How to sit the canter better and keep a controlled speed? - Page 2

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How to sit the canter better and keep a controlled speed?

This is a discussion on How to sit the canter better and keep a controlled speed? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Circular movement of hips at the canter

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    04-21-2011, 09:38 PM
Originally Posted by ocalagirl    
Imagine this: You have two sponges stuck to your cheeks and you need to clean your saddle. You need to move evenly back to front in rhythm. The movement is only in your hips, not shoulders or stomach. Other thoughts: Think Shakira, hula hooping, etc. for correct motion.
Haha! I really like this image ocalagirl. Maybe I will be brave enough to use it next time I teach...
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    04-22-2011, 10:34 PM
Originally Posted by equus717    
Thanks guys I am reading this because I am having a similar problem with my mare. She is slow going to the right but to the left she speeds up and am trying to figure out how to slow her down. I know that it is me because every once in a while I get it and she is slow like I need but most times she is speedy to the left.

Thanks for this thread OP.
I would definelty say that she is only speeding up because she lost her balance. Use a firm inside leg against your outside leg, and make sure that your not leaning with her and aren't twisted either :) Also half-halt around corners so that she knows to stay in check and also doesn't end up on her fore-hand.
    01-09-2012, 08:51 AM
Wow great questions. I have same problem. Wish there were a video to watch that applys to these questions.
    01-09-2012, 09:12 AM
Originally Posted by Kayty    
...suggesting that a rider 'clean their saddle' with their backside is a commonly heard method, yet it seems to encourage the rider to slide their backside across the saddle. Your backside should be glued to the saddle.
When I first started cantering last October, I read this advice. It was great for getting me started. And yes, my rear moved more than the saddle did. However, after a few rides, I was able to switch from 'cleaning the saddle' to 'just enough to move with the saddle'. I went from trying to 'sit' the canter, to too much motion, to trying for just the right amount.

That in turn set me up for trying to feel my HORSE'S movement and balance, and matching the saddle by first matching the horse.
    01-09-2012, 11:54 AM
Okay, I have no idea why my unbalanced green horse and I have no problems cantering (on the lunge mind you.. maybe that's why!) but I find following the motion really easy and keeping my horse from speeding off too.

But what helps me is not to lean forward.. you sit up and your eyes are up! The canter is a very elliptical movement for the horse. If you imagine a marble starting at the cantle, rolling down to the pommel, getting airborne, going at an arc towards the tail and then landing back on the cantle.. that is the motion of the canter. Your hips need to follow that motion too.

But the difference is, you'll need to drive them forward, and when your horse has that moment of air, your hips will follow it as long as you keep your weight down in your legs and seat!

If you drive yourself forward with your hips, your legs and knees play a HUGE role in keeping balance. You need to stretch those knees down and put weight into that seat and those legs.

Remember all energy, at all gaits, needs to escape down your body and flow out of the soles of your feet. If you pinch with your knees, your body will curl and you'll lose a stirrup, feel unbalanced, and your horse will be further unbalanced. Also you need to put your weight to the outside. Not all of it, but more of it so you can better support the horse's shoulders from caving in and help them stay upright.

Also.. a huge thing that I forget to do is half halt before the canter to balance, and before you pick up a trot, to re-balance. Yesterday my horse and I tripped really badly (he landed on his nose.. basically a front end dive) because I forgot to half halt. The strength of the half halt in both seat and leg varies on what level the horse responds to. At first, I really had to half halt with some strength and eventually it got softer. But it only got softer because he responded quicker.

Again.. eyes up, chest open, roll those shoulders back (thanks everyone for pointing that out to me) and follow with your arms.

Good, luck.. have fun! :)
    01-09-2012, 12:50 PM
Had a great lesson today cantering. Body balanced and aligned, seat planted in saddle, hips relaxed, heals into the rhythm....and used legs to direct the horse. It was awesome. Trying to keep horse more collected so I have better control of speed but with calm gentle hands. There is so much to attend to at one time but it is coming along. I don't know if this sounds crazy but it feels kind of like a wave motion to me. Well anyways, my horse was appreciative of MY better understanding of cantering today and we both had a great lesson. Thanks all
    01-09-2012, 12:54 PM
Originally Posted by Patriciasdream    
I don't know if this sounds crazy but it feels kind of like a wave motion to me.
Haha yeah it does feel like waves :P

Glad you had a good lesson!
    01-09-2012, 09:41 PM
Patriciasdream, you are nailing the motion needed to follow a canter. I think a problem some people have is that they are a little self-conscious about moving their hips that much (when you are first learning it, it feels like hula dancing) but believe me, you will know when you get it right, and it doesn't look as absurd as it feels. Plus, your horse will thank you.
    01-10-2012, 09:19 AM
Nailing the rythym of cantering

I am not sure about the hula hoop me that sounds more circular. I guess in a sense I know what you mean but to me it feels more like a wave motion up down front back. I do know when you get it you know it. I think.... because I am far from an expert....that when it is right, it is a smoother ride for both rider and horse and yes MY horse was much appreciative of my getting it. I felt so badly before...because she was trying so hard to be patient with me but I just was not getting it. Yesterday she did the whole lesson without becoming flustered with me and we both had a good time. Now (lol) if I can just keep it going the right way. :)
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    01-10-2012, 06:28 PM
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
Okay, I have no idea why my unbalanced green horse and I have no problems cantering (on the lunge mind you.. maybe that's why!) but I find following the motion really easy and keeping my horse from speeding off too.
Yeah the day after I posted to you (the quote above), I had a very bad cantering lesson. And yeah it would be smoother for the horse and rider.. just gotta flow with it and be soft and relaxed lol

But now I know what you're talking about.. that was not smooth for my horse or myself which wound him up further.

I'm glad you had an awesome cantering lesson!


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