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 Post subject: Ridden Canter departs
PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 6:59 pm 
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We have been talking about other similar things which brings this up in my mind. I am actualy pretty good at canter departs- but not as good at teaching them as I would like to be. How many ways can we word the inner workings of the seat aids for a canter depart??

One of the best I have found is to imagine a really thick elastic cord that is attached from the midle of my inside clavical (collar bone) to inside wing of my pelvis. The cord is trying to crunch me down, so to pick up a canter I must stretch the chord in order to sit really straight.

This seems to help riders find the muscles they need to use, but not the timing or finesse of the transition.

Any help?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:01 am 

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I am no expert at this but will have a go......
I think most riders ask for canter but then block the movement without realising they are doing it! So I guess allowing the horse to move out under them without expecting it to happen would be the best way to get them to understand. I think it is extremely difficult to teach this in a school environment and have found the best way to get someone to feel this is to do it on an outride where the horse is straight and is motivated to go forwards. As you know the rhythm and tempo have to be just right to get a perfect transition and most horses will offer this naturally when out but seldom doing circles! (Unless of course you have a school master!!!!!). To me this lightens the aids required and the rider feels the reaction from a very slight shift of weight rather than a forced position to nag the horse where the transition is lost and becomes sloppy with the rider behind the movement. I have found this a good way to teach the horse to become light to the seat too by asking for canter, doing a short controlled canter, asking for transition down to trot, doing a few strides, asking for canter again etc...all on a straight line with a landmark to indicate where the rider must canter to, then ask for trot, next landmark etc. It was a good learning curve for me for timing as to when I needed to apply my aids as it is often earlier than we think and fine tunes timing. I find on a circle it is harder for the horse to stay balanced if the rider is not centered which often happens. The tempo is lost. If you have a large arena, you may try this by trotting the bends and then opening up the canter along the straight sides, but I still think most riders will lean too much.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:56 pm 
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Yes, I did have one particularly timid rider learn canter out doors by cantering up hills on a lazy horse. Since it was up a hil it made her feel lkie she had more brakes (not that this mare needed more brakes!)

To improve the horse's canter I like to do lots of transitions and ride over different terrain, but it is still easiest to get that nice canter from the ground- especailly sending over rails and small jumps.

Actually I learned my best canter departs when practicing jumping. Since we would pick up the canter at relativly the same spot and canter to a jump that required a bit of energy, the hrose knew what to expect adn the canter was RIGHT THERE. No leg, heck it feels like no aids at all. I wish i could really verbalize what is goin on in those ever so awesome transitions!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:54 pm 
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Hey, I got another one! In the process of making our DVD I've been trying to get good ways to describe canter departs that can be picked up from the walk with no leg, and it is so hard to vivdily desribe the way to gather your own body to make it happen. It is even harder to describe it on DVD, but this is one we can film easily! Here we go...

Sit, preferably on a saddle stand or exercise ball, but a chair will work as well. Have a friend push in, down, and back on your shoulder (I would say mostly down, and good bit in, and only slightly down- does that make sense???) Resist her pushing. Your shoulder should not move at all, but the muscles needed to keep upright are so very similar to what you need to do to pick up the canter lead on that same side. For even better results, have her put a hand on your ribs (not your floaters, but the ribs just above them) and the other hand on your shoulder and push with both.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:56 am 

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For ridden canter I absolutely love the way Kali has explained in this Q & A on the PonyPro's blog.
http://www.ponypros.net/blog/2010/11/29 ... continued/

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:52 pm 
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PiePony wrote:
For ridden canter I absolutely love the way Kali has explained in this Q & A on the PonyPro's blog.
http://www.ponypros.net/blog/2010/11/29 ... continued/


Elegant.

How often I've seen the rider over use the leg in the less schooled horse. I'm glad Kali made a point of rein aides, and the body in the beginner horse.

One of my students, when I started her, but after she'd ridden for eight or so years, under a different teacher, I had to take her legs away.

That was on an older fairly well schooled horse too -- she was just driving him bonkers with too much heavy leg cueing and could not coordinate her rein work.

