Bouncing Around at Canter (or other pace?) - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 7 Old 06-19-2011, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 257
• Horses: 0
Bouncing Around at Canter (or other pace?)

Now I've cantered many times before, athough I am still rusty I cantered in lessons just fine, but man, when my lease horse canters, I feel like I'm going to fly right off of her.

It felt like when she was cantering her hooves were falling at a different pace then I'm used to and she was charging forward not in an even pace but like really pulling forward with her front hooves - almost as if they were hitting the ground in front of her very heavily. It also sounded different then usual when her hooves hit the ground.

I tried gripping with my legs and bum as much as I could but like I said, I am rusty, so I was next to flying out of the seat every time her front half hit the ground. It felt like I was riding on a missile!

Now I don't know much about paces, but did we gallop, or does my horse just have the wildest canter I've ever ridden? I've never galloped before so if you think it is a gallop, do you have any tips for body positioning? If it's just a silly canter, what are some steps I can take to correct her? My horse seems to have only 3 paces: slow, sad walk, super-fast trot and whatever the heck I just rode - no in betweens!

cfralic is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 7 Old 06-19-2011, 09:09 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
Your mare is cantering heavily on her forehand, which makes for a terribly uncomfortable ride for both horse and rider. Being on the forehand means that she is essentially in 'front wheel drive' rather than 'real wheel drive'. We want a horse to be in rear wheel drive, because this allows the horse to be far more balanced, carrying more weight on the it's hind legs. Thus your 'steering' becomes easier as the shoulders are lighter, and the canter becomes more uphill, allowing you to sit far more easily.

Basically you are being a passenger in your riding rather than a driver. I'm assuming the horses youve cantered previously were school horses, which are generally in autopilot mode and maintain a steady, relatively balanced canter for a beginner to learn on. Your lease horse is probably not so well educated as a school horse, and as a result you are struggling to be the 'boss' when in the saddle.
You are doing yourself a disfavour by gripping with your legs and bum. As soon as your bum tightens, you're guaranteed to fly out the saddle. It's physically impossible to follow the canter motion with a tight bum and gripping knees/thighs.

I suggest you have a few more lessons on school horses, on the lunge, with no stirrups and reins, and preferably with your eyes closed. Sounds scary, but it will give you a really good feel of how your body should be moving to stay with the horse's motion, and also help you to start developing some skills to become the driver. By gripping yourself, you are just putting your horse further off balance, so she will go further onto the forehand, which will make you grip even more. It's not the horse's job to balance, thats YOUR job.

When she goes to rush in canter, take a big breath in, and slowly let it out through your nose. Just relax, go floppy. Allow your body to be taken with the canter motion. When you can relax, allow your legs to just hang, THEN you can start taking control. Hold your core muscles and feel that if you brace them slightly, your horse will slow down a little. This is the start of becoming a driver, learning to use your seat to control the horse.

As I said above, you can only control the horse when you have balance yourself, so take some more lessons on the lunge, and get a really good feel of how to sit into the canter and drive it, rather than just perching on top and hoping for the best.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

Kayty is offline  
post #3 of 7 Old 06-19-2011, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 257
• Horses: 0
Good advice, Kayty. I have not only ridden lesson horses - I had a horse of my own but it was yeaaaars ago. I am just coming back into riding and I know that it isn't the horses' job to make my position correct, but I am having trouble remembering how to move my body like I used to. It can be very frustrating, haha. I think taking lessons will definitely be on my itinerary, but any tips on how I can work on it myself are definitely better because lessons aren't very affordable where I live (we chose leasing over lessons).

Perhaps I could get my riding partner to lunge us instead? Would that be totally rediculous and unsafe?
cfralic is offline  
post #4 of 7 Old 06-19-2011, 11:32 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
What's she like to lunge? I would not lunge you on a horse unless it is VERY good on the lunge and totally reliable. The point of lunging the rider is so that you can concentrate on you, rather than what the horse is doing, so the last thing you want is a horse that is going to take off on you when you've got no reins or stirrups.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

Kayty is offline  
post #5 of 7 Old 06-19-2011, 11:51 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 41,058
• Horses: 2
just to say that I doubt the gait you described was a gallop. Usually a gallop is actually easier to sit in many cases, as the horse tends to kind of flatten out and just have their legs move under them; no rocking horse feeling.

As you get better it will get easier. Also, if your horse hasn't been carrying a rider much lately she may be unbalanced at the canter iwth a rider up. That, too, will get better as she becomes more in shape and more balanced.

Just to give you hope!
tinyliny is offline  
post #6 of 7 Old 06-23-2011, 08:09 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 38
• Horses: 0
Yeah i was very much like that when i first started riding. All you need is a bit of practice. And when you are cantering try to get your horse on the correct leading leg, some times it helps. And when i canter i normaly sit to the canter by, well, moving my hips, sort of like rocking them back and forth as the horse rocks back back and forth. Try doing this without reins or stirrups or even a saddle at lunge.

hope i was helpful

When we ride we borrow strength, courage and power
Dusty and Olivia is offline  
post #7 of 7 Old 07-20-2011, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 257
• Horses: 0
Just in case anyone's interested, I figured out the problem. It's so silly and really shows how rusty I am - I was bouncing around because I lacked flexion in my knees. Sounds simple enough but it took me awhile. The past few times I was riding with extra-short stirrups because I adjusted them incorrectly, and my knees were getting seriously sore... That's when I thought, hey, maybe if I lengthen the stirrups it'll help my leg position?? And voila... No more discomfort and loosey goosey knees. Haha.
cfralic is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bouncing out of saddle in canter. JamieLeighx Horse Riding 17 05-11-2011 03:04 PM
Stepping Pace vs. Pace Vs. Rack vivache Gaited Horses 1 08-30-2010 09:13 AM
Bouncing in canter ILuv2ride Horse Riding 19 05-03-2008 10:16 AM
bouncing at the canter blossom856 Horse Talk 6 12-12-2007 08:00 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome