I am a novice rider with confidence issues. And I am also feeling rather confused.
At one ranch and while on trails on Sierra Nevada, I was told I was brilliant for someone who said she had confidence issues. I could canter (though of course my horse was following another horse) but I could control the speed with my reinwork and legaids, and even get the horse to keep going with my leg aids. I could also canter on my own (without a lunge) and not be fearful on a schoolhorse in the arena.
However, at this school where I had been thrown off four times, I can't even canter without a lunge (or rather its because the instructor won't let me).. because I don't seem to be in control of the horse. And even on lunge, I can't canter beyond a few strides.
Yes, I am really afraid of a horse's unpredictability. But I have seen people being able to canter slowly on horses, and keep it going. I want to be able to do it. And I also want to make my discouraging instructor eat his words cos if I am able to do it elsewhere (when I am not fearful), I don't believe I am that crap. And if I can stay on the horse while at other ranches, I don't believe its always my fault when I fall off.
I need some advice.
1) I am afraid to use leg aid during cantering to keep a horse going, in case he goes off into a gallop or spiral out of control. I was told I have to keep nudging with my inside leg and kicking with my outside leg. While I understand this will keep the horse in canter, I am afraid the horse will also read it as a cue to speed up. I don't want to gallop in an arena yet. Cos I am not confident of being able to control the horse.
How do I urge a horse to keep cantering without losing control of the speed?
2) Horses don't seem to pick up my cues to canter. I try to relax with the reins, nudge my inside leg against the inside of girth of the horse and sweep my outside leg outwards and behind the girth of the horse and kick. Which I have been told looks correct. But sometimes the horse just speeds up and not canter. ARGH. Am I doing something wrongly? I see some people cantering without such evident legwork.
3) How do I get into a forward trot for the horse to move into a canter? Instructors sometimes confuse me. At two schools, I was told. "faster faster" while doing the rising trot .. then "sit for a few beats" and "now canter". When I was at sierra nevada, my instructor who was a former grandprix dressage champ told me, to SLOW DOWN SLOWN DOWN my trot before asking for a canter. And I have now clarified with my current instructor, that they mean Forward trot. So what's a forward trot without speed?
4) How do I balance steering a horse I.e. Reinwork without stopping the horse?