In fact, I've two like this in the past couple of years. I took their legs away as aids for nearly six months. Things wonderfully improved, and I could tell instantly in the school when they had ignored my instructions and tried to go back to leg outside of my class. Switching tails, nose up, stiff hollow backs.

Now I allow (and upon reading Kali's page on canter departs am reminded to bear down on this again) only neutral leg pressure on the away side, and opening the leg on the direction of progress side.

To half pass left that would be right leg quiet, left leg releasing and opening a tad.

Works wonders, and keeps the "aids" from becoming instead "force," and limiting them to use as "cue," only.

My current challenge is to teach the use of body cue for energy and impulsion (which of course includes change of gait upward and downward).

This is not clicker training country - mostly because it's "don't use treats with my horse," country too. I do so wish I could do as Kali recommends for the canter departs - to put it on a +R schedule.

I'm going to set up a training schedule for Altea this year that includes mostly barn time, where my students (and their riding friends) are most likley around. Let them see what C/T can really do.

"Everybody knows it's for tricks," but none that it can be for training for riding, and all the challenges that presents.

A Morgan gelding I did some rehab training with four years ago showed me, one day, his amazing running walk as I was transitioning downward from the trot, and I put it on clicker/treat. He was fantastic and no one had seen it before from him. How they use him in parades - LOL

Altea has a similar transition gait that I may just reinforce. Fantastically smooth and powerful. She seems to love to do it too.

Kudos to Kali, that's for sure. I'm a fan.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:15 pm 
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:funny: :funny: :funny:

Some horses have unusual requirements to allow then to canter. My Schatzi is one of them. She is still not quite straight, and her blind eye makes her bend her body in strange ways.
Her "canter please" requirement is "legs way off, very quiet upright seat, reins a little high, click tongue 3 or 4 times, wait while she sorts out her legs and body and does a few hoppy-boppy terre-a-terre steps" and then we're cantering. She only canters in a shoulder-in fashion bent to the left and leading with her right so her good eye can be out front.

I have eventually managed to get her walking and trotting straight now, so I think the canter will correct with time. She does enjoy it, though, and I've only asked it for short distances on trail-rides so far.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:04 am 

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Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
We all know that most of what we teach is best done at the walk, learning happens faster at slower paces. Faster paces tend to raise the adrenalin rush and whilst it can be stimulating or fun, it can block learning.
I liked Kali's answer because she mentions that canter can be cue'd and taught with clicker and her explanation of why the "aids" can be unhelpful, as well as discussing how to keep the canter pure by teaching the horse it has no need for raised emotional responses. xx

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:25 am 
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Quote:
This is not clicker training country - mostly because it's "don't use treats with my horse," country too. I do so wish I could do as Kali recommends for the canter departs - to put it on a +R schedule.


I think you sort of can.. just don't use food or a click. ;) The key is in the gradually increasing schedule. Just use release (along with a verbal affirmation and an innocuous little wither scratch) to set up the positive associations.

When I had students working on canter with Footprint, for various reasons, I didn't want them to give her food treats. She's very , ah, shall we say, conservative of energy. ;) And she's an older horse who has been traditionally trained. Although not very "obedient". She was "heavy" and "sensitive" at the same time. It was very difficult for learner riders to get her out of a slow walk. (If they could get her into one. :funny: ) I followed a very similar schedule to "lighten her up" . It's just finding and rewarding or releasing the try. Each works well. So, I would get them to ask her for say a trot, and immediately quit asking if she even pricked her ears up. Then, at the same place in the ring each time, ask again, and gradually increase the expectation, but with regular revisits back to "easy". It changed her mind about using energy, amazingly quickly, even without food treats. She lost the mental association of "I'm being asked to canter, oh.. that means they're going to want me to work really hard and feel tired."

To sharpen up my canter departs, I often throw this in with all my horses. Occasionally ask for a canter and immediately I get one stride, go back to walk or trot. Sometimes I food treat it, sometimes not, but it's always magic.

Sue

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:32 am 
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Sounds right up my alley, Sue.

I do a great deal of pressure/release work with students because that's where they are coming from in the local horseworld. Not that they understand the nuances and niceites but it's a place to start with them.

I'll go you one better on the "getting one stride and releasing." Remember Madeliene naming my biiggest release method UPR? Ultimate Pressure Release?

