'pumping' at the canter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-26-2011, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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'pumping' at the canter

I keep pumping at the canter.....what can help me stop doing this??
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-26-2011, 09:20 AM
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First of all you have to figure out the root cause. Usually it's one of two 1.) not have a following seat, meaning you can't keep you seat fully in the saddle and follow the motion of the horse's back with your seat bones and pelvis or 2.) having a locked elbow and not following the motion of the horse's neck with your hand and arm. In both cases, your upper body takes over the motion, and that's the pumping.

It your instructor just comments on the pumping, but isn't teaching you about following arms or a following seat, you need to find someone who can help you with those specific components of your riding. If your horse has a very rough canter, or a lot of motion at the canter, it might help to ride a different horse until you master the basics.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-26-2011, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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My problem is with the following seat. Itried really hard to do it one time and it kinda felt like my stomach was doing the wave...I really let my hips just let loose. It hard though. My horse has a lot of motion in his canter. Is their any techniques you know? I always do better with a visual picture of how it should be done in my head:)
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-26-2011, 10:07 AM
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It's easier to get the feeling riding without stirrups - if you brace against the stirrup, you lose the following seat. Best method is to be put on a lunge line, without stirrups, with a strap attached to the dees on the front saddle, or grasping the pommel. Get someone to check your position, and make sure your seat bones are directly underneath you and your back is flat and relaxed.

Pulling your self deeply into the saddle with the pommel or the strap may help you feel the motion. Then you'll need to work on just softly following, not driving. If you can get it on the lunge line without stirrups, it will then take some work and practice until you can transfer the skill to off the lunge and with stirrups.

If it's the motion itself that eludes you, Centered Riding by Sally Swift has some great illustrations and explanations. You'll feel like a perfect idiot doing "Monkey position/reverse monkey position" from the book but it does work. I saw a Centered Riding clinicianr make everyone get off their horses, and run through the exercises and the motion on the ground. Pretty funny to watch, but everyone was riding better at the end of the day. Good luck.
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-26-2011, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you!
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-26-2011, 02:19 PM
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You'd be surprised how much hip and abdominal movement must happen to have a truly following seat on a horse with big motion. If it feels wierd it's because you haven't ever really let your body do its part. That's why pro riders a killer athletes with killer abs.

One thing you can think about if you sit down in the canter and work on developing you following seat (and by the way, I am working on this too), remind yourself that your horse knows how to canter. You don't have to "help" him , at all. Pumping is sometimes the rider being too "helpin". Trust your horse to carry you and do his job. Your's is to just be unobtrusive to carry,
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-26-2011, 07:36 PM
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Sorry, I'm a little lost. Do you mean pumping with your arms or body? Because I personally have to pump my arms a little to keep constant contact. But even then, its not "pumping" because I don't actually do any work. I'm just following her head by opening and closing my elbow a bit.

"The wise man thinks he knows nothing.
The fool thinks he knows everything."

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