Getting over my cantering fear?
   

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Getting over my cantering fear?

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  • Fear of going fast on a horse
  • Fear of cantering

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    07-10-2013, 06:01 PM
  #1
Foal
Getting over my cantering fear?

This is a really long post, so if you just wan't to skip the story of why I am scared of cantering, you can just read the blue.

I've been riding for a little over a year, but am kind of scared to canter. About 6 months after I started riding when I was able to canter around the arena, following patterns and what not confidently, I somehow fell off. I think it's just because I was being a bad rider. That's what originally got me scared of cantering, but I got over that pretty quickly then I fell off again about 2 months later when a different horse I was riding spooked and took off at a gallop, bucking me off. Since then I have never really been able to canter off the rail. I also fell off again just at a walk when the horse I am leasing spooked and did multiple large bucks about a month ago. Now, I have gotten to the point where I canter again, but I always feel like I am going to fast or like I am just going to fall over sideways. Given that I recently started riding English again after a month of western, I think that also has to do with me feeling off balanced, but I know this isn't normal for me as a rider. I can't even canter around the arena once without losing a stirrup or feeling like I'm going to fall sideways off the horse. I am always making sure to sit back and keep my heels down, yet I still pop out of the saddle, and sometimes end up losing a stirrup. Basically I am looking for any advice on how I can get to the point where I am able to canter confidently off the rail, and start jumping again. (I started getting into jumping a little before I fell off the second time.) Thank you for any help/ suggestions, my trainer has been a big help, but I need more advice/ help and I'm hoping you guys might know some things I could do. Thanks again!
     
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    07-10-2013, 06:14 PM
  #2
Teen Forum Moderator
Ask your instructor for some stirrup-less lunge line lessons at a walk, trot, and canter. It sounds to me like you're pinching with your knees and trying to grip with your calves, so you are and not following your horses completely. I really do think a few lunge lessons where you can just focus on following the horses and nothing else will do you wonders.
     
    07-10-2013, 07:35 PM
  #3
Trained
Here is a video I like:


You could also ride it for a while in a half seat:

Riding the canter in half seat

If you are nervous and want to ride English, you could also consider an Australian style saddle:



It would probably help if you can find a horse you trust to help you get the feel. One of our Appy's good points is that when my youngest gets unstable, he slows down for her. He doesn't like me much, but a horse like that is wonderful even if he doesn't care much for guys:

     
    07-10-2013, 07:37 PM
  #4
Green Broke
Hi pintos. Good core strength is always helpful in these situations so think sit ups and those waist twist thingys. If you can keep yourself flexible and relaxed (and a good core is an asset for these) when you're riding, I think you'll find you can stay with the horse's movement better and react quicker to make readjustments to keep your position and stay in the saddle. I know that's something I always watch out for with myself because tension is definitely not your friend when it comes to improving your seat.

Best of luck.
     
    07-10-2013, 08:44 PM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
Here is a video I like:

Craig Cameron Explains How To Ride The Canter On the Equicizer & Horse - YouTube

You could also ride it for a while in a half seat:

Riding the canter in half seat

If you are nervous and want to ride English, you could also consider an Australian style saddle:



It would probably help if you can find a horse you trust to help you get the feel. One of our Appy's good points is that when my youngest gets unstable, he slows down for her. He doesn't like me much, but a horse like that is wonderful even if he doesn't care much for guys:

I can't invest in a different saddle atm, and have one horse to ride since moving barns, but thanks though.

Also, thanks for the other replies, I will ask about lunge line lessons and work on core strength.
     
    07-10-2013, 09:36 PM
  #6
Yearling
You could also try a neckstrap on the horse..just something for you to grab a hold of in the event you get slightly off balance...think of it as a training wheel.

As was indicated already balance is obviously the key. What you experienced, the bucking and spooking threw you off balance and caused the falls. You need to get on a horse that is essentially 100% bombproof that can pick up a nice easy canter that will help get your confidence back; normally horses used in a lesson program, especially those for beginner riders, or timid riders as the case may be, are usually good to work out confidence issues. Riding without irons can help improve your overall balance which in turn will translate back to a more balanced position at the canter.

