Keeping up in a fast canter-long
   

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Keeping up in a fast canter-long

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  • I'm unbalancing my horse in canter
  • Having a hard time cantering

 
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    05-31-2012, 01:33 PM
  #1
Foal
Keeping up in a fast canter-long

Hey everyone,

So I'm having a bit of a hard time keeping up with the Arab I lease in a fast canter. I'm pretty green, and have only been riding 10 months. But I ride 4 times a week, have been practicing lots and am still taking regular lessons. We do great in the trot, being on the right diagonal, directions, etc. My trainer says we look good. I've been cantering for a while also, so we've started working on finesse and transitions within the canter- slow to fast and vice versa. We are practicing half-turns, circles at different speeds and figure eights in a canter. One of the big things I'm supposed to be working on is a fast canter, followed by three (or x) strides of a slow, collected canter, and then moving back up again to a higher speed.

Here's my problem: things are fine and dandy in the steady canter at moderate speed, then we go fast, and things just fall apart. I bounce, my legs come forward a bit, and all of a sudden it is NOT SMOOTH AT ALL. Thing is, I'm perfectly fine in two-point at a fast canter, and we do it on a regular basis. Also, I work no-stirrup every other ride. The horse I ride is very, very bouncy- my trainer says he's her bounciest horse. I've ridden several of her other horses, she has some that are smooth as butter- and I have no such problem with them!

Regardless, I think not being able to keep up with him at a fast canter- no matter if he is super bouncy or not- is a reflection on my level and I would like to know how to fix it. I've been working on it every ride, and I can't really tell if I'm improving- sometimes I think we are and then the next time I feel we definitely didn't. Obviously when I sit the fast canter and bounce I'm unbalancing the poor guy, and then I have to transition down to re-stabilize and start over. So I'm wondering what kind of things I could do on or off him that would help me stay calmly in the saddle? I tried to see if I was gripping with my knees and I'm doing the exercises to prevent that. I also figured I was tensing up, so I've been doing things like pretending my belly is like jelly (or variations haha) and they might help a bit but I'm still bouncing. Like I said, we do regular two-point and no-stirrup work, and I've made triple sure with other trainers that my stirrups are not too short.

Any ideas? Every comment welcome!
     
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    06-01-2012, 08:59 AM
  #2
Green Broke
Hmm I would like to know this as well.

I have an Arab and I have such a hard time in her canter, which is usually fast. I took lessons for 10 years but 8 of those were on one horse, and he was smooth as butter. So now I cannot get a good seat anymore. I'm thinking it has to do with the core and posture and staying loose but I would like to hear what others have to say.
     
    06-01-2012, 11:18 AM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by ridingadventures    
Hey everyone,

So I'm having a bit of a hard time keeping up with the Arab I lease in a fast canter. I'm pretty green, and have only been riding 10 months. But I ride 4 times a week, have been practicing lots and am still taking regular lessons. We do great in the trot, being on the right diagonal, directions, etc. My trainer says we look good. I've been cantering for a while also, so we've started working on finesse and transitions within the canter- slow to fast and vice versa. We are practicing half-turns, circles at different speeds and figure eights in a canter. One of the big things I'm supposed to be working on is a fast canter, followed by three (or x) strides of a slow, collected canter, and then moving back up again to a higher speed.

Here's my problem: things are fine and dandy in the steady canter at moderate speed, then we go fast, and things just fall apart. I bounce, my legs come forward a bit, and all of a sudden it is NOT SMOOTH AT ALL. Thing is, I'm perfectly fine in two-point at a fast canter, and we do it on a regular basis. Also, I work no-stirrup every other ride. The horse I ride is very, very bouncy- my trainer says he's her bounciest horse. I've ridden several of her other horses, she has some that are smooth as butter- and I have no such problem with them!

Regardless, I think not being able to keep up with him at a fast canter- no matter if he is super bouncy or not- is a reflection on my level and I would like to know how to fix it. I've been working on it every ride, and I can't really tell if I'm improving- sometimes I think we are and then the next time I feel we definitely didn't. Obviously when I sit the fast canter and bounce I'm unbalancing the poor guy, and then I have to transition down to re-stabilize and start over. So I'm wondering what kind of things I could do on or off him that would help me stay calmly in the saddle? I tried to see if I was gripping with my knees and I'm doing the exercises to prevent that. I also figured I was tensing up, so I've been doing things like pretending my belly is like jelly (or variations haha) and they might help a bit but I'm still bouncing. Like I said, we do regular two-point and no-stirrup work, and I've made triple sure with other trainers that my stirrups are not too short.

Any ideas? Every comment welcome!

First of all, what does your trainer say?
     
    06-01-2012, 12:10 PM
  #4
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fingerlakes    
First of all, what does your trainer say?