I'm likely to dismount the first few times the horse would give me the gait I asked for in early attempts to train it. When Dakota, you remember Dakota, would do his little run at the gaited walk - a running walk, I'd step down and treat him, but I think the getting off was more successful in him "getting it," right off. UPR.

Your methods seem quite elegant and I'll be thinking about them at my next lesson with this one particular student ... the one that ran me down a couple of weeks ago in the school. Darnest thing that's ever happened to me. I must have thousands of hours in teaching, sometimes with as many as 19 to 12 horses in pretty small riding areas, and never once even bumped by a horse.

This young woman managed to do it in a huge riding hall (barn) school, with only she and I and the horse present. She not only turned into me, but just kept on coming when she had room to stop or turn. "I froze up," and "Are you hurt," and "Oh!" when she hit me where her comments. Reverse order of utterance, of course.

I remember hearing that "Oh!" and then contact and being angry in an instant she hit. Nice half ton horse too. Hard as rock.

Had I ever run into one of my instructors or coaches I'd have been down the road, though one of them, I'm sure, would have kicked my b**t first to help me build some impulsion for my own canter departure.

I'm on my knees spitting dust, looking for my driving cap, and wondering if my hip will let me get up without assistance, and she says, "are you hurt?"

11 days and my hip joint still aches. Bah!

I'm working fine, but I haven't tried riding yet. We'll see how that goes.

She's in for some drill, that's for sure. LOL

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:39 pm 

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Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Quote:
11 days and my hip joint still aches. Bah!

Donald, so sorry to hear this. How horrid, can shake your whole body up, hope you feel recovered soon.
I am 54 but had arthritis diagnosed more than 20 years ago, my right hip has dropped, it causes muscle pain because it alters my posture. I am too young for a health service hip replacement or orthopaedic shoe fittings to raise my right side a little, and current finances leave nothing after horses are cared for, a gallon of fuel for my car is more than my hourly pay, just one Gallon 6.18 GBP = 9.85963 USD so of course all deliveries, farrier coming out to trim etc, etc also rise.
I sincerely hope you have not done any serious damage and that bruising will clear. xx

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:13 pm 
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PiePony wrote:
Quote:
11 days and my hip joint still aches. Bah!

Donald, so sorry to hear this. How horrid, can shake your whole body up, hope you feel recovered soon.

I seem to have daily improvement, just not like when I was 25. LOL
You are right about the "whole body," shake up. My doctors keep telling me what remarkable health I'm in. My aches tell me that I'm aging.
PiePony wrote:

I am 54 but had arthritis diagnosed more than 20 years ago, my right hip has dropped, it causes muscle pain because it alters my posture. I am too young for a health service hip replacement or orthopaedic shoe fittings to raise my right side a little, and current finances leave nothing after horses are cared for, a gallon of fuel for my car is more than my hourly pay, just one Gallon 6.18 GBP = 9.85963 USD so of course all deliveries, farrier coming out to trim etc, etc also rise.
I sincerely hope you have not done any serious damage and that bruising will clear. xx


I just checked and the joint feels tender but improved over even yesterday. Hopefully this will continue. Thank you for your concern.

The next time I drive up to the fuel pump and sit there grumbling at yet another raise in price (we are now around $3.20gal - £2) I'll try to remember what you are paying.

I do wish you had a way to care better for your hip. As I recall my U.S. medical federal coverage (Medicare) kicked in when I was about 65, ten years ago, but it's not very adequate. I've not checked what major items like yours are handled under our plan. And I have to carry personal insurance for most things while my Medicare only kicks in for some things that my personal insurance doesn't cover.

I've been using Turmeric (Cucurmin) to keep down inflammation for some time now and I think it's helping, probably even with this latest incident.

That and Acetyl L Carnitine seem to be helping hands and feet especially.

