Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
I am the last person to ask advice from about cantering in an English saddle, so I won't embarrass myself by trying. However, I noticed this in your post:
"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."
I took up riding at 50, after 40 years of jogging. The theory of riding seems pretty easy, but getting my body to cooperate is a different story. Jogging tightened everything that needs to be loose when riding.
After 12 years, you are riding with a mind that is experienced, but a body that has changed. You may have tension in your body that you are not aware of, but that hurts your riding.
Another possibility: Having been hurt during a double bolt riding English, I find I ride an English saddle defensively - feet forward to brace, and my shoulders follow. Of course, my conscious mind knows that is stupid, but my subconscious is, apparently, stupid.
In an Australian saddle, I relax more & ride better. Coming from a western background, it may be your mind is uncomfortable with having so little in front of you, and it is trying to protect you by subconsciously moving your feet forward. If so, it may just take more hours of riding on the flat to reprogram your mind so you can truly relax the way a good rider does.