Basically that I'll eventually get there :P She's not overly concerned, and says I'm doing all the right things and pushing all the right buttons. I should just keep at the canter work and it will come. I told her to be as harsh as she could and not to baby me, and she works me hard :) So whenever I make mistakes she tells me, and in the past I've worked on every beginner mistake there is. We've just gotten to the point thought that the trot is decent (not perfect by any means, but okay) and so is the slower canter, but then at higher speed... I'm a bit impatient though, and so I'm finding my own progress too slow. She also said that the horse I'm riding is a bit harder to ride well- said he needs to be ridden well every stride or else he'll do his own thing or slack off, challenge you all the time or get bored...

Personally, I love learning on a horse that's a bit more challenging, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. My trainer has tons of experience and has been riding for close to 40 years. I've seen her on him and she rides him well, so I know it's the rider not the horse. But it's still funny because every time I get on one of her other horses it's just such a piece of cake and she always laughs at me because I am always surprised at how easy it is.

I guess I was just wondering if there were any other things or exercises I could be doing that I'm neglecting at this point- I.e. Apart from the no stirrups or two point. I don't really want to bore him or sour him to any of this work, so right now I'm alternating days- one day we work hard at form and position, canter circles, etc. The next day we do things that are for fun- I mean I still try to keep proper position, and don't let him get away with things, but he loves to go outside for a trail ride and run with other riders and he really enjoys jumping so we do a bit of that. He's not the youngest horse (17 I think) but he was a 100 mile endurance horse a few years back and he can go forever if you know how to motivate him.
     
    06-01-2012, 12:28 PM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by ridingadventures    
Basically that I'll eventually get there :P She's not overly concerned, and says I'm doing all the right things and pushing all the right buttons. I should just keep at the canter work and it will come. I told her to be as harsh as she could and not to baby me, and she works me hard :) So whenever I make mistakes she tells me, and in the past I've worked on every beginner mistake there is. We've just gotten to the point thought that the trot is decent (not perfect by any means, but okay) and so is the slower canter, but then at higher speed... I'm a bit impatient though, and so I'm finding my own progress too slow. She also said that the horse I'm riding is a bit harder to ride well- said he needs to be ridden well every stride or else he'll do his own thing or slack off, challenge you all the time or get bored...

Personally, I love learning on a horse that's a bit more challenging, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. My trainer has tons of experience and has been riding for close to 40 years. I've seen her on him and she rides him well, so I know it's the rider not the horse. But it's still funny because every time I get on one of her other horses it's just such a piece of cake and she always laughs at me because I am always surprised at how easy it is.

I guess I was just wondering if there were any other things or exercises I could be doing that I'm neglecting at this point- I.e. Apart from the no stirrups or two point. I don't really want to bore him or sour him to any of this work, so right now I'm alternating days- one day we work hard at form and position, canter circles, etc. The next day we do things that are for fun- I mean I still try to keep proper position, and don't let him get away with things, but he loves to go outside for a trail ride and run with other riders and he really enjoys jumping so we do a bit of that. He's not the youngest horse (17 I think) but he was a 100 mile endurance horse a few years back and he can go forever if you know how to motivate him.

Well, I can give you input from what I have learned and I canter a 18.2 hand 2300lb horse....so I know all about bounce!! :) -- I'll assume you already know you can't post to a canter cause of the diff gait (3 beat). You'll need to keep your legs, seat, and mid-section in place, and simply follow the movement of the canter with your back. You will end up flexing your lower back forwards (pushing out with your stomach) as the horse's back comes up, then flexing your back in a backwards arc (sucking in your stomach) to sit the downwards "wave." This does take practice, so don't be discouraged if you don't feel it right away.. Some people also have a tendency to lean forward, which is a no-no. If you have someone with you try to have them see how your seat is and let you know if you're leaning forward, but you'll usually know because you will tend to bounce because you are less able to absorb the movement.

Practice makes perfect. And just keep working with your trainer.
     
    06-01-2012, 12:39 PM
  #6
Foal
That sounds about right- when we cantered the first few times I was definitely leaning forward. I wonder if I still do it now when it gets fast- since at the slower/medium canter I'm fine. I think I'll put up a video camera and try to see if I can catch it, so that I can review it later. It might help to really see it for myself too.
To be honest, I wonder if it's just that my core/leg aren't quite strong enough yet to do it well, so I just have to be patient. I feel like they're just so much stronger than they were when we started, but I'm probably wrong.
And yes, I know you can't post the canter, but one of the training things we do is to ride in two-point the entire time (i.e. Not coming back down at all)- I'm told it puts your leg in the right position and helps develop muscle memory.
Thanks so much for the advice! My little 15hh guy isn't nearly as big as yours (I'm only 5 feet tall, and I can't imagine riding a horse that's 18hh!) but hopefully we'll master these things at some point!
     

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