I have heard of so many people that are nervous in the canter, and it makes me so glad that I learned on a school horse with a canter that felt like a giant bird that you were flying on-even though I did fall off the first time >.< at no fault of the horse's-I didn't do the saddle up tight enough and slid right off. ANYhoo, would it be possible for you to get someone to lunge her while you canter? That way you can focus on everything else without having to worry about steering.
You're very lucky, except about that falling off incident! I think not tightening the saddle enough and then falling off/almost falling off probably happens to every rider at least once.
I'm usually completely alone at the barn. So most of the time there's nobody around that could lunge her for me while I ride. :(
Ouch, not fun!
I was more thinking of cantering along a trail, where you can keep it up for longer and just let Lacey kind of power along - But if the arena is where you are more confident for the moment, then definitely stick to there. I hate riding in dressage size/shape arena, it is impossible to get a good canter up and keep it. You need to find someone with a reining size arena (I use camodraft arenas, but similar, I think) where you can just pop them into a canter, and keep it going around the outside without needing to pick them up for corners, etc. Great for fitness and teaching them to self-rate.
I didn't even think about doing it on the trail! Haha I will give that a try the next time we go trail riding.
Yeah! That's the kind of arena I need! The camp arena is pretty big, I'm not really sure that it's a recognized size or anything, but the long side is about three times as long as the long side at "home" and the short side is about double. It's one of those perfect arenas where I can just hop on and keep her going without worrying about how she's going to take the corners. I'm excited.
Suppling up your abdominal muscles, lower back, and hip flexors will work wonders for your body. It's difficult to balance and work a horse when your muscles are tight and/or weak. There's a bunch of exercises you can do for these muscle groups all over the internet, so I don't need to link them here. Once you start to strengthen these muscles, particularly the hip flexors, you will be able to feel them when you ride and use them to fluently absorb and move with the horse. I don't know if this would work in a western saddle, but you can always do 2 point (stand up out of the saddle) if you aren't quite feeling right so she has the freedom to move forward without an unbalanced seat blocking her.
Thanks! I will look into those! I'm probably tight AND weak.
I do try to 2-point when we're out on the trail and we canter, but I've tried that in the arena and I just can't seem to keep my legs around her barrel to guide her through the corners and such. However, I have, for some reason, discovered in the last week that I can use my legs for aids AND post the trot at the same time (big break through for me, haha) so maybe I should try 2-pointing again, it might work out better than I'm anticipating.
Your videos remind me so much of my friend, although you look more relaxed than she did at that stage of riding. Anyway, you need to really work at keeping your horse cantering for multiple trips around the arena. My guess is that your legs are stiffening up and you are no longer pushing her through the corners so she breaks to a trot. You will get more and more comfortable at the canter if you can sit it and feel the motion for more that 10 strides. Each time you ride, try to make your horse canter for a longer period than the time before. She looks like she need a little more bit contact and more leg push for impulsion and that will also help her balance.
At least in the second video (I don't remember what was going on in the first video), I was telling her to stop cantering on that side. The other side of the arena is very uneven, there's a big ol' hill in the middle of the other side and if the ground is wet at all, that hill turns into a slippery mess after just a little bit of riding. That's what was happening the second time, the hill was really slippery and I didn't really want to see if we'd stay upright or not. Hahaha
I will give it a try though. I have kinda let myself not go over to that side since that hill still worries me, even though it's dry now. I need to trust her to know where her feet are. I'll also give having more contact a try. I really need to remind myself that I can use leg while I'm cantering and it really does work. For some reason, out on the trail I have zero issues with using my legs and cantering, but in the arena, it's one of those things I really struggle with.