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Varying Gait on the Trail
No, she doesn't, 'plash! I've just always felt more secure at the trot than at a canter. I don't even get much opportunity to trot on the trail, since two of my horses can walk as fast as many can trot.

Originally posted by puddleplasher

We did a lot of work on this on the way back to the barn -- I know some people say you should never canter on the way back to the barn because of the chance the horse will just ignore you and run all the way back from over-eagerness, but I used it as a training tool, starting about four MILES from the barn. Pepper knew we were "on our way home" so was eager to go, but I knew if she decided to "run all the way back", she'd give up from exhaustion before she ever got there, and would never get the "reward" of having made it back to the barn at a run. So we use that stretch to make SURE she knows to slow down when I say to.

I am with you on that -- it's a method I used a lot on my younger horses.

There's a HUGE difference in knowing how to keep them in a controlled canter going home versus just letting the horse fly home either from lack of rider ability/knowledge or the rider's only 14 - lol lol

The tractor lane was over a mile long at my grandpap's farm. My cousin and I used to ride it to the woods, turn & walk a few feet until the horses settled, then ease them into a canter, making them stop/walk, canter/stop/walk, etc. back to the barn. Boy I owe my granddad a lot and by the time I realized just how much I owed him, it was too late to tell himSad

Red Hawk, not to worry, I knew exactly what you meant[Smile] My first heart horse was my Arab/Saddlebred that I'd raised from birth. I didn't let anyone ride him until he got into his late teens.

When we were training our young horses, grandpap also raised crops. In the spring, he instructed us kids to walk then trot the horses-in-training thru the plowed fields. We weren't allowed to canter them in thru the furrows, just walk and trot. The purpose was to teach the horse how to keep the trotting action down in its legs; acting as shock absorbers instead of sending the shock clear up to the rider.

Then when he disked we would put them in the fields again, before crops were planted. Grandpap always had to re-disk after we were done, but these were his horses we were training and that's what wonderful grandpaps are for anyway[8D]

So along with being ok, IMO, to canter on the trails, if your horse is a bit rough on the trot and you are lucky to have access to someone's plowed fields, I would ask permission to ride in them this spring and see if it helpsSmile

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