Need advice on cantering in a english saddle - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 16 Old 09-11-2011, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Need advice on cantering in a english saddle

Hi,

I started riding english- hunter/jumper last november meaning to learn to jump. I took 12 years off from riding and wanted to try something new. All my past experiance in riding was western where I learned to barrel, pole bend, and rope since I was 10. (this means leaning forward hold on to rein one handed and the horn or rope in the other)

I now have started riding and jump over x's. My issue that is making my growth slow is cantering.

I need some advice. Every time I transition to a canter my body leans forward and my legs go forwards. Since I don't canter often, in my once a week lesson, I need a mental and physical help. My teacher says I should use my western seat and lean back and sit. Which I have figured out.

My issue is when I start to lean back it feels unnatural and I feel off balance. So when we practice cantering into a jump I get nervous about sharp turns, not being in the right position in time to jump or I wont be able to avoid obstacles at this speed.

As you can tell I over think and I have gotten better but not my positioning. Can you suggest something I can work on so my lesson ends on a better note?

Last edited by maura; 09-11-2011 at 07:51 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-12-2011, 06:39 AM
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But you should lean forward when you jump, don't you?

What about the trot? Does it feel balanced? The reason I ask if your legs go forward I wonder if the saddle is balanced and/or fit you. I had similar problems with not fitting me saddle (but my legs were pushed forward on trot as well).

All I'd suggest is try to relax as much as you can in your hips and upper body before doing a transition into the canter, and then try to move with the horse.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

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post #3 of 16 Old 09-12-2011, 04:04 PM
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You can lean forward going over a jump, if you like, but if your horse stops suddenly you'll fly over the jump without him.
I suggest two things:
1) Buy a copy of "Hunter Seat Equitation", by George Morris. My teacher was great but he's still the master and he STILL rides and trains, though he's past 70 yo.
2) Ride that English saddle without stirrups. It's really a deep seat, even though it doesn't have a big swell with a ... horn. (Is there a reason you need that horn for pleasure riding?)
My teacher taught us to ride the canter by "dusting the back of the saddle with your fanny." (TODAY, they would probably call him "Peter File" and not let him near our daughters just for the comment, BUT he was right.)
When you ride the trot you have two options: sit the trot, even the extended, bouncy trot OR post the trot, every other stride. When you jump you are balanced just like in mid-post. It's called, "two-point". The idea is to get out of the horse's balance so he doesn't have to drag you over a jump, and to keep you from landing hard on his back and bounding off on the landing. Most people learn to jump by trotting poles on the ground, trotting over cavaletti, and trotting over cross poles to teach you to find the center of every jump, EVEN if you are jumping at an angle instead of crossing the obstacle at a perpendicular.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-12-2011, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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To help answer some questions for you both. I feel find at the trot, both sit and posting with and without stirrups. When you transition to a canter your body should be straight and centered not leaning forward or back. The school horse will not go into a canter if you lean forward and if you are posting they trot faster.

I have found if I tire out my legs doing no stirrup work I canter better. You should only lean forward at a two point right before the jump. I think having stirrup shorter causes issue and yes my confidence does done when I canter. The funny thing is I canter get after a jump its jump riding down the arena that I have this issue
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-12-2011, 10:10 PM
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I think I understand your question. Haha :)

When you canter, think about having your head tied to the roof - Sh. I learnt this when I was A LOT younger and it helped me to visualize keeping my upper body straight/back instead of tilting forwards. Try and sit deeper, chances are your being light through your 'butt muscles'. Really sit on them. Think - down, instead of light, fluffy clouds. Although you don't want to be slamming onto your horses back.

When you do canter, remember to drop your heels, you may be tensing through your lower leg and knee, making your leg pitch backwards and your upper body pitch forwards. Think - everything must be down. Also, another thing that may help you is - think of it this way. If someone took a horse out from under you and you were tilting forwards. What would happen?

You would fall forwards onto your face - um. Ouch?

Similarly, if you were too far backwards, if someone took the horse out from under you than you would land on your back. Where as if you were straight and had your - heel, hip and shoulders in line than you would land on your feet. This might be a little visual that helps you.

If you like, I may have some videos on my computer of me doing balance exercises on my horse at the canter, which I can upload for you? They were fun & I was bored..

Remember, you want to focus on going WITH the horses motion, leaning forwards too much - you become AHEAD of it. Leaning back to much, you become BEHIND it. You want to be in rhythm with the horses motion through your hips. Also, when you mention your body wanting to lean forward when doing turns in the canter, having attended a few sporting clinics, I learn that - it is better and safer to lean back. Your allowing the horse to move its body (mainly the hind) easier, without leaning forward - causing the center of balance to be broken. Just another little thought.

