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For those of you who canter in harness

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drivin*me*buggy

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Hey guys long time since i've posted


I'd like to know what you guys use as a cue under harness for cantering. Last night & tonight i realized "Canter" sounds a lot like "Banner" & i'd rather have a better cue word. i know the word could be anything as long as it's consistant, but i was wondering what you guys use.

Also what other cues do you use with it? (Like any whip cues, etc.)

here's a picture of him working tonight.




Thanks guys for any suggestions, etc.


Ashley
 

ruffian

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Just curious - why would you want to canter in harness? CDE? Since we show, we never want to canter, so I don't have a cue for canter.
 

drivin*me*buggy

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nope don't show at all. but i plan to drive on trails around here and such and i'd like to include catering as well. not really any reason then i'd like to & Banner likes to LOL. but i can understand not doing it for many reasons.
 

Shari

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It is a good idea to properly teach them to canter in harness. First reason... I have seen some horses spook and bolt,, well trained animals btw, because they were never allowed to canter in harness..it feels different and scares some of them.

Second... where I drive..some of the hills can be a challenge... having Maggie canter up them is a lot easier for her.

However,,saying that... you need to know your horse. I did not canter Maggie or drive the trails I do now..until she had been well under harness for 2 full years.
 

susanne

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I'm not going from personal experience, but Heike Bean and many others recommend that you accustom your horse to cantering if for nothing else than to prevent them from being frightened by the additional noise and bouncing, and to train them to whoa from the canter if they should break into a run.

If it's a strange and scary thing to them, they will be difficult to control once again.

As for voice commands, for free-lunging (and Liberty), I wanted Mingus to know the difference between a trot and a canter. I found "RUN" to be quick and easy.

ETA: You beat me to it, Shari...only you have the experience!
 
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Alex

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Just curious - why would you want to canter in harness? CDE? Since we show, we never want to canter, so I don't have a cue for canter.
Since you show they cant canter in harness? Why!?
 

Jill

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I do it for fun (and don't they for CDE?). I smooch to mine just like I do when I ride. I have one, Eclipse, who loves to and it's just so much fun!!!
 

ruffian

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Since you show they cant canter in harness? Why!?
Not that they can't, but we don't want them to. Breaking into a canter in a show ring is a big no-no.
But I do like the reasons for teaching them to - the noise and bouncing.

OK Miss Sheryl- YOU FIRST!! Try it in your Xena Warrior Princess costume!!!
(I KNOW you have one)
 

hobbyhorse23

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You're right, "canter" does sound a lot like "Banner."
Still, you could use the word if you had a very specific intonation for it. I taught all my voice commands on the lungeline and then transferred them over to driving so Kody goes by the same two syllable "Kody, Ta-Rot!" and three syllable rising "Kody, Ce-An-Ter!" that my riding horses have all lunged to. It's important that you don't let them fall into a canter from a fast trot but rather collect them up, half-halt, then give the clear voice command and lift them into the faster gait. If you let them fall into it not only will it be ugly and hard for the horse but they will start to break when pressed for speed at the trot. (Not that they won't try anyway, but you'll have a clear standard for them.)

Before you try it in harness your horse must thoroughly understand the voice command on the lunge or in the roundpen and do it without resistance (no hollowing the back or throwing up the head). Then the first time you try it make sure you set him up for success. Do it on a hillside or in a big field, somewhere he wants to break anyway. Let him transition naturally and keep everything calm and happy, then ask him to return to a trot and praise him when he does. Kody's first canter was entirely accidental- we were tailing a pickup truck full of people from hazard to hazard at a clinic at Happ's our first season and he broke into a canter to go faster. He seemed a little hesitant at first waiting to see if I would pull him back or punish him and when I didn't he settled happily into it and off he went, nose-to-tailgate. I was waiting to be yelled at thinking I had broken some unwritten rule of driving but when we got to the next stop all I got was congratulations and mild admiration that my green horse was already cantering so well.


Green horses are going to want to rush forward into a canter, that's all there is to it. It's hard work to teach them to transition nicely without a leg or seat aid to help! Kody and I are working on that this year as it is time for him to learn to do it in an arena and to begin to learn lead control. I keep wanting to push him into it and must remind myself that if he doesn't do it in the first three strides I need to collect him up and try again. The first time he succeeds on voice command, don't worry if he falls out of it a stride or so later. The horse must build muscle before he'll be able to hold a canter in harness and especially on a circle or turn. Praise him heavily for doing what you asked then don't rush to do it again! Let him think about it while you go back to trot work and other normal stuff. Once is enough for the first time. The more you make it a nonchalant, not-a-big-deal thing, the less they'll be inclined to break on their own or go crazy for speed.

