Can't get or keep the canter...
Hello everyone! I need your advice with cantering. For the past four lessons, I've been working on picking up a canter. By now, I probably should easily pick up a canter and stick to it. But I just can't! The horse I ride, Goose, is really sweet and is a responsive horse. It's my fault we can't go any faster, I KNOW something's off but I just can't figure out WHY it's so hard for me to settle into a canter!
It's a bit of an issue to get Goose into a canter, because I get scared of sliding off the sides (The way I first fell when my horse jumped, and I was learning to trot) and either squeeze her mane like toothpaste or accidentally pull on her mouth. I feel so bad, it's a wonder she hasn't bucked me off yet! My trainer tells me to give her her face, but then I lose that way to keep me from sliding, and grab her saddle pad. It makes my hands useless, and I have to keep her from jumping the poles in the arena (she loves jumping). Once we get into a canter, after a few seconds, I can find my stride and move well with her. That's only when I sit absolutely still, giving no leg cues, just steering. But Goose, being lazy, likes to go back into a trot, which throws me off my stride and then we have to start all over again, since I just can't use my legs in a canter. Yet. This is a HUGE issue, since I'm planning to show on Thanksgiving in a walk-trot-canter class! What do you suggest I do so I can get into, sit to, and keep up a strong and forward canter without pulling on the reins, mane or saddle pad? Other than no stirrup work, because I'm going to ask my instructor if I can ride without stirrups next week : )