My last horse overbalanced one day at the left lead canter (he decided to bite at some flies on his chest just as he was going up into the canter), tripped and nearly went down..long story short I got launched. Even as a long time rider it took me a good two months to quit panicking every time I asked for the left lead canter. I started out with just a few strides at a time (admittedly it DID help with getting his half halts down :) ) and slowly worked my way up to two or three times around the outside edge of the arena.
     
    07-11-2013, 06:58 AM
  #7
Foal
I had the same problem a while ago on my pony. What my trainer did was we had bareback lunge lessons EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. You could also try that or no stirrups on the lunge line. Finally I felt more confident in my balance but still not confident enough to canter. Luckily for me, I didn't have to think about it. Despite my protesting my trainer asked my little Robin to canter. I held on to the mane and soon I realized, hey, this isn't so bad after all! It took a few months, but now I ride him better than ever and I we are quite the speed demons, me and him:).
     
    07-11-2013, 07:51 AM
  #8
Green Broke
It sounds like this may be fear related which is set off to be worse by your inexperience. It sounds like you are tensing up which causes you you hitch your legs up (losing the stirrups) and also causing you to not flow with the horse's motion (so you bounce).

I would try lunge line lessons until you felt comfortable and confident before working on technique too much. It must be really unnerving to have unreliable horses to learn on!
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    07-11-2013, 08:07 AM
  #9
Foal
Honestly there are many things that can go wrong when cantering and whatnot, and you just have to not think about them. I was cantering myself on 4th of July, such a dumb idea, when a huge M80 went off and from the canter we went to a gallop and no matter what kind of rider I am, I wasn't able to get myself adjusted and just got plummeted into the ground. And actually that was my first time riding in an english saddle and deciding to canter. I bruised my sacrum and couldnt ride for a week.

Sometimes you just can't let things deter you, and when you're riding, don't focus on what could happen, just focus on the there and now... I know it's easier said than done. All I can say is just practice in an english saddle on your balance and it will come to you, also lunge line lessons at a canter to help you over your fear.
     
    07-11-2013, 08:08 PM
  #10
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by pintos    
This is a really long post, so if you just wan't to skip the story of why I am scared of cantering, you can just read the blue.

I've been riding for a little over a year, but am kind of scared to canter. About 6 months after I started riding when I was able to canter around the arena, following patterns and what not confidently, I somehow fell off. I think it's just because I was being a bad rider. That's what originally got me scared of cantering, but I got over that pretty quickly then I fell off again about 2 months later when a different horse I was riding spooked and took off at a gallop, bucking me off. Since then I have never really been able to canter off the rail. I also fell off again just at a walk when the horse I am leasing spooked and did multiple large bucks about a month ago. Now, I have gotten to the point where I canter again, but I always feel like I am going to fast or like I am just going to fall over sideways. Given that I recently started riding English again after a month of western, I think that also has to do with me feeling off balanced, but I know this isn't normal for me as a rider. I can't even canter around the arena once without losing a stirrup or feeling like I'm going to fall sideways off the horse. I am always making sure to sit back and keep my heels down, yet I still pop out of the saddle, and sometimes end up losing a stirrup. Basically I am looking for any advice on how I can get to the point where I am able to canter confidently off the rail, and start jumping again. (I started getting into jumping a little before I fell off the second time.) Thank you for any help/ suggestions, my trainer has been a big help, but I need more advice/ help and I'm hoping you guys might know some things I could do. Thanks again!
Oh honey you're just tense.. and curling up.

Think "stretch and relax"

Have your trainer put you and your horse on the lungeline and just... canter canter canter canter canter. With and without reins.

Pretend you are a tree and your feet are the roots and you should start to relax a bit when you realize you AREN'T a bad rider... just a nervous rider.

Even amazingly good riders fall off. I mean the horse spooked and bucked and ran sideways. It's hard to stay on sometimes when things that you don't expect to happen...do.
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Tags
beginner, cantering, fear, fear of falling

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