New to Cantering - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-01-2012, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Herefordshire UK
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New to Cantering

Hello fellow riders, it's been a few short weeks since I've been breaking into a canter which is new to me. My issues at the moment are getting the legs to work in conjunction with the starting rhythm of the canter and by that I mean using your legs to kick the horse to go faster.

I tend to find my feet slipping from the stirrups a bit and it's a struggle keeping my toes up. Another thing is even though I sit back I get whisked up and down a bit in my saddle. I must be out of sync??

I've been learning to ride since June and I'm 34.
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-01-2012, 01:22 PM
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I found this thread helpful:

Riding the canter in half seat

An injury to my lower back a few years ago left my lower right back stiff. I still cannot follow the motion with a 'flexible back' if I sit all the way back in the saddle. I also like this demo:

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"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-02-2012, 12:56 AM
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A few years ago when I started cantering I had troubles staying in the seat also, so I practiced at night in my round pen going around and around to learn to get in sync with my mare.
Are your stirrups too long maybe.....

My horses are the joy in my life.....
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-15-2012, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks kindly people for your helpful responses. Yes I have also realised that having a stiff lower back is a killer for the canter. I love the video by the way and it beautifully shows that the anxiety of the canter has kept my back stiff. Now I shall remember to move my hips forward consciously for my next lesson.

I fell off my horse for the first time ever today and it was in a canter and I leaned forward a little too much and fell forward and right partially landing on a guiding pole. I wasn't scared just embarrassed.

I have also been performing the sitting trot for prolonged periods of time and realising for myself that you can't sit like a sack of potatoes motionless, you have to consciously move up and down with the horse!
tinyliny and Thunderspark like this.
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-15-2012, 03:37 PM
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This year I fell off my mare twice LOL both at a walk! The first time was coming in the driveway and our dogs must have run up behind her to nip her heels and of course I wasn't paying attention! The second time was on a poker derby ride, there were about 20 riders, there was a girl behind I knew on a great big gelding and was talking away to me LOL then I heard a commotionn, looked behind and the girl's face was about two feet from mine! Couldn't see her horse, he had tripped and stumbled landing with his head/neck between my mare's back legs LOL my mare gave a little jump ahead which put her in line of the one in front who kicked her in the poor girl didn't know what to do, she spun, I lost my balance and slide in slow motion down beside her front legs, she stood there, put her head down almost asking why I was down there LOL good thing she's a level headed girl and didn't panic!

My horses are the joy in my life.....
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 12:57 AM
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BSMS that is such a good video! Thank you for posting it. I'm working on the canter as well and this is very helpful.
I like this guy's style of teaching. Simple and to the point.
I want one of those training horses that he's riding. I looked them up and they are over 1k. I'll bet they're great to have though.
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 01:40 AM
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First of all, it takes time for it to seem natural, so be patient.

if you are losing your stirrup, you are likely gripping up with your calves. Very common.
When the horse canters it's a 3 beat rythm. count it as you go along such that the 3 beat is when the leading leg hits down. At that point your horse is most "downhill" in his position and you need to be most sitting back (as if you were riding downhill) in the saddle. However, you also need to be down into your stirrupss and have your seat bone on the saddle (unless you are riding in halfseat or two point). But in any case, as you count the 1, 2, 3 pause (horse has moment of suspension ) 1, 2, 3, replace the "3" with "down" and really think about your pelvis following the saddle downward, and your feet going downward PAST the stirrups until your feet drag on the ground . That mental image may help you stay with the hrose on that downward phase. during the upward phase, as long as you stay relaxed, the horse will carry you up. Let him do so.
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 03:14 AM
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When the horse goes into canter, sit back in the saddle and let him 'carry you'. Try putting your weight down into your heels and keep your heels pointing to the ground and your toes to the sky and then move your hips as if you are winding a clock backwards (hope I'm making sense) or pretend you are trying to brush the saddle with your bum as the horse gets into canter. It really is a difficult technique to learn for a beginner as there is so much to think about. The best advice I can give as a novice and what worked for me was a lunge line canter lesson where the instructor does the work for you and you can get used to the rythmn. The other thing that worked for me was going out with experienced riders and their horses. Horses will follow a lead and when the others break into a canter, they will tend to follow suit. Again it is useful for getting used to a canter but it does take a lot of practice. You still need to do schooling work though.
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-19-2012, 03:16 AM
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BSMS great video! Thanks for posting.
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-24-2012, 05:47 PM
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Tinyliny gave great advice! My instructor tells us to sing or hum a song with the beat of the horses gait.

I prefer greensleeves. : p

One thing that has helped me a lot with cantering, is simple stirrupless riding. That way I don't have to fuss with stirrups and I find it a hell of a lot easier to keep my toes up/heels down.

It gives me the big "click" I need to get into sync with a horse.

I had the same problem as you starting out, but because I was small and still am, ny biggest problem was a lack of weight in my stirrups. I was like a sack of feathers in mid air on that horse, haha!
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