How to get softer hands whilst cantering? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-25-2012, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Question How to get softer hands whilst cantering?

So when i get into the canter my hands flop about everywhere and it's really frustrating. It stops the horse going because i'm pulling back with my hands.

I mainly ride 2 horses in my lessons, Honey a 14.1-14.2h cob who is very lazy and is hard work or Thomas a 15.5-16.1h ish horse.

So when i ride Tom i never pull back and my hands are normally soft and quiet, whereas with Honey they're all over the place, i think it's because with Tom you don't need to give him much leg to go into the canter whereas Honey needs a lot so when i'm legging i lose my balance and my hands fail, but i don't know.

I'm still learning the canter so i was wondering if you have any tips on making my hands still and soft because i really need to focus on them, thank you!
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-25-2012, 04:13 PM
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your hands will flap if you body is stiff. so on the pony that moves more, you have to move more in your pelvis /lower body, and stay stiller in your upper body. Try to think of "scooping" him up in front of you with your legs, riding stitting on top of the "wave". Keep your upper arms next to your ribcage.

are you using a crop to help move that pony!?
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-25-2012, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
your hands will flap if you body is stiff. so on the pony that moves more, you have to move more in your pelvis /lower body, and stay stiller in your upper body. Try to think of "scooping" him up in front of you with your legs, riding stitting on top of the "wave". Keep your upper arms next to your ribcage.

are you using a crop to help move that pony!?
Yeah i use a crop and that helps her to get more forward but i don't like using crops because i think they get in the way haha, i'll try relaxing my upper body so that i don't flap my hands around, thanks for the advice :)
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-26-2012, 01:45 AM
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Use a breast plate (if you can) with out attaching it to the saddle's D rings. hold the reins and a breast plate strap in each hand. It limits the amount of pulling back you can do.

You can also try riding bareback with 2 bath mats.. one sticky side to the horse and the other to you.. secured with two stirrup leathers or a cinch and piece of leather. The extremely sticky grip will help you relax your seat so you can focus on following the rhythm with your hips, seat and hands with out having to worry about your stirrups. Does WONDERS for teaching my students to canter!

Look up "Jane Savoie Contact" on youtube and she does a really good job explaining rein contact and connection which are extra important in the canter.
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-26-2012, 01:59 AM
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Sounds like you do need to work on your seat, but practice will take care of that. Every time I get a new horse, I put em through the paces and think "****, did I forget how to ride all the sudden"? Can't seem to keep rhythm with em at first. Well, it's because I been ridin broke horses that have been trained for a while, and these new horses are strung out, uncadenced, uncollected, and have no rate. They are hard to stay with. I'm sure the horse has alot to do with it in your case. Don't be too hard on yourself
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-27-2012, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starlinestables View Post
Use a breast plate (if you can) with out attaching it to the saddle's D rings. hold the reins and a breast plate strap in each hand. It limits the amount of pulling back you can do.

You can also try riding bareback with 2 bath mats.. one sticky side to the horse and the other to you.. secured with two stirrup leathers or a cinch and piece of leather. The extremely sticky grip will help you relax your seat so you can focus on following the rhythm with your hips, seat and hands with out having to worry about your stirrups. Does WONDERS for teaching my students to canter!

Look up "Jane Savoie Contact" on youtube and she does a really good job explaining rein contact and connection which are extra important in the canter.
Wow, how interesting.. I've never thought about using bathmats! I may have to try that out sometime. I can see where the sticky would really help.

As far as hands, I agree with the previous posters about relaxing. While cantering, I really try to focus on letting my seat and my hips do the work. I used to use my upper body a lot at the canter, and as a result my elbows were out and things just weren't smooth. But once I focused on my hips and seat, things on top settled down nicely.
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-27-2012, 07:41 PM
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I used to have that problem as well, my hands were everywhere at the extended trot & canter. Now after really working on it & having a groundsperson remind me everytime, I have broken the habit. Relax your shoulders, chest out, heavy elbows, wrists don't move, just flex your fingers for bit control, concentrate on just that. You will be amazed how much you will improve. Good Luck.
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 02:42 PM
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I would just keep on working on have someone lunge you around while you are cantering,put your hands on the saddle pad try to keep 2 fingers tounching the pad.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 03:13 PM
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Like the poster above said do a lunge lesson then you only work on you and don't have to worry about pace at all
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 04:40 PM
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Working on your seat will help, but when I learned to canter, I was taught to make a small backwards circle with my hands to follow the horse's head as he came up, back, forward and down. So, as the horse's head comes up in the canter, your hands come up and back slightly and you follow the head back down in your circle on the down part of the stride. This will help you learn to feel the mouth and can be very helpful on horses that have a lot of movement in their head and neck at the canter.
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