Cantering problem!

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Cantering problem!

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    01-06-2013, 07:05 PM
Cantering problem!

In a recent lesson, my instructor got us to canter one by one. Everybody else had no trouble picking up the canter - except me. Once I'm in the canter I'm fine, but giving the cue and the transition has always been a sore point for me.

What happened is that I tried to sit to Pita's very choppy trot for a few strides then pushed my outside leg slightly further back and added leg in the corner. He trotted faster. So I slowed down and tried again at the next corner. It took three or four tries for me to put him into canter.

~ pushing my outside leg back causes me to slip to the inside and become unbalanced.
~ I am not very good at sitting to the trot.
~ all I do is ask Pita to trot faster, not to change gaits.

My instructor assures me that we'll be working on it, but has anyone got ideas for how I can improve the transition? Right now it's not a very controlled transition at all. Thankyou!
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    01-06-2013, 08:21 PM
I struggle with the canter transistion also!

What helps me is to "plan" what im going to do.

If im working on our transition, I usually leg yield from the quarter line to the rail, at the sitting trot, and when I reach the corner, I open my chest, hold my outside rien and cue once with my outside leg usually giving an "UP" halfhalt with my inside rien.

If I don't get the canter in 3 strides, I bring him back to the trot, get the nice quiet trot again, and repeat my leg yeild to transition.

Practice makes perfect(: remember not to lean at your horse and don't throw your riens at them.

One more thing: it helps me to know where my horses legs are at the trot and where they should transistion to be at the canter :)

Chokolate likes this.
    01-06-2013, 08:41 PM
Thanks so much! Now you mention it, I don't really think ahead that much as to what I'm going to do, but when I do I find Pita does much better - I'll definitely try that!

My sitting trot is quite a problem, because I find it very hard to sit when I have stirrups. If I lengthen them a few holes do you think it will help me sit deeper? (I'm probably not allowed just to kick my feet out )

Should I slide my outside leg back? I don't think it makes that much of a difference, except for unbalancing me, so I'm unsure as to whether I should.

This is a sort of embarrassing problem to have because I am the oldest person in the class and am somewhat respected by the younger girls for being able to ride Mr Problem Pita and keep him under control, yet they all have no trouble. .
    01-06-2013, 08:53 PM
The most helpful things I have been told about sitting trot are:
-hold your belly button to your spine
-remmeber to follow your horse down and up, not jist grit your teeth and bounce
-keep your leg long

If any of that has any meaning to you.

I would be worried if I couldnot slide my leg back without being unbalenced. I would try to balencing exercises at the walk(bicycle legs, swing one foreward and the other back) untill your could hold your balence. My horse ersponds to the canter cue when I put my outside leg back a bit. I don't know if your does! :)
Chokolate likes this.
    01-06-2013, 09:11 PM
Yes, it makes sense!

I can slide my leg back easily when not bouncing around, I think I put too much weight into my stirrups and not my seat though. When bareback or stirrupless I find sitting trot really easy, but with stirrups I think I rely on them too much and they screw up my seat.

I'll remeber the 'don't just grit your teeth and bounce' especially, because it's what I do. I'll try and move more with the horse on Saturday.

I ride lesson horses only (don't have my own) so I don't have as much freedom in what I do as I would like, but can request to try some of this stuff :) and I'll be using all the tips, that's for sure!

So I need:

- a deeper seat
- to plan ahead
- don't lean so much on the stirrups

    01-06-2013, 09:27 PM
This is a very common problem for learners. I still have some trouble , if the horse is reluctant to take the canter. I , and many folks, tend to lean forward too much, which usually results in a faster, strung out trot. That makes it hard for you to keep your balance, so you fall forward and then, more of the same . .

So, what helps, along with all the points the others made, is to really think of riding the HIND end of the horse. I literally imagina myself riding a horse that has only two legs, like an Emu with a horse neck and head; I sit back on top of that "emu"s feathered body, right over those two legs, and I kind of squeeze up and in front of me. Funny image, but try thinking about riding ONLY your horse's hind legs, just for that moment of gathering him and sending him into the canter. And be sure to relax the instant he taeks the canter and go with the flow.
Chokolate likes this.
    01-06-2013, 10:38 PM
Thanks tinyliny! I've never even thought about that before, I'll have to give it a go!

Since I stopped jumping, my lesson tends to consist of walking/trotting extension and collection, using your seat, diagonals, and just making the aids subtler and more quiet, also ground-pole work. Riding Pita I've also learnt about using my hands, seat, legs, etc. differently to just a 'kick and go' situation. Only last week did I go for my first canter in quite a while (I needed to get the hang of keeping Pita on track and under control before I was allowed to go faster than a trot.) Hopefully now I've got that pretty much sorted I can work more on my canter :).

I'm going to make a list of all the ideas in this thread and print them so I can try and remember them for my ride on Saturday!
    01-06-2013, 11:48 PM
Just sick back deep and use your seat to push him =] When you slide your outside leg back to cue for the canter, squeeze with both heels/legs and not just your outside and don't stop squeezing until he canters. Also maybe try verbal cues as well? My Arab is really light and all he needs is the slightest cue to canter, but my trainer's Friesan needs the outside leg cue and a kiss. Maybe ask your trainer about different things you could be doing to cue him more?
Chokolate likes this.
    01-07-2013, 12:04 AM
Yep, we'll be working on it Saturday.

Pita's pretty light except when he's bored and needs a reminder to keep going. I need to use my voice more, I'll be doing that and keeping the pressure until he canters - a very good point I hadn't thought of! Thankyou!

And some people think horse riding is 'get on and go'...
    01-07-2013, 12:16 AM
I don't know if this is helpful, but my guy has a trot that it hard for me to sit, and I also have more trouble sitting the trot with stirrups, so maybe it might be applicable: I only try to sit a couple of strides before cueing the canter, and I do it by supporting with my reins as necessary for the corner, usually keeping a nice little bend, but not dropping the inside rein as my guy will collapse to the inside.

Then I drop my outside leg back just a couple inches while keeping my inside leg in place and supporting, and squeeze with the outside leg- I visualize that I am 'picking up' his hind end with that outside heel, which in my mind/imagination gives him the 'space' to bring his hind end up to start the canter.

I can only do that for a stride or two though, and either by then he's cantering or he's doing an unbalanced trot that needs to be brought back before I can ask again anyway. If he doesn't transition properly the first time, that "squeeze" with the legs is going to be more of a solid heel thump the next time and backed up by a swift smack after that since my guy KNOWS what I am asking and isn't allowed to ignore it.

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