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getting more comfortable with cantering?

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  • How to feel more secure when cantering

 
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    05-12-2010, 01:59 PM
  #11
Trained
Lots of circles! I learned to canter on Jester and he's INSANE to canter. He's so rough to ride as it is, and the canter made me bounce around in the saddle. I just cantered tons of circles in the arena, then figure eights, and eventually I could do everything at a canter. If Lacey neck reins, go ahead and hold onto the horn if you're not comfortable.
     
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    05-12-2010, 11:37 PM
  #12
Banned
Hi Wallaby

Hey, if I can add a little to all the good advise...

I just want to suggest something along the lines of getting into the spirit or FEEL of it more. Your body language says it all and your horse senses it. You need to become one with your horse and feel your way into the faster gaits. You looked okay to me...TECHNNECALLY...but you looked kind of...what's the word?.... separate or....ahhh DETACHED...that's the word.

You need to mean it....your horse needs to know you mean it. So, ease your way into it, but FEEL it...ENJOY it. Your horse needs to feel your body language...and he is!

Out on the trails can feel better, because the inspiration is usually there more for the horse and you. In the arena it can feel too forced or technical and purposeless...for you and the horse. But even in the arena you need to commit to it. Don't worry about little hills or dips. Your horse is waiting for you to take charge.

I felt to share this because you mentioned "fear"...and there's nothing that overcomes fear more than just plain loving what you're doing. So you need to relax into it. Commit to it. Keep your horse going a good distance.

It's like your horse is saying, "okay, let's do this!" But he's feeling your apprehension. Try to feel a break through and a determination before you even ride. SEE yourself doing this! Picture yourself cantering with your horse. He's waiting for you. Sink down deep into your seat and become one with your horse.
     
    05-13-2010, 02:12 AM
  #13
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by SorrelHorse    
Lots of circles! I learned to canter on Jester and he's INSANE to canter. He's so rough to ride as it is, and the canter made me bounce around in the saddle. I just cantered tons of circles in the arena, then figure eights, and eventually I could do everything at a canter. If Lacey neck reins, go ahead and hold onto the horn if you're not comfortable.
I will definitely give circles a try too! I'm going out to ride tomorrow and I'll see how many of these suggestions I can put into practice! She does not neck rein well at the canter yet. I really need to do more trotting neck reining work before I expect her to be 100% at the canter. She will neck rein at the canter but not all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RawhideKid    
Hey, if I can add a little to all the good advise...

I just want to suggest something along the lines of getting into the spirit or FEEL of it more. Your body language says it all and your horse senses it. You need to become one with your horse and feel your way into the faster gaits. You looked okay to me...TECHNNECALLY...but you looked kind of...what's the word?.... separate or....ahhh DETACHED...that's the word.

You need to mean it....your horse needs to know you mean it. So, ease your way into it, but FEEL it...ENJOY it. Your horse needs to feel your body language...and he is!

Out on the trails can feel better, because the inspiration is usually there more for the horse and you. In the arena it can feel too forced or technical and purposeless...for you and the horse. But even in the arena you need to commit to it. Don't worry about little hills or dips. Your horse is waiting for you to take charge.

I felt to share this because you mentioned "fear"...and there's nothing that overcomes fear more than just plain loving what you're doing. So you need to relax into it. Commit to it. Keep your horse going a good distance.

It's like your horse is saying, "okay, let's do this!" But he's feeling your apprehension. Try to feel a break through and a determination before you even ride. SEE yourself doing this! Picture yourself cantering with your horse. He's waiting for you. Sink down deep into your seat and become one with your horse.

Wow! I think you really hit the nail on the head with that one. I do feel detached, maybe that's what freaks me out! I'm so used to feeling like we're one when we're walking and usually when we're trotting but once we get to cantering, .
I'll definitely try to push her tomorrow. I know I can, I just need to commit to it. I know she's used to me not committing and I'm absolutely sure she's taking advantage of that since when we go out on trail and I do push her, she acts all shocked and tries to stop before I tell her to.
Thank you for taking the time to write that post, I think it was really just what I needed to hear. :)

I will report back tomorrow, hopefully with news of a brilliant ride!
     
    05-13-2010, 02:27 AM
  #14
Banned
You're welcome...