They aren't ready quite yet to put me out on the ice for the polar bears, but sometimes it feels like it. :sad:

Do take the best care you can of yourself. Your animals need you. :pet:

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:46 am 
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Thanks, you all, for saying you like my canter depart idea! Before I knew about clicker training, I would ask the horse to canter, and as soon as she took a couple strides, I would immediately slack the reins, drop my stirrups, and start dismounting. Then I'd hand walk her until she licked and chewed. Then I would try to repeat it 3 times and call it a day. Sometimes when I got back on, the horse wouldn't want to go again because she was very calm, so I would get down and show her on the ground. As soon as she cantered, I'd call her in to me for petting and a rest. Then I'd get back on. If she didn't canter when I cantered in my body, I'd show her on the ground again. After about 3 repetitions of getting off and showing her on the ground, I'd get on and she would know it was the canter I was after, and would take it very easily. As soon as she took it, I would immediately slack the reins, drop my stirrups, and dismount. She'd stop, I'd whisk off the saddle, then hand walk her as a reward. I think this approach works equally well to clicker training. If you have a horse who starts offering too many behaviors too rapidly with treats (often the case with two of our goofy young Welsh geldings), it might work even better.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:59 pm 

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Whilst I believe Kelly Marks, Monty Roberts and Pat Parelli have some horse sense and include some gems worthy of inclusion in training horses, I do think that the interpretation of licking and chewing as a thought process has been disproved by the behavioural studies and science.
I don't have time to find the links at this moment.
I had an old horse with a few heart problems who yawned quite a lot, usually after exertion and my vet said this is a stress indicator, as are licking and chewing.
To interpret any behaviour it is necessary to see the whole context and then the same gestures might have differing results.
I thought it may be PonyPros or Relaxed Horsemanship webpages that I read an article discussing rider squeeze, tap etc when transitioning upwards. If the horse has offered a good walk, or trot our (even gentle) persuasion can result in faster rather than change of gait and be seen as punishment for having been offering a "nice" walk or trot, which we don't wish to lose and need to re-establish.
I have been reading the free articles on SATS and I can appreciate the use of the intermediate bridge signal to suggest "right track to try" offering encouragement towards achieving the target or required response.
When I had been sitting at liberty on my pony I would ask for walk, then he would manage a few paces and turn for a treat from my pocket. "Walk On" is understood by him but following me, or having me walk at his shoulder was easier for treating and he of course preferred that.

I have no bounce, have never had ability to vault and if I get off I need to ask my pony to stand by something I can climb from. It was at this point Donald suggested I look into Syn Alia Training Systems. I did need a bridge to explain that pony would be rewarded but was required to do a little more to achieve his treats. xx

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:56 pm 
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PiePony wrote:
Whilst I believe Kelly Marks, Monty Roberts and Pat Parelli have some horse sense and include some gems worthy of inclusion in training horses, I do think that the interpretation of licking and chewing as a thought process has been disproved by the behavioural studies and science.
I don't have time to find the links at this moment.

When you do I'd like to review this subject again. I recall having read some conflicting information that immediately provoked a response from me: "In context, please."

What I've seen, and this dates from as far back as 1950s for me, is that a horse has an entire set of communication responses, varied and complex as our own or moreso.

When I've seen clinicians point to one single element, such as chewing and licking, I have to laugh. Alone it can mean a number of things, but of one looks at, as I'm sure Kali did and does, the context of events, the expression from around the eyes, the tensions over other body parts (or relaxation) a quiet lowered tail, Kali read it correctly.

I liken it to reading human silent or non vocal symbol signs that indicate one's internal state. I learned it from adolescent mental health work. And I believe what Kali was responding to, as she schooled the ridden canter depart, was the same as in humans that are presented with a challenge problem, and find both solution and resolution - a state of relaxation - release of inner tension.

It is why we love to learn, and so does the horse, if we create a learning environment that allows for tension release, pressure release, and a sense of accomplishment.

I found her description of the dismount interesting. I'm sure she didn't choose this from reading any of my ramblings here in AND or other forums, but on her own, by recognizing the ultimate release of pressure that dismounting and hand walking produces for the horse. That's the "learning environment," I was trying to create for the horse, and my student team members in eventing and showing, back in the 60-'s.

The ex bronc rehabing we were doing coupled with my experiments with bridless riding where I borrowed the technique of calf ropers dismounting and their horses coming to a stop without further cues, and my current teaching brought me to the same conclusion, the UPR, as Madeliene from Canada labelled it for us, Ultimate Pressure Release.

