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Discussion on Cross cantering problem

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Holly Z.
Member
Username: Cowgrl

Post Number: 178
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Thursday, Apr 29, 2004 - 12:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello,
I ride trail for the most part and my main riding horse is a good sized QH that really enjoys being ridden. However, most of the time when I canter him on trail, he will lope along just fine for a few strides, then will switch leads behind and continue. Of course at this point I bring him down to a walk again as this is very uncomfortable to sit.

I've checked him for soreness in both hind legs, recently changed saddles to one that fits better, and bought a very expensive but very good saddle pad. I don't change positions while we're cantering so I don't think I'm at fault here. I can't figure it out what would cause him to change.

Any body else have the same experience and what did you do if you have?

Thanks.
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Cheryl Anderson
Member
Username: Canderso

Post Number: 220
Registered: 3-2000
Posted on Friday, Apr 30, 2004 - 7:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Holly,
Does he do it from both leads or just one? If just one, could this be strength related?
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Holly Z.
Member
Username: Cowgrl

Post Number: 179
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, Apr 30, 2004 - 10:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

He generally canters on his left lead but to tell you the truth, I don't really pay attention because I just ride trails and it doesn't really matter what lead they're on. I'll pay attention the next time and see what happens. Maybe this afternoon. He's 17 and has always been a big strong horse but he is getting up there in age. I'll check it out and let you know.

Thanks.
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Sandra Ross
Member
Username: Sross

Post Number: 98
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, Apr 30, 2004 - 1:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Does he cross canter without a rider as well?
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Katrina Turner
Member
Username: Kthorse

Post Number: 231
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, Apr 30, 2004 - 9:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Holly did he do this before the saddle right pad? Just curious
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Jo Beasley
Member
Username: Beasley

Post Number: 25
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Friday, Apr 30, 2004 - 9:21 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Holly,
I have a trail horse that frequently cross cantered on rough, rocky trails. I discovered his feet were sore, causing him to try to get comfortable while cantering on the trail. I discovered it because he cantered perfectly in a pasture or on soft ground. Went through a couple of farriers....but got his sore feet fixed and the problem resolved. FYI
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Holly Z.
Member
Username: Cowgrl

Post Number: 181
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, May 3, 2004 - 12:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Katrina, yes, he's always done this no matter what saddle or pad I was using. I have a feeling that he did it the last time out of habit as I think the saddle I was using didn't fit very well and he was trying to make himself comfortable by cross cantering. I'll keep working on it and see if he improves.

Jo, the trail I was cantering on is a nice wide sandy trail with no rocks so sore feet isn't an issue.

This is one of those things that make you go hmmmm.
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Katrina Turner
Member
Username: Kthorse

Post Number: 232
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, May 3, 2004 - 3:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Holly, Phew thats a relief, I am waiting for my pad to arrive. My horse will cross canter, when the saddle hurts,his feet or he wants to catch up to the horses cantering/galloping in front and I am not allowing him to. Then its only for a second or two till I calm him down. I am sure that your problem is caused by a different reason. I hope you find out what it is. Good luck.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 220
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, May 3, 2004 - 11:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

For what it's worth, a horse will sometimes cross canter if he has a back problem, especially in "lower" back near the tail. It might be worth checking.
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Sharon Hanson
New Member
Username: Shanson

Post Number: 1
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Friday, May 7, 2004 - 11:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just to be sure, you might want to have a good instructor observe your riding. This would help to rule out rider error. A horse can detect and respond to subtle changes in seat and leg that a rider may not notice.
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Holly Z.
Member
Username: Cowgrl

Post Number: 185
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, May 7, 2004 - 1:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I checked him thoroughly for back soreness - nothing. Watched him canter without a rider and he does both - cross cantering, then not, then back. I'm going to take him to a local arena and work on it there.

Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll keep you posted on our progress.
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 88
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 2:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey all .. Interesting topic. Does anyone have any success stories for curing cross cantering. Old timers tell me if that is what the horse does naturally, barring injuries or any outside condition, you might as well give it up. I am training a large quarter mare for a lady now, and she is doing great in every aspect ... except for canter or lope. I swear she just seems like she doesn't know how. It is the roughest ride you can imagine. She even does this when going up hills, and this seems dangerous. I have managed about 4 strides without crossing up, and I think this was an accident. All I know to try is to try to collect before lope, and stop immediately when crossing and try again. I would appreciate any input or comments you might have. Maybe the old timers are right.
DT
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ANN COLLIER
Member
Username: Dres

Post Number: 356
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 2:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis, i have always been of the impression that the cross canter is due to lack of muscling.. that being said... maybe you can collect, pick up one / two strides of the canter and drop back down to trot.. transitions / transitions / transitions... this might help to build more muscle from behind...

good luck Ann
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 89
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 2:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Ann .. That has been my approach now for a couple of weeks. Also included some more hill work and circling drills. This is a big, strong horse so I didn't initially think muscling was a problem ... perhaps, a little lazy though. I appreciate your imput and will post results.
Thanks
DT
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 90
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 2:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

By the way Ann .. Saw your profile page. Interesting concept on the breeding. I have an App mare that could be a twin ... only much smaller I am sure.
DT
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: Hwood

Post Number: 507
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 9:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis,
Does she cross-canter both directions? On both leads? Does she ever get it correct in the front and hinds at the same time?
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Christos Axis
Member
Username: Christos

Post Number: 395
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 6:32 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis,
I think that the only way to cure it (the only way I know) is to extend the gait and sprint. It is very difficult for the horse to cross-canter fast, especially so during hard acceleration, so she'll have to change. The very moment she changes to a correct canter, you praise her and bring her back into a relaxed tempo.
I wouldn't slow down or stop when she cross-canters, especially on a lazy horse. I think it's giving her a reward for exactly what you do not want her to do.

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Christos Axis
Member
Username: Christos

Post Number: 396
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 6:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

In any case, I think more collection is not a tool to correct mistakes. She will not do in a collected frame what she can't physically or mentally do in a working, "open" frame.
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barbara c
Member
Username: Oscarvv

Post Number: 562
Registered: 10-1999
Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 3:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I would consider having a vet come out to do some hind leg flexions and see him lunged &/or ridden. At 17 and being big, he could be just a little stiff.
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 91
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 1, 2004 - 4:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Holly .. She does seem to consistently cross canter in both directions and on both leads. Any time I felt she did it correctly seemed to be accidentally and very short lived. And Christos ... I have considered that I might just take her out and go at it and let her extend in a good run and make sure she can do that properly for a few sessions, and then try working backwards from there. Good point.
DT
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Holly Zukowski
Member
Username: Cowgrl

Post Number: 221
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 2, 2004 - 10:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Okay, we're talking about two different horses here. Mine and Dennis'. I started this initial thread talking about my 17 year old QH gelding who cross canters and Dennis has a QH mare that he's training. Both of us have the same problem, however. I started supplements for my 17 year old and will see if it was a stiffness issue or saddle fit. With this newer saddle, he's definitely happier and has more swing to his back. Haven't had the chance to canter much with the weather being so crummy though. I will also try letting him out a bit to see how he is that way.
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 92
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 2, 2004 - 10:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sorry Holly if I confused things, but thought it was the logical place to post my question. Once we find out what causes the problem, how do we fix.
DT
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Holly Zukowski
Member
Username: Cowgrl

Post Number: 224
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 2, 2004 - 12:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

No, I don't think you confused things much. We both have the same problem so two heads are better than one at coming up with a solution.
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 93
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Thursday, Jun 3, 2004 - 8:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I worked this mare again last night. Tried the full sprints, then backing down and asking for canter as was Christos recommendation. This horse just beats you to death. I watched her closely as I made her try the canter in the field. Not sure this is actually a "cross canter" as foot sequence seems to be ... lead fore .. both rear .. off fore. It is almost like a buck without kicking rear legs upwards. Not sure what you would call this "gait" but she does it consistently, and it is rough .. She even does this when we climb small hills and It doesn't seem to feel like a very safe method of going up. If you recognize this sequence please fill me in. I'm running out of ideas.
DT
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: Alden

Post Number: 103
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, Jun 3, 2004 - 12:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dennis,

I have a three yro MFT colt that does just like you are saying, the hind legs almost move together when he canters. I have posted about him before concerning his clumsiness and lateral weakness in the hind legs, my vet gave us a possible diagnosis of spinal damage when he was a foal. We havenít had the resources available to pursue any further tests (the vet said they arenít very conclusive anyhow) and he isnít in any pain. So we just put him out to pasture for a year, I gave him lots of vitamin E and he is better but not 100%.