But don't expect an overnight miracle. Not that I don't believe in miracles ....BUT we're talking a relationship of feel, trust and expectation between the two of you. So let it develope. It starts on the ground...just as you talk and get to know each other. I'm sure you know that.

I look forward to the good reports!
     
    05-13-2010, 02:58 AM
  #15
Started
When I first learnt to ride (i got stuck with no lessons and had to do it myself on a bolting thoroughbred) (i ride english btw) I would set up a big circle fence with standards and a reel so I didnt have to steer. I cantered in two-point though (my horse has VEERY unco canter I was told not long ago)
So I would canter round and round in circles with my legs on the girth and standing up in the saddle, and breathing to let my body loosen up.
I've only been riding for two years though lol and my main thing was to actually be able to stop bubbles when she bolted (very often) and without falling off.
     
    05-13-2010, 07:19 PM
  #16
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
Pick up a canter, give her as much rein as you are comfortable with, and then move your body! Roll your shoulders in little circles. Look with your upper body left and right. Roll your ankles in circles. Sit up super straight, then cme forward, and then come back. Rise up into two point for a few strides, then back down to a full seat. Basically, it is very hard to be tense when you are focussing on moving your body. Let the stress roll out of you through moving, and when you feel more settled, sit back, still, and enjpy the canter. If you start to tense up again, do it again. If you are feeling insecure and don't want to let go of the horn, then do movements one side at a time - one shoulder, pinwheel one arm, roll one ankle, and then swap.

If that doesn't work, or doesn't sound like something you want to try, then my next suggeston is to SING!!! Pick a song that goes roughly with her canter stride and one you know enough of to sing a verse or two instead of only one line. Sing loud, sing proud :) Singing is an awesome way to relax your stomach and lower back, it takes your mind of being nervous, and if it is the right song, ti will help you stick with her rythym and may even help her regulate her own rythym. If you google 'songs that go with canter' then you should find some songs that suit the rythym. Don't worry about looking/sounding like a ninny, either! Sam and I tend to start to sing when we get over-tired on trails, we have been known to canter holding hands singing twinkle twinkle little star :)
These are some really good ideas. Singing is absolutely GREAT as a relaxer, you won't believe it. Another thing you can do, which I learned from a Mark Rashid clinic, is to take deep relaxing breaths (I call it yoga breathing) in and out at each gait, counting how many of the horse's steps you can exhale to and how many you can inhale to. Practice this at the walk and trot first or it will be too hard at the canter. Breathe innnnnnn walk walk walk walk ouuuuuttttt walk walk walk walk, like that.

You really need an instructor -- not because I think you're such a bad rider, you're not, but it would really help with focusing on the exact things to get you ahead of your nervousness. Isn't there some way you can get some instruction? Lunge line work would really help you.

The first thing I see in your videos is a weak lower leg. Practice doing two-point at all the gaits. Also, your horse looks like she's breaking without your permission. Tell yourself that next time she breaks at the canter, you WILL ask her again right away, no matter how floppy you feel. Hang onto the mane or saddle or whatever you have to, but make that leg work. Also, look where you're going! If you keep your eyes up and turn your head and torso slightly in the direction you want to go, it will help balance both you and your horse.

Oh, and buy Sally Swift's Centered Riding book and/or DVD.

Good luck--you're not terrified, you're just nervous, and that's really pretty normal. Learning how to be a better rider will help you overcome it.
     
    05-13-2010, 08:42 PM
  #17
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rule of Reason    
These are some really good ideas. Singing is absolutely GREAT as a relaxer, you won't believe it. Another thing you can do, which I learned from a Mark Rashid clinic, is to take deep relaxing breaths (I call it yoga breathing) in and out at each gait, counting how many of the horse's steps you can exhale to and how many you can inhale to. Practice this at the walk and trot first or it will be too hard at the canter. Breathe innnnnnn walk walk walk walk ouuuuuttttt walk walk walk walk, like that.

That's a good idea! I'll give it a try!

You really need an instructor -- not because I think you're such a bad rider, you're not, but it would really help with focusing on the exact things to get you ahead of your nervousness. Isn't there some way you can get some instruction? Lunge line work would really help you.

