Time off from canter = GAH! Horrible form - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By Zexious
  • 2 Post By tinyliny
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-07-2014, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
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Time off from canter = GAH! Horrible form

I was cantering during lessons just fine last year. I wasn't an expert by any means, but I could go round and round and control the horse, stop him, start from a trot or walk or full stand-still, transition down from a canter to a trot reasonably well...

Then I bought a 12 yo fully broke horse in January (who hadn't been cantered much over the past 3 years) and haven't cantered on her or any other horse for that matter until today. Mostly because my instructor wanted her to get used to our lessons and me used to her.

She has been cantered by an experienced rider every weekend just to keep her in shape, and she does pretty well with her. Sometimes she picks up the wrong lead, but not often. Sometimes she has speed issues, but the experienced rider handles it with ease.

When I cantered today for the first time on her? Yikes. What a disaster. It was so demoralizing.

My poor horse. I bounced all over her back and felt like I was going to fall off the entire time. Her canter is WAY bouncier than the other horse I used to ride, but mostly it was just me. I couldn't feel the rhythm and the worse I was the faster she went. She's very sensitive to leg pressure and I was used to holding onto the other horse or just finding balance with my knees. I can't do that with her, apparently.

By the 6th time around the small riding ring I had improved, but man ... it was not fun for either of us. She was fussy and I was scared and sad that I had lost so much of my skill and balance.

I sure hope this gets better soon. I'm afraid I'm going to start worrying before every lesson and it will make them not fun.

Waaaahhh! I'm such a whiner. :)

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-07-2014, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Edmonton, AB
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i got back into riding last May after a 12 year break. i still have (what i think! lol) is horrid form at the canter. i arch my back too much and do too much hanging on because my balance isn't quite there yet.

keep on cantering, you'll get better :) maybe your instructor has a nice smooth 'school master' type horse you could ride for a couple lessons to help you with this?
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-07-2014, 07:08 PM
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I think your right in that every horse transitions a little differently. One that I ride will break into a fast canter if I apply any lower leg pressure at all. She is just extremely sensitive and almost leaps. I confess to being a bit shaken because it's so abrupt.
The horse I usually ride just needs an easy outside heel squeeze and she begins a smooth predictable canter. I actually like them both as the first (thought a bit scary) is also exciting. I may not feel that way once I tumble. :)
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-07-2014, 07:27 PM
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The more time you put into it, the more confident you will feel (: I maintain a rider can get used to any gait with enough patient ;)
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-07-2014, 07:32 PM
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some horses can be really easy to canter, and others very challenging. it's not always that the rider has gone downhill.

I used to ride this appy who had the sweetest little canter. I could ask him to canter anywhere , anytime, and it was effortless, and easy. made me feel like a pro.

now Z is 17hh and his canter is fast and can be very heavy, due to his half draft. he can also be wonderfully light, but it takes a LOT of rider engagement and strength. you can't just be a passive package, you have to RIDE, and it's hard work, and a bit scary, but it's an accomplishement, so it's worth it! and , it's becoming a bit less daunting the more I do it.

hang in there, it WILL get easier.
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-10-2014, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
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• Horses: 6
Thanks, everyone! Tinyliny, your advice makes a lot of sense. I feel better knowing I'm not the only one out there this has happened to.

I have another lesson today. We'll see how it goes.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-13-2014, 09:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Virginia, USA
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My trainer has me reach back with one hand and touch the back of my western saddle and it somehow puts my body into the right position and I don't bounce around.
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