How can I relax at the canter?
 
 

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How can I relax at the canter?

This is a discussion on How can I relax at the canter? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Relaxing in the canter
  • How can i relax when cantering

 
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    01-27-2011, 09:32 AM
  #1
Foal
Question How can I relax at the canter?

Does anyone have tips on relaxing at the canter, especially before the transition?
     
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    01-27-2011, 09:40 AM
  #2
Weanling
BREATHE! You have no idea how much it helps.
Each stride think about yourself taking deep breaths through your stomach and that the air falls down all the way to your toes. When you breath out, imagine the air melting out, and that you sink deep into your seat. Gentle but deep breaths. Don't strain yourself. Practice it in a chair, you'll be able to feel the sinking feeling. That exercise really helps me.
I'll add more in a minute or two, a book of mine called Centered Riding by Sally Swift has numerous exercises for relaxing, and that one above is just one.
     
    01-27-2011, 09:46 AM
  #3
Trained
Sit up, deep breath in, and smile with all 4 cheeks.
     
    01-27-2011, 09:54 AM
  #4
Trained
Great posts! Smiling does help immensely! And I love Sally Swift!

Can you have someone put you on the lunge line to help you out? I find lunge line work with no reins, helps me out a lot.
     
    01-27-2011, 10:02 AM
  #5
Weanling
Ugh. I wrote out a whole post and it got deleted...Here I go again.

Ms. Swift emphasizes the difference between hard and soft eyes for relaxation. Right now, glare at something really hard. Feel that tension? Notice how you can only see that object. Now relax your face and allow its surroundings to come into view. It helps me to smile a little. Feel how your face relaxes? That's hard and soft eyes. You want to keep soft eyes to help you release tension.
I want you to hold your breath for ten seconds. When you let out the air, feel how you seem to melt into your chair, and your whole body relaxes. That sinking relaxed feeling is what you want all the time. This is not to say you should forget position and just do what's comfortable. That's not what this is about. This is about being comfortable in the correct position.
Most of all...Just BREATHE! I cannot emphasize that enough. Too many people hold their breath when they get nervous.
     
    01-27-2011, 10:17 AM
  #6
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tymer    
BREATHE! You have no idea how much it helps.
Each stride think about yourself taking deep breaths through your stomach and that the air falls down all the way to your toes. When you breath out, imagine the air melting out, and that you sink deep into your seat. Gentle but deep breaths. Don't strain yourself. Practice it in a chair, you'll be able to feel the sinking feeling. That exercise really helps me.
I'll add more in a minute or two, a book of mine called Centered Riding by Sally Swift has numerous exercises for relaxing, and that one above is just one.
I wish there was a like button on HF! Two thumbs up for the centered riding approach! You can sing too. Same premise really - breathe.
     
    01-29-2011, 11:29 AM
  #7
Foal
Not sure if I should be commenting as im only a beginner but how I learned to relax is to just move with the horse and breath. When I first did the canter I just froze and didnt breathe! But the second time I let go and moved with the horse. And it seemed to work :)
     
    02-05-2011, 10:10 PM
  #8
Foal
Number 1. Lunge lessons! I got tense in the canter too, but took some lunge lessons just to work on the transitions. Not having to worry about control so much really helped me prep for the transitions better until I felt more confident.

Number 2. Break it down and say it out loud! Even now if I feel myself tensing, I talk myself through it in a low calm voice...'ok, at A, we are going to canter, so I am sitting tall, looking forward, I am relaxed, I will open my inside hand and bring my outside leg back and.....WOOHOO!
     
    02-05-2011, 11:30 PM
  #9
Foal
I know it sounds stupid but if you take a deep breath in and let it out as a big loud sigh right before the transition, it helps a lot. This also works for other transitions, whether from walk to trot, trot to walk etc. It just hepls you to relax all your muscles and calm down.
     
    02-05-2011, 11:47 PM
  #10
Green Broke
I find the breathing really helps. I also find the singing or humming to really help me relax it even helps keep my horse relaxed as well because he likes to listen to your voice.
     

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