I wish I could get some instruction too! I completely agree that I need it. However, my old riding instructor, I've basically passed what she can teach me and I'm really not sure where to go to find more/better instruction. I took lessons (kinda, it was a class for school so I wasn't using Lacey) over the winter from a pretty famous AQHA judge/trainer, but he was always rather inappropriate to me so I'm not too keen on seeing if he would come out and instruct me with Lacey.There really aren't all that many instructors around here, I've considered putting an ad on Craigslist, but I'm kinda worried about what might come out of that. Haha However, I just had an idea of putting an ad in my church's classifieds since my church is kinda out in the boonies and I know there is atleast one certified instructor that goes there, maybe I can find someone that way. :)

The first thing I see in your videos is a weak lower leg. Practice doing two-point at all the gaits. Also, your horse looks like she's breaking without your permission. Tell yourself that next time she breaks at the canter, you WILL ask her again right away, no matter how floppy you feel. Hang onto the mane or saddle or whatever you have to, but make that leg work. Also, look where you're going! If you keep your eyes up and turn your head and torso slightly in the direction you want to go, it will help balance both you and your horse.

I'll give that a try! I distinctly know that's probably one of my biggest issues but no one has ever told me what to do to fix it. Thanks!

Oh, and buy Sally Swift's Centered Riding book and/or DVD.

Good luck--you're not terrified, you're just nervous, and that's really pretty normal. Learning how to be a better rider will help you overcome it.

I actually have read all of Sally Swift's books, but I've had difficulty figuring out how to implement her ideas. There are a few things that I learned from them that I try to use (and have been a big help to me) but most of them are lost on me. :/

Thanks!

Good news! I rode Lacey today and I really pushed her. It wasn't hard since she was feeling dang good so she didn't want to stop if her life depended on it. Good poneh! We cantered at least 5 circuits of the arena each time and it actually worked out. We got through the corners just fine and we didn't get worried about the little hill thingy. My proudest part of the entire time was when we were going to the right. There's one corner, the left short side corner going to the right, that scares the bejeebus out of me. Lacey always gets into cantering so much that she comes barreling down on that corner like a racecar, then leeeeeaaaaannnns into the corner, terrifying me that we're going to fall right over. Well, today, I got on that horse with the mentality that "We ARE going to do this" and we did. We got to that corner, I was scared and told her "easy", in hopes of getting her to trot since I'm a wimp, but you know what the good lady Lacey did? Did she trot? Oh no, she did not. She picked herself up, collected right up, and gently rearranged herself around the corner. No leaning, no terror, just her saying "And you were afraid of that? Silly!" After that, we'd get to that corner, I'd tell her "easy" and sit back a little and she kept doing it! Each time she'd get herself arranged in such a way that we got around that corner, no sweat!

She's so good! Also, she got the correct lead every time! None of this incorrect lead stuff like she sometimes does. Yay!

I still felt like we were disconnected, but I think that'll come. I just need to get more used to her canter and such, but there is potential there, I think, I hope.

Also, I didn't tell her stop even though I knew I looked horrible, all flopping around, leaning, etc. I let my pride go and just looked ridiculous.
     
    05-13-2010, 10:39 PM
  #18
Yearling
That's great! Good work, both of you! I hope that the canter will become your favorite gait.(As it is mine) I don't know how you feel about bareback, but I know that when I am learning something new I want to be able to feel what the horse is doing directly. That might be something to think about too. When I try a new horse for the first time like to go bareback if it is feasible since I get a better read on the way they move like that, which helps me feel more secure in the saddle since I can't feel well in the saddle. I have an idea of how they move so I know what is normal and what is not for the horse. It keeps me calm, I guess. Anyway, sorry if that doesn't make sense. :P Just out of curiosity, what does Lacey's canter feel like to you? As in, what type of motion is it. To me, Deja's is like a rocking chair. A very steady back and forth motion with only a bit of up and down. While my friend's horse, Zorro's canter is more like riding a see-saw. Not very much ground cover and alot of up and down motion. I find Deja's canter very easy to ride where as Zorro's canter made me tense since there was such a jolting motion to it.
     
