Cantering... PLEASE HELP!

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Cantering... PLEASE HELP!

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  • What muscles do you use when cantering
  • How to relax and keep form while cantering

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    04-02-2012, 08:22 PM
Cantering... PLEASE HELP!

I have been riding over 4 years now. I can canter, gallop, and jump well. Recently I had a video taken of me riding, and I noticed MANY problems. My one big problem is that I keep my legs infront of the girth. And my other problem is I seam to really bounce in the saddle at a canter. If I canter with no stirups I am perfectly fine! I was adopted and I have very tight calves. I have been working on stretching them, and keeping my heels down. If I lowered my stirups would that help? I ride a 14 hand pony most of the time, if I ride this one very stubborn, cranky, and fast mare, my legs are fine, and I do bouncy around,still! Please help, I need to figure out what I am doing wrong! I need to work on lots, and I am willing to get all the help I need!
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    04-02-2012, 08:25 PM
I have the same problem, bouncing in saddle and fine bareback. I lowered my stirrups and that helped but I still do and feel much better without a saddle. Can't wait to hear what others say !
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    04-02-2012, 08:57 PM
You will probably sit more still when you get your leg under yourself better. Work on holding your 2pt in w/t/c and over poles making sure you arent balancing on the reins or the horses neck but supporting your own self with your legs.that will strengthen your leg and work on the muscle memory of keeping your leg under your body. Try standing in the stirrups at halt and sitting back down keeping your leg in the same place.
How long are your stirrups right now? Where to they hit relative to your ankle when your feet are out of them?
Hope this helps you!
    04-02-2012, 09:55 PM
Do you use your ab muscles at all when you ride or are you floppy like a noodle? That could be another thing along with curled up legs (not stretched down) and not sitting right in the saddle.. It could also be a stirrup bar placement problem. If you sit in the saddle and you're fine.. but you pick up stirrups and you get pushed back or forward then that's something to consider..
    04-02-2012, 10:23 PM
It sounds like you are bracing against the stirrups. It causes you to be tight and bounce. A common sign is a chair seat or legs shoved forward like a saddle seat rider.

Lengthening your stirrups will usually make this worse as you will need to reach for your stirrups.

Think about your core muscles (abs), you want them to melt with the movement of the trot and canter. Bare with me as I'm sitting on my chair trying to figure out how to explain it... lol... my mom is looking at me funny.

Your belly should form a slight C (not so bad that your slouching, just relaxed abs and hips. This should help align your leg properly. You have to do it when you're riding without stirrups or your stiffness gets you bounced off. You will have to mentally keep relaxing your core and pulling your leg back till it is part of muscle memory. You're aim is for an open hip angle, with your knee slightly off the saddle and contact in your calf and upper thigh.

May riders in an effort to push or slow a horse lean back, bracing their legs and getting behind the motion.

If you have pictures or video, that may help diagnose further.
    04-02-2012, 11:50 PM
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I am not sure I agree totally with the above person's explanation about the shape of the stomach, but I do agree that the reason cantering under saddle is bouncier is that you are transferring your "contact" with the hrose from being dependent on "seat to back" (your seat on his back), to being more "leg to body". So, you stiffen up in your hip area, your seatbones lose that immediate contact with the saddle, and you don't follow the motion there iwth the same looseness you would bareback. Try riding in the saddle without your stirrups for a bit, see if that helps.

Also, if your feet are too far forward, in a chair seat, it could be due to the saddle itself; being too high in front or otherwise not balanced or fitted correctly to you or the horse.
    04-03-2012, 07:39 AM
Sounds like you might be gripping or bracing your legs against your stirrups.

So relax and stop overthinking it.

Also if you use your back and hips to act as a shock absorber with the motion of the horse that will stop you bouncing. You need to keep your spine straight not hollowed in a curve.

Get some lessons on a lunge line.
    04-03-2012, 10:24 PM
Thank You all for replying this was alot of help. I have done alot of no stirup riding,and I have recently starting to canter/hand gallop in half seat and two-point. As for my bouncyness, I am still not sure what you mean egsactly. Please explain this a little better, thanks! Flashboy2011!
    04-04-2012, 02:42 AM
Originally Posted by Flashboy2011    
Thank You all for replying this was alot of help. I have done alot of no stirup riding,and I have recently starting to canter/hand gallop in half seat and two-point. As for my bouncyness, I am still not sure what you mean egsactly. Please explain this a little better, thanks! Flashboy2011!
Could you post a picture or even better, a video? There are many things it could be.. from upper body tightness to lack of engaging muscles, to bracing, to being behind the motion, to pushing too much with your hips, to curling up.

Yeah, a video would help.
    04-04-2012, 02:49 AM
I can't give any advice because I don't know what im talking about. My only question is what does being adopted have anything to do with tight calves and riding horses?
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