link you to free articles, when they're available. Note that some topics (like “pawing”) haven’t been addressed yet. They someday will be – but right not most of our articles mirror our riding clinics. You might also look for a John Lyons trainer in your area. A list of trainers can be found here: http://www.horsemanship101.com/John-Lyons-Trainer-Links/John-Lyons-Trainers-US-1.html. (You'll need to join that link onto one line in order for it to work.) You can find a list of our upcoming clinics here on my site: http://www.horsemanship101.com/John-Lyons-Trainer-Clinics/Where-and-When.html. Good luck and let me know how it goes. Keith



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Hi, and thank you for such a speedy reply. Actually, I was kind of hoping that after simply reading the solution in your email, I'd walk out to the barn tomorrow and my horse would just be miraculously fixed! No, I'm just kidding, and I totally understand that you can't advise without seeing to troubleshoot. Thank you, however, for the websites. I look forward to scouring them for what I'm looking for. Oh, and as far as a trainer, I don't know if you know this but, you guys are kind of spendy. Worth every penny though I'm sure. Although if I can't mend this problem correctly myself, I will consider professional help. For the horse . . . Thanks again, Nikara

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Teaching a Horse to Canter: "As soon as I lope off with him his head is low but his nose is stuck way out in Sweden and he loses all of his frame" Horsemanship101.com has answers plus local trainers, tack, training books and DVDs.