View Full Version : Horse changing behind all the time

27-10-00, 02:42 AM
I have a very frustrating pony who can simply change legs behind either way when ever he feels like it. Especially if there is an exit gate on the right and he's being asked to canter left and visa-versa. Can anybody suggest some excersises that may help correct the problem. He is only 3 y.o. broken 12 months, but the problem has been there since day one. Any suggestion would be great.

27-10-00, 03:16 AM
Ohhh I know how annoying that is..when I first got my horse he had the WORST canter..couldn't do a lap on the lunge without going disunited or falling back to trot. And he couldn't even do a lap of the menage because the short side was just too hard for him. He looked like an unco when he cantered in the paddock as well, but now he canters just as well as any other horse at his level, in the paddock and under saddle.
I found the main problems were stiffness, legs trailing out behind and lack of balance, here is a list of things that I believe has helped his canter:

*lots of trot work getting him flexing, balanced and relaxed some days not even bothering to canter other days getting the trot really good before trying the canter. Lots of things on the arena to get him flexible, counter flexion, bit of leg yielding etc

*in the initial stages cantering in a large paddock and letting him find his own circle ,even going a bit faster so he could find some kind of balance.

*cantering standing up in your stirrups until he can find his legs ok then gradually sit down over several sessions. Straight lines are also good

*As he gradually got better I found that I had to really make sure I got the transition right, if it was too big he'd loose balance..so start the canter well and do a smallish big circle to keep him slow and balanced but I let him still find his own way a bit rather than jamming him into an unbalanced perfectly shaped circle.

*Short and sweet is better than getting worse with every lap, lots of transitions in and out (as will much of the other stuff) help get him to use his back legs which will help prevent them flopping and changing.

*It may seem hard but reeeaally work on sitting properly and in balance, keeping upright. I used to try and kind of help my horse but when I just ignored him and concentrated in just sitting up and back it really made a difference.

*My horse was a heap better in the canter after I brought him back into work from a rest (don't really know why)

ok now I really should get off cyberhorse and back to my exam study..
good luck

27-10-00, 03:27 AM
Hey don't feel bad ..some horses spend forever learning to change legs..just think how easy it is going to be to get him to do one time changes in Carola's national Grand Prix Pony Competition.
There is no easy fix... as both your education levels rise it will be easier to keep him straight and balanced. Getting all preoccupied with "fixing" this problem will divert you from just getting all round better and then the problem will probably have gone away...:-)

27-10-00, 04:14 AM
It sound like the pony doesn't realise that this is wrong, especially if he has been doing it since day 1. does he do it only under saddle or when being lunged as well? Are you using your legs to give him direction and keep the impulsion going? You somehow need to get the pony to understand that everytime he changes onto the wrong leg that he will be asked to do something harder, such as canter a small circle. Good luck it can be very uncomfortable and annoying. I would also question if the horse may be sore, but if he is doing it both ways this will probably be unlikely.

27-10-00, 06:04 AM
Hmmmmm The pony's only 3. Probably just not strong enough yet to carry the rider and use his hind legs under him properly. I have found in my experience and this is my opinion ... phew :-) ... that age and immaturity have a lot to do with a horse/pony not being capable of carrying himself and a rider properly.

Take it easy. Probably because he was broken in at such an early age he started changing behind because he was so young and undeveloped physically and it was his only way of keeping his balance. Now it may be a habit, but he's still going to be pretty weak - give him a bit of a holiday for a couple of months and let him grow stronger. He should be OK after that.

I have to stress, though, that to punish a horse (i.e. make him do something harder) for changing legs is not advisable. He's really only doing it so he can keep upright, and when the time comes that you do want him to change legs .. what then?

Good luck with him. He sounds nice. Just let him grow up a bit.

27-10-00, 06:19 AM
Simply sounds like lack of balance and strength, especially as he's only a 3 year old. Don't know how often you are working him, but I personally don't like to be too hard on them on at this age.

I've found the best thing to do is to just let them go forward. (not bolting) Paddock work is great, fantastic, but don't get too concerned over the canter. When he does it, give him a chance to correct and if he hasn't after a few strides, back to the trot and then canter again. Don't get hung up on it, or he'll get anxious and tense.

Enjoy your young one, but perhaps a little break might be good for him.

29-10-00, 12:47 PM
sounds young!!

29-10-00, 01:16 PM
naughty pony