Other cues tend to develop by accident along the way. When I need my gelding to gear up for a tough pull uphill or through deep sand I say "Kody, hup! Hup!" once he's already cantering and he knows he needs to lunge hard. When we're approaching hazards I ask "Kody, are you ready?" His ears always flick and he gathers himself, then as we hit the ingate I say "Okay Kody, let's go!" and he cuts loose at a gallop. I've worked very hard this year to establish that if I haven't said "Let's go"...he'd better not! *LOL*

Good luck and I think Banner is doing very well. What program are you using to create all these inspirational poster images?

Leia
 

JourneysEnd

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Just curious - why would you want to canter in harness? CDE? Since we show, we never want to canter, so I don't have a cue for canter.
Since you show they cant canter in harness? Why!?
I think what you're asking is, why wouldn't you want a show horse to canter and the answer is, it's a gait that's not used in show classes.

I like my guys to know how to canter in harness. Pushing to a canter and then backing off helps with impulsion. Besides you never know when one is going to spook and that's not a good time to try a canter out for the first time.
 
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Keri

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I haven't taught any of mine to canter in harness. But I want to do chariot. So I would go about it like I do the rest of my training and add another command. To pick up the fastest gate in roadster, I tell my gelding to "drive" followed by a kiss. He picks it up. So I would maybe say "Yah" or something totally different. Canter is way too may syllables for me!
 

Alex

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Shouldnt your horse be well trained and know his comands? If no why is he in the show ring??

Not to be rude, but curious...
 

hobbyhorse23

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Pinto28 said:
Shouldnt your horse be well trained and know his comands? If no why is he in the show ring??
Not to be rude, but curious...
You teach a horse (or any other animal, for that matter) the commands he's going to need in daily life. If your discipline does not use the canter than why would you consider the animal "poorly trained" if he didn't know how to do something he was never, ever going to be asked to do?
It's like saying someone's dog is poorly trained because it doesn't know how to nose a light switch on and off on command. Sure they can learn it, and service dogs are required to. But your average obedience dog doesn't need to know it to be successful and happy and is hardly "poorly trained" for that lack.
We don't ask our horses to rack like a Saddlebred either- does that mean they aren't fully trained?

Heck, you could consider my animals quite ignorant if that's the case! None of them know how to do travers or correct half passes or caprioles or reining spins or cut cattle or jump a triple or play Buzkashi or....

(I kept trying to think of things Kody didn't know how to do and realized there really weren't that many of them! *LOL* He rears, walks on his hind legs, does shoulders-in, flying lead changes, plays soccer, jumps anything, does showmanship and obstacle, backs, sidepasses, pivots, ground-ties....
)

Leia
 

drivin*me*buggy

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Wow Thanks Guys for all your replies!

Shari,

Banner's been under harness for 2 & 1/2 possibly longer. and i usually do a lot more long rein work then actually hitching him up. (that will hopefully change this summer[more time]) i know him very well and i'm happy to say he's actually very controlled doing trot/canter, canter/trot transitions.

Susanne,

I have that book i believe, Carriage Driving, a logical approach through dressage training is it? if it is i loooooooove it! him spooking at a canter is another reason i'm including it in driving, he just loves to canter it's his perfered gait when i jump him as well.

Leia,

Thank you for explaining so much! i've already been doing cantering transitions with him & the first time he was typical all over the place and wanted nothing to do with coming up to the bit. but the second time i held him in it till he settled(this was in long reins so i was ready to die after that haha) and then transitioned into a trot. he's already getting better at going to a canter from a medium trot & not just breaking from a fast trot.

oh & i use Parody Motivator Generator to do these posters! they are a ton of fun to make.

Keri,

i agree canter is a little hard to get out after following my little beast around for a while LOL. i think i might use run or get. not to sure yet. i'll expirement tonight.


I also agree with Leia about her last post. lol.... her with Kody the superhorse


Thanks again guys!

Ashley
 

Alex

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Leia,

I wasnt accusing anyone of having improperly trained horses. My question was why NOT teach a horse too canter, even though its not required in a class. So if the horse actually knows his whip/verbal/rein cue to canter, he shouldnt canter in a class unless he is actualy told to.
 

hobbyhorse23

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Sorry Alex,
I didn't mean to imply you were accusing anyone of anything. What I heard was "If no why is he in the show ring??" with the implication being that he has no business being there if he doesn't know all his commands including cantering. I intended to give you the benefit of the doubt since you said you weren't trying to be rude but wanted to clarify the reasoning there.

The fact is that a horse who knows they can canter in harness will try to break. It's a fact of life. While it can be frustrating trying to teach a roadster-trained horse to canter later you'd better believe I'd rather be driving one trained that way in a class requiring a speed trot! They only break if they're at their absolute limits. A horse who's been taught it's okay to canter in harness will, in most cases, try to break sooner in a natural attempt to do what's easiest for them. Sure you can stop them but it's nice not to have to.
That's why you might not want them to know they can do it.

Leia
 

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