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How To Train A Horse to Stop Cross Cantering On The Lunge Line

Submitted by member: Valerie

When I lunge my horse at the canter, he continually cross canters off and on throughout the entire session. Could this be a soundness issue? I have owned him for just over a year and he has not been lame.

Answer by Bernie

Well, this certainly could be a soundness issue and I believe the best way to answer that would be to have a vet take a look at the problem and evaluate your soundness question.

On the other hand it may be just a habitual issue. I have also had a few quite sound horses that have just developed this habit on the lunge line in small circles. Increase the size of the circle as much as practically possible and that should be some help.

You might try this as well: Slowly educate your horse to accept an additional lunge line attached to the outside of the bit, through the ring of the surcingle, and behind his hindquarters to your hand. For example, going to the left, the line would be around the right side, behind to your right hand while you hold the other lunge line in your left hand. Take this very slowly until your horse gets used and comfortable with the line being behind his hindquarters. Once he is comfortable walking and trotting on the circle, begin the canter work. This will give you some added control of his hind end and to some degree replace what your outside leg, displaced slightly back behind the girth, would be doing. Controlling the haunch. Horses sometimes get this habit from swinging out their hind end and this may be a help in preventing this. 
Hope this helps.

Video Recommendation:

Bill Cooney pre-ride school on a lunge line

A Pre-School Lunge Session
Bill Cooney
Provided it is done properly, the benefits of adding lunge line work to your horse’s program are enormous. Join Bill Cooney as he exercises a young horse on a lunge line prior to mounted work. Bill’s approach enhances horse/rider communication and the horse’s flexibility while emphasizing horsemanship and safety.
Running Time:  12 minutes and 46 seconds

View Video

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Bernie Traurig

As a Horseman, Bernie is renowned for not only his riding talents but for his teaching and coaching gifts. As a competitor, Bernie has represented the United States Equestrian Team both at home and abroad on many occasions and reached the top of the sport in all 3 of the International Equestrian Olympic disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing.After amassing 60 years worth of training and riding techniques and experiences with thousands of horses, Bernie is driven to give back to the sport that has given him so much fulfillment and success.

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