Feel like "hovering" on the canter sometimes. Tips? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-23-2012, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Feel like "hovering" on the canter sometimes. Tips?

I've not been cantering very long compared to how long I've been "mastering" the trot, but I've been having one very specific problem when it comes to the canter that I just can't seem to solve. I'm a good visual learner so I try to watch other lessons as well as people riding at shows, but ultimately I'm having a difficulty mastering the actual movement.

My problem arises at certain horses. We have one horse at the barn whose canter is smooth as silk. He's absolutely perfect. I have no problem keeping my heels down and maintaining the pace with him. The rest? Well they tend to "bounce" me up out of the saddle and sometimes I can feel that my feet have come up out of the stirrups some and I almost instinctively want to go into two-point position just to get my heels down and secure again. My trainer says these horses have very "awkward" canters and that's why they feel so bouncy and unusual. On my own time riding I've done extra exercises to try to get used to the bouncy + firm leg position combination. I've done work with the sitting trot so my brain doesn't automatically think I should start posting when I bounce and that's helped a little.

There's one horse in particular my trainer would love me to master but he's very hot and being insecure at the canter just makes me feel even more like he's going to speed off at a gallop instead of the nice, controlled canter I want from him.

I know all the best trotting exercises at this point but is there anything I can work on or ask my trainer to try in order to better solve the feeling of "hovering" along over the saddle with the horse rather than properly riding the canter? I've asked him to let me ride the horse on the lunge on the ones I'm less secure with but while that solves the issue of trying to steer AND sit well I'm still not sitting well!
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-23-2012, 01:33 PM
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I have this issue on my Arab mare. She spends "alot" of time off the ground when she canters. I believe this is referred to as suspension.

My butt wants to "suspend" also .. lol.

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post #3 of 5 Old 08-23-2012, 02:30 PM
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By pointing my toes straight ahead it enables me to sit deeper in the saddle. Also think of riding the canter as rocking from outside hip to inside hip (inside hip is in the forward position).

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post #4 of 5 Old 08-23-2012, 03:40 PM
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It took me a year and a half to be able to sit to my horses canter when we first got him.. Try imagining that your butt is an ice cream scooper and "scoop" forwards with your horse. This helped me with other horses, but with my gelding I just practiced ALL THE TIME. I think it's a matter of having the right muscles- maybe to get started point your toes out just a bit? This helps me grip my horse better, but it is soo incorrect. Ask your trainer about different exersizes to do when you're not on a horse. I did a lot of running up stairs and walking on tippy toes to gain leg muscle in the beginning. I think core muscles help too because if I focus on a strong core I can sit better
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-23-2012, 03:55 PM
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If a horse is not ready to give you his back, you will always have problems sitting the canter. This just causes discomfort to both horse and rider. If you start out the canter in a deep two and do head and neck bending, you will feel the horse's back relax and his pace should slow. At this point, sit on your butt, not your crotch. And let your seat follow the horse's motion front to back. Just a pointer, that this will be extrememly difficult to do if you ride in a close contact saddle, as the flat seat of the hunter ring is not meant for finding your seat. It took me months of thinking i was a bad rider to figure out that:
a) I was pissing off my horse by trying to sit his canter while he was hollow backed
b) my brand new expensive close contact saddle was good for NOTHING when it
came down to learning how to use my body correctly
c) I needed a new saddle (enter beautiful Kieffer Aachen All Purpose saddle, that
gives me a great position on the flat and over big stadium and xcountry jumps)
d) my horse actually didn't canter like a 3-legged moose with a drinking problem,
he just needed me to ride him correctly.

If the horses you are riding have hollow backs and you try to sit the canter, it's just like putting a cold hand on the small of someone's back, they are going to shrink away from it and it won't be comfortable for either two of you.

Since you haven't been mworking on the canter long, talk to your trainer about letting you master your seat on a horse with an easy canter to build up your seat, leg strength and balance. Then once you get the feel of what sitting a canter will feel like, you will be able to ride a horse with a difficult canter. Good Luck!
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