Anyhow, when I work him in a round pen he consistently cross-fires. If I increase the pressure and drive him forward he will fix his gait and keep it that way. But you stop him and ask him to canter off again and 8 times out of 10 he cross-fire again. Again, extra pressure and he will fix it, although it takes a half a lap or so sometimes. It doesn't matter which direction he is traveling.

I also have a 5 yro MFT gelding and I seem to remember him doing this when he was two also. We did the same thing in the round pen with him and I havenít notice him cross-firing for a couple years now. But he was never bad about it, just happened every once in awhile.

The only other thing I can think of would to get her really moving her hindquarters off your leg. Then when you ask for a canter push the hindquarters over a lot and make it really uncomfortable to use the wrong hind leg. Iíd just work on getting that one hind leg pushing off and go back to a walk over and over again. I donít know if it would work but it couldnít hurt.

Good day,
Alden
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 94
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Thursday, Jun 3, 2004 - 2:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Alden .. That is exactly what I had planned for this evening. I have a larger 90 ft. round pen and my plan was to really put the pressure on to speed until she breaks this stride, and then release. If she reverts back with lack of speed, pressure again until she breaks the stride. I was hoping that eventually she would relate the release with the proper gait, and "voila" we have it. Oh well, we can dream any how.
Thanks for your input ... makes me think I may be on the right track.
DT
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 95
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Thursday, Jun 3, 2004 - 2:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oh yea ... by the way, I tried this method last night in the saddle, but by the time we got to speed I was worn out from trying to hang on. I thought I was a pretty good rider, but this one is tough.
DT
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Holly Zukowski
Member
Username: Cowgrl

Post Number: 260
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Monday, Jun 21, 2004 - 1:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

An update...I lunged my QH in the round pen last night and he cantered fine on the right lead and seemed much more inclined to canter in that direction than his left. When I changed direction, I really had to push him to canter and when he did, he would canter on his correct lead (left)for about 2 or so strides, cross behind then break back to a trot. I have a feeling it might be balance as I cannot detect any soreness anywhere. I check him at least 3-4 times a week and nothing. I have a 50' pen so we will be doing plenty of canter-trot-canter transitions until he can complete the circumference without breaking. I'm also going to start using side reins to encourage him to round as he tends to get strung out.
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 108
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Friday, Aug 13, 2004 - 2:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just a follow up to all ..... Had vet and chiro check on this mare to make sure no physical problems before I went back to serious work. As I said, she is big and prone to laziness and I thought that was the actual problem but wanted medical green light before I proceeded. All was well, so work began. Cristos ... sprints and more sprints
Alden ... pressuring the rear to correct lead
Ann ... muscles in rear

Heres the deal ... worked on hills at walk forward and backward to strengthen muscles. Worked on 300 yard sprints to extend until gait was established. When practicing back in the arena, firm pressure to yield the rear to proper lead. All this combined, and I think we are getting somewhere. Only problem I have now is that she tends to put her head down to either attempt a buck, or just to see if her feet are really moving that fast... I feel confident now, that in time we will work this all out. Bottom line, I think she was lazy, and a bit confused that someone actually wanted her to do more than graze. Thanks to all. This site is a great tool.
DT
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Lorrie Hutchens-Grover
Member
Username: Lorrieg

Post Number: 56
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 31, 2005 - 4:32 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi all,

I know this is a pretty old thread, but I have a 6 yr old gelding who had a problem with cross cantering just before I bought him last year.
Turns out the problem was diet.
After he was diagnosed as mildly positive for EPSM, I was advised to put him on a diet of Purina Ultium(a beet pulp & oil pellet based feed)and a little alfalfa. The problem resolved itself within a very short time and has stayed in check ever since.

Lorrie
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