Possibly we can work on our language of schooling/playing to indicate that moment where the horse does relax, lets go of tension, has a quiet tail, a softening of muscles over body and face, and licks and chews, that means he has learned something, or solved something, or absorbed some event to its accepted resolution.

I have used "resolution," in mental health work where I am helping someone problem solve as an assertive self managed exercise to change unwanted social behavior, or integrate a new social skill, a behavior, that is the goal.

This can apply across many challenges we face, from learning to wait quietly in queue, or crest a hill at a run, or express empathy to a loved one in pain or battleing loss. Resolution to me means acceptance of what is true in the moment, even if we have had no hand in making that moment, or conversely we have engaged energetically in creating that moments events.

So I think, when Bonnie finally gets that I don't want her, when I hold my flat palm toward her hip it does not mean the same as wiggling my two fingers - the former means 'move away please,' while the latter means, "move hip - or nearest body part - to touch my target fingers," we have, Bonnie and I, resolution in the moment.

Not that we won't have other moments where she swings her big hip (she's an 800 pounder now) right into me and my flat palm. LOL

One of the fascinating, and to me most valuable, things happening in AND is our development of horse handling (companionship styel) language. We might not notice it all the time, but it is most assuredly happening.

PiePony wrote:
I had an old horse with a few heart problems who yawned quite a lot, usually after exertion and my vet said this is a stress indicator, as are licking and chewing.
To interpret any behaviour it is necessary to see the whole context and then the same gestures might have differing results.

You can see that obviously I didn't read your complete post before replying. But then I knew you knew this before I began my ramble above.
PiePony wrote:
I thought it may be PonyPros or Relaxed Horsemanship webpages that I read an article discussing rider squeeze, tap etc when transitioning upwards. If the horse has offered a good walk, or trot our (even gentle) persuasion can result in faster rather than change of gait and be seen as punishment for having been offering a "nice" walk or trot, which we don't wish to lose and need to re-establish.

That deserves some careful thought and attention. You touch here on the "art," of AND, and too even the ancient classical riding art. To cultivate willlingness in human or horse affairs we must attend to how "the other," experiences our behaviors as motivation to respond. A tough call, but worth the effort of joyful and playful cooperation.
PiePony wrote:
I have been reading the free articles on SATS and I can appreciate the use of the intermediate bridge signal to suggest "right track to try" offering encouragement towards achieving the target or required response.

There are permutations that I've been experimenting with, such as duration of the IB (intermediate bridge signal) sound, intervals between each sound, and intensity or sharpness.

It's obvious that the management and handling of the IB can either calm or energize and excite. Couple it with food (like teaching rising energy at feeding time) or with site specific environmental cues (making an area a high energy play field only - leaving it for calming), or other inventive and creative use makes IB a powerful communication.

I notice that SATS people, some of them, have a tendency to become very artistic with IBs, and even use them without reward (other than the -r of tension/pressure release) and even without a terminal bridge signal (TB).

PiePony wrote:

When I had been sitting at liberty on my pony I would ask for walk, then he would manage a few paces and turn for a treat from my pocket. "Walk On" is understood by him but following me, or having me walk at his shoulder was easier for treating and he of course preferred that.

Thus we see who is "master," here. :yes:
PiePony wrote:
I have no bounce, have never had ability to vault and if I get off I need to ask my pony to stand by something I can climb from. It was at this point Donald suggested I look into Syn Alia Training Systems. I did need a bridge to explain that pony would be rewarded but was required to do a little more to achieve his treats. xx


I too have lost "bounce," and my dismounts and mountings, once things of grace and beauty ;) :cheers: 8) have become a bit less so, shall we say.

Your solution is a nice "save," I must say. I need to think more like that. I do with my dog Rio, but could be a bit more sensitive to my horses in the same way. Bonnie might not care too much for an interval and further behavior before the reward and I've not thought to use IB to cover that interval. Thank you for waking me up. :kiss:

Between IBs, skill with pressure release, learning to ask (rather than demand), developing scent talk communication, full body use language, we are building quite a human/equine vocabulary. Equihomotalk? ;)

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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