Yet another cantering thread. Which part of my leg engages? Body movement? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 04-10-2014, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
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Yet another cantering thread. Which part of my leg engages? Body movement?

I posted a thread a couple days ago about my terrible re-entry into the cantering world.

Today is my next lesson and I'd love to get some tips on two issues.

1. What part of my leg should be engaged with the horse after I've given the cue to canter and she is cantering? In the other horse I had, I kind of held on with a little pressure from my inside knees and calves. I can't do that with this horse because as soon as she feels pressure on her sides, she goes faster and faster. (=disaster in the making).

2. She's a half-draft with a really bouncy canter. My butt was popping up and slamming back down into the saddle which was terrible for both of us. I had a hard time doing that "scoop" thing with my butt (polishing the saddle) because I was flying up so high. Any tips for fixing that problem?

Thanks in advance!

“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
ecasey is offline  
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post #2 of 2 Old 04-10-2014, 08:40 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
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From what you say, it seems like you ARE gripping with your lower leg/calf, and you never should grip the horse at all.

The canter is a diagonal gait, so your seat should be slightly diagonal while sitting the canter. Whichever lead you're on is the hip you want slightly forward. Your inside leg should be at the girth, but not gripping. It's just there, and your outside leg slightly behind the girth, again it's just there.

I would suggest some core exercises, and strengthen your lower body as well. Your balance should be centered in your seat and anchored by your legs. When you grip with your legs, you become top-heavy, using your legs as a fulcrum and you flop around in the saddle. You should flow into and from your seat. Try to remain upright. Learning the canter takes time, just like the other gaits.

Good luck :)
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