Cantering into jumps - think to yourself. Sit, wait, feel my 'butt muscles'' in the saddle. Wait for the jump to come to you, don't jump the jump before you get to it. It may put the horse in an awkward striding and if you sit back and wait for the correct time in the striding, you will actually enjoy jumping a whole lot more and feel a lot more confident over the actual jump.
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Last edited by ChingazMyBoy; 09-12-2011 at 10:14 PM.
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-12-2011, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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I will let you know is your advice works!

I will be sure to try this at my lesson on Saturday and keep you guys posted. This all does make sense and I will make sure to take your advice. I am a visual learner so if you would post the videos would be great. I could use some balance techniques. Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChingazMyBoy View Post
I think I understand your question. Haha :)

When you canter, think about having your head tied to the roof - Sh. I learnt this when I was A LOT younger and it helped me to visualize keeping my upper body straight/back instead of tilting forwards. Try and sit deeper, chances are your being light through your 'butt muscles'. Really sit on them. Think - down, instead of light, fluffy clouds. Although you don't want to be slamming onto your horses back.

When you do canter, remember to drop your heels, you may be tensing through your lower leg and knee, making your leg pitch backwards and your upper body pitch forwards. Think - everything must be down. Also, another thing that may help you is - think of it this way. If someone took a horse out from under you and you were tilting forwards. What would happen?

You would fall forwards onto your face - um. Ouch?

Similarly, if you were too far backwards, if someone took the horse out from under you than you would land on your back. Where as if you were straight and had your - heel, hip and shoulders in line than you would land on your feet. This might be a little visual that helps you.

If you like, I may have some videos on my computer of me doing balance exercises on my horse at the canter, which I can upload for you? They were fun & I was bored..

Remember, you want to focus on going WITH the horses motion, leaning forwards too much - you become AHEAD of it. Leaning back to much, you become BEHIND it. You want to be in rhythm with the horses motion through your hips. Also, when you mention your body wanting to lean forward when doing turns in the canter, having attended a few sporting clinics, I learn that - it is better and safer to lean back. Your allowing the horse to move its body (mainly the hind) easier, without leaning forward - causing the center of balance to be broken. Just another little thought.

Cantering into jumps - think to yourself. Sit, wait, feel my 'butt muscles'' in the saddle. Wait for the jump to come to you, don't jump the jump before you get to it. It may put the horse in an awkward striding and if you sit back and wait for the correct time in the striding, you will actually enjoy jumping a whole lot more and feel a lot more confident over the actual jump.
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-12-2011, 10:53 PM
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I will have to hunt for them - but I'll do my best.

Do you have some videos of you riding? Or even photos? It might help to offer some advice. If you don't feel comfortable posting them on the public forum - you can PM them to me if you like.

Maddie.

Sir Success. Eventer.
2000 - 2013,
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-13-2011, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Sure

First video I only have been riding for almost 2 months and haven't learn to jump yet. I don't ride this paint much this days he a brat sometimes!

The next was a video of me at my first show this last May I was only to trot in and out of each jump. I was so tense and nervous so I look pissed and unhappy which looks ridiculous now!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChingazMyBoy View Post
I will have to hunt for them - but I'll do my best.

Do you have some videos of you riding? Or even photos? It might help to offer some advice. If you don't feel comfortable posting them on the public forum - you can PM them to me if you like.

Maddie.
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-13-2011, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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updated

First video I only have been riding for almost 2 months and haven't learn to jump yet. I don't ride this paint much this days he a brat sometimes!

Had error coming soon

The next was a video of me at my first show this last May I was only to trot in and out of each jump. I was so tense and nervous so I look pissed and unhappy which looks ridiculous now!

<iframe width="420" height="345" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/6UHT_FOyYQQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trista View Post
First video I only have been riding for almost 2 months and haven't learn to jump yet. I don't ride this paint much this days he a brat sometimes!

The next was a video of me at my first show this last May I was only to trot in and out of each jump. I was so tense and nervous so I look pissed and unhappy which looks ridiculous now!

Last edited by Trista; 09-13-2011 at 01:05 AM.
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-13-2011, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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First video I only have been riding for almost 2 months and haven't learn to jump yet. I don't ride this paint much this days he a brat sometimes!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trista View Post
First video I only have been riding for almost 2 months and haven't learn to jump yet. I don't ride this paint much this days he a brat sometimes!

Had error coming soon

The next was a video of me at my first show this last May I was only to trot in and out of each jump. I was so tense and nervous so I look pissed and unhappy which looks ridiculous now!

<iframe width="420" height="345" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/6UHT_FOyYQQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

hs first jump round - YouTube
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