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getting more comfortable with cantering?

This is a discussion on getting more comfortable with cantering? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

     
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        05-13-2010, 11:54 PM
      #21
    Banned
    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! :)

    Thanks. Yes, my next big present to myself ($$$$$) is going to be a real nice Bosal. I can't wait!!!! I love the look of it...and the idea of such finesse and class! I've never used one yet.
         
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        05-14-2010, 09:25 AM
      #22
    Foal
    With a horse that's comfortable bareback and has flat gaits, you probably will do all right cantering bareback. BUT don't try it just because people here are suggesting it, especially since you're nervous. Honestly, if I were your instructor I wouldn't ask you to canter bareback right now because I'd like to see your seat a little more stable. However, you seem smart, you wear a helmet, so if you really want to, try it. Start out by trotting first. Push her to a more extended trot. When you can do that without bouncing all over the place, quietly ask for the canter. Probably the hardest part will be the canter-trot transition. So be thinking ahead to this and lean way back and sit deep as you go back down to the trot. It's natural to want to lean forward and fall onto her neck and grip with your knees, but do the opposite of all that! Sit up tall, grip with your lower legs, keep your elbows bent, and breathe out.

    If you don't feel you're really ready to canter bareback, no biggie. Work on your position in the saddle -- the position should be the same either way. And congratulations for your good work so far!
         
        05-14-2010, 10:13 AM
      #23
    Banned
    "So be thinking ahead to this and lean way back and sit deep as you go back down to the trot. It's natural to want to lean forward and fall onto her neck and grip with your knees, but do the opposite of all that! Sit up tall, grip with your lower legs, keep your elbows bent, and breathe out."

    I can certainly identify with this, and agree. With both my horses, when I went to first ride them bareback...each one of them when I was up to a trot and pushing forward to a lope...did the ole 'come to a fairly sudden stop, put the head WAAAAY down' and off I finally rolled after trying to stay on as long as possible! Then of course they stand there laughing at you.

    With Gypsygirl, my young horse, when I was up to a lope and wanting to slow down...I tried to introduce the slow down too quickly...while I was not "leaning back...sitting deep" and preparing for it. So, I learned first hand what RoR is saying. I purposefully took Gypsygirl to a large field...bareback...and got to loping while sitting deep, my legs forward a bit, toes out, calves a little dug in...a little like a bronk rider...and when wanting to slow down or stop...eased into it and was prepared. Riding bareback was grear for this, for my balance, strength and confidence, and for OUR relationship...connection.

    Sometimes a good horse will teach you how to ride if you are ready, willing and genuinely looking for the answer.

    Grasshopper tried this with me one more time recently. I was pushing her into a gallop one time when I was riding her bareback and she decided to have a laugh...well, this time I stayed on because I was leaning back and sitting deep.
         
        05-14-2010, 10:38 AM
      #24
    Teen Forum Moderator
    I think what I'm going to do is ask her to get into it from a walk (if I build up my courage enough) because her trot is horrible. It's not just that I have a hard time sitting her trot, basically there's no one that's ever ridden her that can sit her trot. She makes all the other horses I've ever ridden (and I work at a camp that gets new horses every year, so I've ridden quite a few horses) feel smooth. It's pathetic. Lol However, I've taught her how to jog which is slightly easier to sit and she goes into pretty reliably so I can "jog" her bareback, just no trotting bareback. Haha

    I may just decide to work on jogging bareback, but who knows, I might suck it up and give it a try. It kinda depends on her attitude, if she's super worked up about nothing then I probably won't, but if she's just happy then I might give it a try. I will definitely wear my helmet! :)
         
        05-16-2010, 01:12 PM
      #25
    Teen Forum Moderator
    I thought I'd just update. :)

    I didn't end up cantering bareback on Friday but we did do a bunch of trotting bareback. I was pretty proud of myself, she wasn't even jogging, she was full out trotting and I was feeling pretty comfortable! It was totally cool how I could really feel each of her legs doing their thing once I relaxed and "felt" it. I've trot-ed bareback on other horses but I've never been able to feel the exact second each leg touched the ground. It was really sweet. I kept getting out of sync with her though and I discovered that I was leaning forward. When I stopped leaning forward, I was fine!
    I think I'm going to work on trotting bareback until I can effectively steer her, since I'm doing that freezing up thing at the trot to a lesser extent, and then I'll progress to cantering when I feel comfortable.

    She's such an excellent horse. I don't even know. She's such a little powerhouse but she also knows when to let that show and when to keep it under wraps. And, I'm pretty sure she knows me better than I know myself. I mean, what kind of horse goes slowly when she feels you need it, without instruction, and then progressively starts going faster when you can handle but are too afraid to tell her? All the while keeping her neck turned a little so she can see you and an ear flicked towards you so she can hear you, and then slows down as soon as you get out of balance. Seriously, what kind of horse does that? Haha

    I get the feeling that I might be doing a whole lot of bareback riding this summer, her trot is SO much more comfy without a saddle. :P
         
        05-16-2010, 04:12 PM
      #26
    Yearling
    Yay! So you understand about feeling exactly what the horse is doing/going to do? That is why I am much more confident and secure bareback. I feel like I'm sitting on a mechanical bull when I ride in a saddle. As in, you can't feel what it is going to do till it's doing it. Keep us updated with your progress. And once you're feeling up to it, we always like seeing videos of the pretty Lacey girl. ;)
         
        05-16-2010, 08:30 PM
      #27
    Teen Forum Moderator
    Yeah, I think I do get it now! I always thought I had a pretty good feel for how a horse is moving under me, and I can generally feel exactly what they're going to do before they do it, but Friday was a total break through point. I've read books that said stuff about how it was important to be able to feel exactly when each leg touches down and that sort of thing, and I always thought that the people who could do that were ridiculously talented or something, but I guess not!

    Hopefully this summer I'll be able to get more videos since I'll be riding around other people all the time, and I will probably be able to force one of them to take a video of me riding (that's why I have assistants, right? It has nothing to do with keeping track of the horses/kids, what do you mean I'm supposed to be looking out for them? Hahaha). Maybe that's something I'll do on a regular basis at camp! Oh man! That's such a good idea! My flunkies/assistants haven't ridden very much at all and I've been so helped by seeing videos of myself on a semi-regular basis, maybe I'll see if they want to do that for themselves too! Oh man, I am a genius! Haha

    I enjoy seeing videos of Lacey too! She's so funny when I'm riding her, so different from how she looks on the ground. It's like she has an air of pride about her that's just not there when no one is on her back... For instance, how high she ALWAYS carries her tail when she's being ridden. Hilarious! Heeheehee
         
        05-19-2010, 05:16 PM
      #28
    Showing
    I haven't read the response though I'm sure this will have been posted.

    Do you have access to an older, more experienced horse? Sometimes starting up on a horse who's done it all and will be forgiving of your riding makes for the best riding, learning experience. It will give you a chance to build up your confidence.
    Another option is lunging. Do you have someone who can help you by keep you on the lunge line? Another great way to practice your position and focus on your riding all while the horse is cantering.
         
        05-19-2010, 09:13 PM
      #29
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Do you have access to an older, more experienced horse?
    Older than Lacey?!
    A A
    =(O.O)=
         
        05-19-2010, 11:12 PM
      #30
    Teen Forum Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by My2Geldings    
    I haven't read the response though I'm sure this will have been posted.

    Do you have access to an older, more experienced horse? Sometimes starting up on a horse who's done it all and will be forgiving of your riding makes for the best riding, learning experience. It will give you a chance to build up your confidence.
    Another option is lunging. Do you have someone who can help you by keep you on the lunge line? Another great way to practice your position and focus on your riding all while the horse is cantering.
    Sadly, Lacey is the most solid of any of the horses I have access to. There's only one horse that could have handled it but he's 34 now and in complete retirement except for pony rides with very small children. I actually rode my first truly solidly broke, experienced horse a few months ago, and my, was it a beautiful thing! I totally know what you're saying. Maybe this summer, at camp, there will be a good horse that I can just get into gear and figure myself out. *crosses fingers*

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by grayshell38    
    Older than Lacey?!
    A A
    =(O.O)=
    ROFL!!! I thought the exact same thing.


    On the update side of things: I've only cantered in two "sessions" since my last update (I've been focusing more on trotting bareback because I have a feeling that once I get that, cantering might come easier) but both times I've just gone with it. I've tried to forget my fear of her tripping/whatever and just gone. And it's been working well! She hasn't tripped or anything which is building my trust more and more that she won't trip and she hasn't tried falling out! I've been working on rating her around corners and she's doing fantastically with that. Somehow she just does it, she just needs me to remind her to do it. I think it helps that she's really fit and energetic right now so she WANTS to canter, she doesn't want to trot, so I'm getting more out of her because she doesn't want to break gait.
    Actually last time, I'm extremely proud of myself for this, btw, she picked up the wrong lead going to the left and I was about to just have her just trot until we got around to my "take off point" but then, I remembered this thread (it's a good sign that I was thinking while cantering too, that usually stops, lol!) and I remembered what someone had said about just keep trying until we get it, forget about the ground that scares me, just do it. So, I just did it. I kept asking her to canter, she kept taking the wrong lead (totally my fault, I'm so trained to ask with my outside leg for what lead I want and I keep forgetting that she's the opposite, inside leg for the lead I want) and I kept bringing her down and asking again. Finally, I realized what I was doing, fixed myself, and she took the correct lead without a problem and we cantered around the entire arena, TWICE, before stopped for the day. I didn't let my worries get ahead of me and I just trusted us. I probably didn't look super awesome but I was doing it and that's what counts!
         

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