Canter transitions and high heels.
 
 

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Canter transitions and high heels.

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  • Canter aid is calf not heel

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  • 1 Post By boots
  • 1 Post By Foxhunter
  • 1 Post By QueenCheval

 
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    04-14-2014, 10:00 PM
  #1
Foal
Canter transitions and high heels.

Hi everyone! Spring's finally here and everyone at my stable is getting ready for schooling shows that we host. Our instructor is putting us to serious work, including lots and LOTS of cantering. I'm getting quite comfortable in the gait, and can ask for the transition and sit it pretty well. There are two major problems I see: Awful, awful transitions from trot to canter, and stirrups sliding up to my boot heels.
My instructor said that my heels are up so the stirrups flop around. That's one thing I'm trying to work on, and I hope will come as my legs get stronger so I don't depend on heels to jab them forward.
Then, the transitions. Rio is the only horse I have problems with, because he runs through the contact, and gets a super extended and bumpy trot. I lose balance, and contact, then have to start all over. What are your tips for getting a consistent, even canter right away?
Any help would be appreciated! Things to make my balance, contact, pressure etc. would help. I'm dying to show this summer, and have a goal to do the low jumpers in the fall. Thanks everyone!
     
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    04-15-2014, 10:13 AM
  #2
Green Broke
I believe you are correct in thinking that as your get stronger with this new position this will be less of a problem.

How we sit to ride best is pretty unnatural to everything else we do. If we sit on the edge of a kitchen chair with our feet drawn back under us, our heels are naturally drawn up because of both the ways our tendons and muscles are configured, and because we wear foot wear with heels (shortening the tendons over time).

Beginning riders often benefit from having shorter stirrups for a time. More strain at the joints gives our brains more input (proprioception). So, if you do get sore joints when achieving the new position, be happy. You are on your way to getting that great balanced seat. :)

You'll get it.
Corporal likes this.
     
    04-15-2014, 05:53 PM
  #3
Green Broke
1) Yep, curling up your leg will make your stirrups slide up, flop around, come off completely, etc. Try doing A LOT of work at the 2 point at all 3 gaits: focusing on relaxing your ankle, sinking into your heels, and lengthening your leg. I think you have to be careful in thinking "heels down" because it makes a lot of people push their heels which makes their leg shoot forward AND causes them to brace in their ankle instead of keeping it supple. Your heel is a shock absorber. Bracing your heel will actually make your more stiff and pop you out of the saddle more. The 2 point will also strengthen your position and solidify your body in the right places.

2) Sounds like your horse could also use a tune up. The canter transition should be like pushing a button. You press it, the canter happens. You don't want your horse to trot faster and faster until they just fall into the canter. First and foremost make sure the your horse is tuned up to your aids. He should respond right away when touch him lightly. If he doesn't, he needs to be taught to be in front of your legs and responsive before he can really do anything else. Then make sure your horse is very balanced and strong at the trot. Do you know how to do lateral work? That's the only way to get a horse truly strong and balanced. If you're hoping to do the jumpers, I'd start learning it asap if you don't already! Leg yielding particularly.

3) know the mechanics of the trot and canter. The footfalls of the canter are: outside hind, diagonal pair, inside front. The reason why it's so good to leg yield for this kind of thing is because you are telling the horse when to cross their inside hind over. What is the next footfall? The outside hind! Which is the first step of the canter! So you leg yield and ask for the canter, tada! If your horse is tuned up to your aids, balanced at the trot, able to do lateral work, the canter transition becomes a million times easier.
     
    04-21-2014, 09:38 AM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by upnover    
1)
2) Sounds like your horse could also use a tune up. The canter transition should be like pushing a button. You press it, the canter happens. You don't want your horse to trot faster and faster until they just fall into the canter. First and foremost make sure the your horse is tuned up to your aids. He should respond right away when touch him lightly. If he doesn't, he needs to be taught to be in front of your legs and responsive before he can really do anything else. Then make sure your horse is very balanced and strong at the trot. Do you know how to do lateral work? That's the only way to get a horse truly strong and balanced. If you're hoping to do the jumpers, I'd start learning it asap if you don't already! Leg yielding particularly.
He's very good on one lead, I think he's just badly one-sided. He goes fine on both, but has a hard time picking up one, I can't remember which. My last instructor had me doing bending lines, I think they were called. I used lots of leg to push my horse to the quarter line, then back in while trotting or walking. Is that considered lateral work? Also, he's a lesson horse used by the newbies. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a lot of kicking, pulling, and nervous riders. He's a real sweetheart, everyone loves riding him.
     
    04-21-2014, 05:44 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
You are obviously gripping up with your legs. When you get on and when you are riding place a hand under your thigh from behind and pulling the muscle to the back. This will put your thigh flat against the saddle, knee and toe forward and your lower leg against the horse's sides.

Practise doing a lot of sitting trot so that you can get deeper and more secure in the saddle. Take you reins in one hand and insert a finger under the front of the saddle and pull the saddle off the withers. This will help you with a sitting trot and feel how you are sitting and try to get the same feel when you let go with the finger.
boots likes this.
     
    04-23-2014, 05:33 PM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter    
You are obviously gripping up with your legs. When you get on and when you are riding place a hand under your thigh from behind and pulling the muscle to the back. This will put your thigh flat against the saddle, knee and toe forward and your lower leg against the horse's sides.

Practise doing a lot of sitting trot so that you can get deeper and more secure in the saddle. Take you reins in one hand and insert a finger under the front of the saddle and pull the saddle off the withers. This will help you with a sitting trot and feel how you are sitting and try to get the same feel when you let go with the finger.
I agree. I grip way too much because nearly all the lesson horses have more woah than go. I guess its better for beginners, but annoying once you can handle them well. And I shudder at the thought of sitting trot. Rio's a thoroughbred/warmblood, and Oh My God his trot is the worst thing to sit on ever. It will definitely be good practice though!
boots likes this.
     
    04-29-2014, 05:13 PM
  #7
Foal
It always helped me to think "my leg is longer than the stirrup leather". Can't deny that fact... it is! So ... why ... can't I get a good grip on my stirrup? This is when I realize I gripped w/ my knees at the canter. If you relax your leg and stretch it down the stirrup is there for you to take! (of course harder said than done when you start out). Of course - you still want to keep your leg on the horse - but I always focus any 'gripping' (bad word choice) on the bottom of my leg when thinking about that. "hugging the horse" with my lower calves. Forming a little "hinge" down there that keeps me on. :)

The more woah than go thing shouldn't make you grip more.. but you do need to figure out how to make them take you seriously (back up disobedience with a crop hit or spur bump). I ride a lesson horse whose THE laziest horse ever. But when I get this one trainer and follow exactly what he says, amazingly - this lazy horse suddenly respects me and moves when asked. I still haven't mastered his wizardry in other trainers sessions... but the general gist of it is "I shouldn't work hard. If he's not listening or ignoring me, he gets a punishment." 5 minutes of that - and suddenly no punishment is needed, he just respects me. It's really quite an amazing transformation.

That extended trot stuff - I would just halt, tap of the crop near my outside heel & ask again. We can't win when we are bouncing all over the place and it just makes us frustrated. If he does it twice in a row, the halt an crop tap get hard.

Disclaimer: all easier said than done...
     

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