Help! I fly off the saddle during a canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-02-2014, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Help! I fly off the saddle during a canter

Hi, I have a new problem now..

First, we worked on the basics like not getting a horse to throw me off when I am just trying to make it work. Then we talked about steering.

Now I have a problem with my cantering.

In the past, I could sit quite well and firmly in the saddle during a canter. Even if I tend not to be able to sustain a canter because I would panic whenever the horse picks up speed and I would jerk the reins, causing the horse to slow down to a trot.

However, after taking a break for six months, I am no longer able to stay in my saddle. I would be flying off and bouncing up and down. I am not sure if it's my horse's saddle because I am now riding a pony while I was previously riding horses.

My instructor thinks this pony has a sweet temperament and is right for me as I am trying to build confidence. However, she has a pony saddle on and while I am quite light, I definitely don't have a child's butt. The stirrups are also a little short for me - we are down to the last hole. I am not sure if these affect my ability to sit deep but I think it's also the way I am sitting during a canter now. I am definitely no longer able to put any weight firmly into the saddle when the horse canters.

I am able to do the sitting trot very well. But once she takes off for a canter, I start bouncing off.. so much so that I am afraid I would fly off her, causing me to pull on the reins. Causing her to canter/trot/canter/trot and not sure what I want.

This horse, Pebbles, is a very sweet horse.. And I feel really bad about being such a bad rider.

What can I do to stay glued to my seat? Deepen my seat and straighten my back? I feel that my habit of overarching my lower back is impeding my ability to sit deeper as well.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 19 Old 04-02-2014, 12:11 PM
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Without a saddle properly fit for your size you are going to have problems as you can't sit or move correctly.
Pony gaits can be tricky to ride even with the right sized saddle.
You should go back to the horses with a saddle that fits you or try riding the pony bareback.
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-02-2014, 12:33 PM
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I would say it's one of two problems- the saddle doesn't work for you, or your seat is not stable enough to be cantering.

Particularly if your stirrups are too short, you may be popping yourself out of your too small saddle. Depending on how too short the stirrups are, I would be pretty surprised that a decent instructor would let you ride in ill fitting tack. A saddle being a little snug is one thing, but if the leathers are four holes too short then she should be swapping them out for something that fits.

The other potential problem? You need to work on your seat before cantering. Having lots of time off from riding and riding a horse with different gaits could have really thrown your seat off. Work on lots of no stirrups work, sitting trot, lunge lessons with no hands if possible. This will help you develop your seat and make riding the canter easier.
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-02-2014, 12:34 PM
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you probably will actually feel more secure if you drop the stirrups entirely when you canter. Or, get different leathers/irons to put on, ones that can be made longer.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-02-2014, 01:14 PM
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We always swap out the leathers and irons if a saddle has kids stirrups on them. I'm a smaller rider, and sometimes ride in the same saddle as my 10 and 11 year old daughters, but it is very easy to swap out the stirrups for a set that fit me.

As far as sitting the canter deeper, my trainer has said I sometimes collapse my shoulders too much, which inhibits the movement in my lower back, which is really key to properly sitting the canter. It is important not only to sit back, but also to lift your chest and put your shoulder blades together. This helps free up your lower back to move with the horse.
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-02-2014, 01:51 PM
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I too think you should try to go without the stirrups. If they are too short, you will lift yourself out of the saddle too easily. Or you are putting too much weight into the stirrups. Try without to see if it helps.

Another thing is that your body is too stiff and/or sitting forward. A stiff body can't move with the horse. Sitting forward causes your body to be off balanced and put more weight into the stirrups which is the same as they are too short. Try keeping your shoulders a little behind your hips. Also, concentrate on keeping your hips moving with the horse. Sitting back on your rear pockets helps too.
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-02-2014, 01:58 PM
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This video helped me:


... Energy is an admirable thing, but the energy of stupidity seldom avails much..." - On Seats and Saddles (1868), Francis Dwyer, Major of Hussars (light cavalry)
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-02-2014, 01:58 PM
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Maybe I missed it -- but, are you riding English or Western? If you're riding English, invest in some new leathers & irons. If you're riding in a too-small Western saddle, then you might want to consider buying a bareback pad with stirrups. (It's just too darned hard and expensive to fit a saddle to a lesson horse that you don't own.)

If your instructor feels that your seat is adequate for cantering, then you need to address the inadequate tack. It would also probably improve your confidence to get you in a comfortable, appropriate saddle (or pad).

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post #9 of 19 Old 04-02-2014, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailTraveler View Post
Maybe I missed it -- but, are you riding English or Western? If you're riding English, invest in some new leathers & irons. If you're riding in a too-small Western saddle, then you might want to consider buying a bareback pad with stirrups. (It's just too darned hard and expensive to fit a saddle to a lesson horse that you don't own.)

If your instructor feels that your seat is adequate for cantering, then you need to address the inadequate tack. It would also probably improve your confidence to get you in a comfortable, appropriate saddle (or pad).
Definitely no bareback pad with stirrups. If you already have an over reliance on stirrups then you will definitely sore the horse's back!
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-02-2014, 08:13 PM
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Hello fellow horse lover :) Practice your sitting trot as much as you can, and focus on lifting your toes up inside of your boots while your heel is firmly pressing down. Don't feel ashamed if you need to grab onto your horses' mane either while you are cantering to keep from knocking her in the mouth. The more you ride the stronger your seat will get--dropping your stirrups always helps too ;)
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