    05-13-2010, 11:07 PM
  #19
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by grayshell38    
That's great! Good work, both of you! I hope that the canter will become your favorite gait.(As it is mine) I don't know how you feel about bareback, but I know that when I am learning something new I want to be able to feel what the horse is doing directly. That might be something to think about too. When I try a new horse for the first time like to go bareback if it is feasible since I get a better read on the way they move like that, which helps me feel more secure in the saddle since I can't feel well in the saddle. I have an idea of how they move so I know what is normal and what is not for the horse. It keeps me calm, I guess. Anyway, sorry if that doesn't make sense. :P Just out of curiosity, what does Lacey's canter feel like to you? As in, what type of motion is it. To me, Deja's is like a rocking chair. A very steady back and forth motion with only a bit of up and down. While my friend's horse, Zorro's canter is more like riding a see-saw. Not very much ground cover and alot of up and down motion. I find Deja's canter very easy to ride where as Zorro's canter made me tense since there was such a jolting motion to it.
Ditto! On the bareback practicing. I felt much better practicing the canter and lope on my 5 year old Gypsygirl bareback. The feel is so much more real, and you really have to move into each gait WITH the horse. Ease her into gear and ease her into a stopping or slowing down.

I like to even do this with just a rope halter so that we really get connected in our heads and bodies. It gets to where they KNOW what you want at the slightest cue. That is what I love the most. The relationship and connection. You don't wanna desensitize your horse, but get them more and more sensitive to your suggestions and cues. SOFT...I think they call it.

Anyway...nuff jawing. Meanwhile back at the ranch....big day of riding tomorrow! Gotta try some of this awesome stuff I bin readin from y'all.
     
    05-13-2010, 11:50 PM
  #20
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by grayshell38    
That's great! Good work, both of you! I hope that the canter will become your favorite gait.(As it is mine) I don't know how you feel about bareback, but I know that when I am learning something new I want to be able to feel what the horse is doing directly. That might be something to think about too. When I try a new horse for the first time like to go bareback if it is feasible since I get a better read on the way they move like that, which helps me feel more secure in the saddle since I can't feel well in the saddle. I have an idea of how they move so I know what is normal and what is not for the horse. It keeps me calm, I guess. Anyway, sorry if that doesn't make sense. :P Just out of curiosity, what does Lacey's canter feel like to you? As in, what type of motion is it. To me, Deja's is like a rocking chair. A very steady back and forth motion with only a bit of up and down. While my friend's horse, Zorro's canter is more like riding a see-saw. Not very much ground cover and alot of up and down motion. I find Deja's canter very easy to ride where as Zorro's canter made me tense since there was such a jolting motion to it.
I'm still kinda working up my courage to try and canter bareback. I'm not very comfortable with trotting bareback yet so I kinda feel like I should practice that more before trying the big "C" but I dunno. I think she'd probably be super fun to canter bareback seeing as how she's wide like a couch and has a back that's basically made for riding bareback, but I've just let my fears get the best of me. I might try it tomorrow since it's supposed to be hot out so I'm going to wear capris to school and I don't really want to tempt the saddle to chafe my legs. So, any riding I do will be bareback, I might just work up my courage, especially after how well we did today... Good idea! I betcha that once I actually canter bareback (since I've never done that, ever, before), cantering in a saddle will feel like a way smaller deal.

She has an interesting canter. It's kinda flat. Like she doesn't have a lot of suspension but she covers a lot of ground. It's not rocky or uncomfortable, it's just really flat feeling. When I can get her to slow down and work under herself more, she actually does have a nice rocking motion to it, nothing too big, not too small, just right. But, currently she doesn't have a bunch of elasticity within the gait and she doesn't know how to respond to my requests for her to change out of the yuckier canter to that nice canter. It's something I hope to get straightened out this summer, if possible. I think maybe the hardest part of her canter right now is the fact that it is generally so flat feeling, like there's no really obvious rhythm for me to cling to, which I desperately need.
If/when I try bareback, she might surprise me and whip out a really nice soft canter. She does that for me sometimes, like when we trot bareback, instead of leaping into a trot fit for the races like she does when I use a saddle, she just delicately steps into a nice jog. So, she might surprise me. She's really an excellent horse, I don't even really know.




I actually do do most of my riding in a rope halter with rings on the sides of the nose band for the reins to attach to. I totally agree with you, RawhideKid, about having to be inside each other's heads at a completely different level when you're riding in a rope halter. I used to ride with a bit every time I rode but for about the last 9 months I've done all my riding in a rope halter or in an "indian bosal," and let me tell you, we have SO much more finesse and delicacy in our communication now. It's really an amazing thing. She's so much lighter and more sensitive to my cues, definitely soft, it's crazy. In a good way.
Have fun with your day of riding tomorrow! :)
     

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