Horses are a precocious species. That means they are born with the ability and knowledge to do lots of stuff us humans take 18 years and more to learn. Such as cantering off when they’re about an hour old. Us, yep, somewhere over a year before we can navigate on our own two feet (half as many to operate than a horse) and then it’s at a wobbly, stubby slow learning experience with lots of falling down. Canter at a year for humans—not happening.
However, that doesn’t mean horses all do it with the best practices info and education from Six Sigma. Many horses for myriad reasons, don’t carry themselves in a soft, balanced, structurally advantageous manner. You can watch a herd of wild Mustangs galloping across the prairie and a good percentage of them will be cross-cantering (also called cross-firing and cantering disunited).
Even more, a smooth forward movement and the lateral movement will be severely impeded by this problem. But, it’s not the only issue with an untrained canter. There’s the 2 x 12 syndrome—going around corners like a board. This happens when a horse cross-canters because there is no way they can go around a bend with their body in that position. However, many horses whose owners/riders don’t have any idea what’s happening or how to help the issue, canter on the correct lead but don’t have the softness and self-carriage to get around and do the motorcycle turn. And, sadly many owners/riders are on the wrong lead and have no idea what a lead is and go around corners like that, too, because the horse is doing the best it can to stay upright.
This is something that really bothers me. If you’ve had a horse for over a year or so and you can’t recognize leads both on-line and mounted—every time… you’re not doing right by your horse. And if you’re not doing right by your horse, please take a critical analysis of yourself about why you’re asking your horse to do something wrong and then piling on and contributing to it as well. There’s a well-known quote out there – “Ignorance is no excuse.” Horsemanship material? No, just someone on a horse.
Many trainers are always telling their students how good they are instead of saying “Ya know… you really need to buckle down and learn this.” That’s because it’s easier for the trainer to pay the bills if folks keep paying to get compliments.
That’s ego getting massaged while the horse suffers. And I know this happens A LOT!
I also know that some people don’t want to hear it from me either. But, if that’s the case, I can’t help anyway. If a person feels that way about how they treat their horse, I don’t care about them. But, it sure is hard on the horse and that I do care about.