The horse I am leasing, Griffin, has not been cantered by his owner.  He is a 10 year old warmblood cross (probably draft) palomino.  I started riding him in August and started cantering with him soon after.  The first couple times he just acted like he had never been asked before.  The next couple times he kinda cantered.  Then he started just blasting into a canter.  After a few strides I can get him back into a decent canter.  He only lasts a couple 20 meter circles.  

To stop the blast-o-canter I tried barely giving him any leg aids at all.  He may have been a bit better.  Then he started bucking.  The second time my trainer said he started on the wrong lead and switched his front then when he tried to do a flying change it turned into a bucking flying change.  She thinks it is like he is afraid of the canter aid and is running away from it.  We have jumped him a bit, which he loves, and he canters very well after the jumps.

Lately I have been distracted by working with him on staying calm with all the windy weather and while other horses are also working in the arena.  The last couple weeks I have been riding him alone in the arena so he has been calm again so I tried cantering again.  Same thing - blast-o-canter the first few strides then bucking and hopping with his back arched like a halloween cat.  Not really kicking too much but he is in the air.  I put my heels down further and sit up straighter and back a bit and stay on.

What do I do to get him to stop blasting?  and bucking?  Why is he so scared at first?  

P.S. I never use a whip.  He doesn't like them and does well without it.  He also seems to read my mind when I am rounding a corner and about to ask him to do a figure eight he just goes into it.  He is either very sensitive to my shifting weight and the turn of my head or has some higher level training.  We don't know his history before the last 3 years or so.

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Thanks Julianne, Griffin does seem more coordinated cantering to the left then the right and you are probably right about his lack of balance in the canter depart. I have had trouble with cantering in both directions but it may be worse to the right. The good news is, my trainer's daughter who is a very accomplished rider has also had problems with him. So I know it isn't just my position or aids. I think Griffin is green at cantering and needs lots of practice and he is very excitable and will blast without warning even when we are just trotting. If he is giving me a signal it is very subtle. I am getting more "experienced" with riding his bucks but I am beginning to wonder whether I need to just be confident and handle the bolts and bucks or whether I am being stupid.
Jackie Cochran had a good idea that you should have him checked for stomach ulcers - did you do that? Perhaps his problem isn't temperament but something else. It could be good to have him looked over for medical conditions.

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Hmm... It is funny you said that. On advice of others at our barn, his owner started giving Griffin a supplement of magnesium, calcium, yeast and licorice (which is supposed to be like an antacid) to calm him down. Almost immediately he evened out. I have been cantering him a bunch since then and he had stopped bolting, bucking and kicking. Last night was the first buck in over two weeks! I asked him to canter when he wasn't really bending properly. "My bad!"

I have read a couple websites and Griffin does not seem to have the normal symptoms. He is alert, shiny coat, is not thin (if anything he is a bit fat), has a great appetite. If a horse does have stomach ulcers what would the vet do? Give him supplements to soothe them?
Getting a lesson would probably be good because then the trainer can tell you it your doing anything wrong. You can try maybe asking him to canter with just your inside leg or you could also try and go into a circle when you start cantering. Maybe going into a trot circle and then canter when you headed into a wall, that's where I try and canter most of the time.


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