Beginer... Sitting the canter - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-06-2014, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Beginer... Sitting the canter

I've been riding for about 7-9 months.. I'm not completely sure! I've had time off from being sick and missing riding on school breaks. But on a normal basis I ride twice a week weather permitting.
I started cantering on my 7-8 lesson because I was catching on to everything so quickly and had good balance. My instructor first taught me to canter in the two point though. A few months after that my instructor had me ride a different horse. Now that this horse is cantering very well (he's green to both cantering and jumping as he was first trained to race then the previous owners said he would never canter and never jump therefor they did neither with him) my instructor is trying to teach me to sit the canter. My instructor told me to grip with my thighs to sit the canter. But I've read somewhere that that's not what your supposed to do and even when I'm doing this I still seem to pop up about two inches off the saddle. I've tried lengthening my stirrups but that hasn't worked. I've even been put back on the beginners horse and told to use one hand to steer and the other to hold the back of the saddle and keep myself from popping up so I know what it feels like but nothing has helped. I've talked about trying to ride without stirrups but she won't let me on this horse because she doesn't trust him (she hasn't had him a year yet)
So does anyone know why this is happening or what I could do to help keep my dang backside in the saddle so I'm not banging the horses back? I don't want him to dislike cantering and possibly become ill tempered towards it because I can't sit it correctly and I would hate myself if I hurt his back from bouncing on it.
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-06-2014, 03:29 PM
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Well don't worry because it is not always the rider! Some horses are just naturally bumpy. If you sit and move with the horse it should be better but maybe practice cantering without horses...on a quieter horse at first if you're not comfortable with doing it on a green horse. Hope this helps :)
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post #3 of 7 Old 01-06-2014, 04:08 PM
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Gripping with thighs...you were taught differently to me. I was taught to relax my legs and sit deep in the saddle. I learnt on a very bouncy horse so I found it quite hard to sit at first. Just like when you're doing a sitting trot relax your legs, lean back and sit deep in the saddle, then all you have to do is practise, practise, practise. After some time youll be able to sit a canter perfectly well, all it takes is time and practise.

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post #4 of 7 Old 01-06-2014, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki312 View Post
I've been riding for about 7-9 months.. I'm not completely sure! I've had time off from being sick and missing riding on school breaks. But on a normal basis I ride twice a week weather permitting.
I started cantering on my 7-8 lesson because I was catching on to everything so quickly and had good balance. My instructor first taught me to canter in the two point though. A few months after that my instructor had me ride a different horse. Now that this horse is cantering very well (he's green to both cantering and jumping as he was first trained to race then the previous owners said he would never canter and never jump therefor they did neither with him) my instructor is trying to teach me to sit the canter. My instructor told me to grip with my thighs to sit the canter. But I've read somewhere that that's not what your supposed to do and even when I'm doing this I still seem to pop up about two inches off the saddle. I've tried lengthening my stirrups but that hasn't worked. I've even been put back on the beginners horse and told to use one hand to steer and the other to hold the back of the saddle and keep myself from popping up so I know what it feels like but nothing has helped. I've talked about trying to ride without stirrups but she won't let me on this horse because she doesn't trust him (she hasn't had him a year yet)
So does anyone know why this is happening or what I could do to help keep my dang backside in the saddle so I'm not banging the horses back? I don't want him to dislike cantering and possibly become ill tempered towards it because I can't sit it correctly and I would hate myself if I hurt his back from bouncing on it.
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When I first learned how to canter I had the same problems. Then my trainer told me to rock in the saddle as if I were on one of those old wooden rocking horses. You need to relax more in the saddle and move with it. If you're too stiff you'll become unseated with the horses rhythm. That's why you're getting your backside up. Your trainer is right with gripping with your thighs, but don't use that as a crutch. Some horses are very sensitive to leg pressure and it could cause them to go faster. Try watching a few dressage videos on how the rider moves at the canter. Cantering isn't all about your legs, it's about your body balance and how strong your midsection is. My trainer use to say strong riders have strong butts and tummies.
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-06-2014, 05:26 PM
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Here is my favorite video on cantering. It is western, but the horse moves the same regardless:


What worked well for me was to go from a half-seat to a 5/8 seat to a 3/4 seat to a 7/8 seat...just settle in once you feel the rhythm, and only as far as you can sink without bouncing.

It does vary from horse to horse. Our little mustang has a trot that turns kidneys into applesauce, but his canter is smooth as glass. My Arabian mare has a jog that is just plain fun to sit, but her canter...well, lets just say it is NOT as smooth as glass! Not bad, but you won't be rolling any cigarettes while she canters!

"People can teach us the rules, but only horses can teach us the art of riding."
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-06-2014, 05:48 PM
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I had a hard time learning to sit the canter on a rather bouncy horse too. When my mare who I was also doing lessons with finally got to a point where I could canter her, it was fun because she had a short and rather smooth stride. Not a typical QH lol! Her trot was easy to sit so posting was harder to learn on her. I think the swinging motion that Craig Cameron and Julie Goodnight talk about is what helped me along. Once I relaxed more in my body I was able to sit easier and go with it. My 4 yo Mustang gelding is harder. His trot is very bouncy so I'm still trying to learn to sit his but his canter is much better. Though we have only done it a couple times as I'm working with him and he's a bit green too.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-07-2014, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trigger1323 View Post
Well don't worry because it is not always the rider! Some horses are just naturally bumpy. If you sit and move with the horse it should be better but maybe practice cantering without horses...on a quieter horse at first if you're not comfortable with doing it on a green horse. Hope this helps :)
Yes but it even happened when I was on the beginners horse. My instructor says he has one of the smoothest canters she's ever ridden so it's definitely me. And I'm perfectly fine with this particular green horse. My riding buddy has been riding for years and tried to get on him and she says he was a complete monster to her! He also kinda ignores aids from anyone else who's been on him. With me he's just the biggest sweetheart ever. Wouldn't think it's the same horse. The only close call I've ever gotten with him was when my outside stirrup leather broke going threw a corner. He slowed to a complete stop from a canter in less than half the length of the arena and we don't have a very big arena. Lots of carrots showed their face after that lesson!
I'll defiantly try moving with the horse more. I just looked over a few of my videos and I do seem to be just sitting there and bracing my lower back against the banging instead of moving with him. Thanks for advice I'll try it out today if it's warmed up enough to ride. Only bad part of living in a place where it doesn't ever snow is the horses aren't quite prepared for the rare moments when it is below freezing.
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