I have been taking twice weekly lessons with my daughter since August. She just turned 10. She rides a largish pony, maybe 12-13 hands high who's a very steady, calm dude. My daughter is very comfortable on the horse. She can trot like she's been doing it all her life. She's way more graceful than I am for sure.
The problem is with her inability to cantor.
She tried cantoring once, panicked three strides into it, started screaming like a banshee, and then gripped onto the horse's neck like a cougar. The sweet pony ran his furry butt off about 1/2 way around the ring before calming down. My daughter was hysterical with fear, but calmed down and finished the lesson, doing walking and trotting like normal.
Her second trip on a cantoring horse (not a pony) was an accident. He was supposed to be trotting during a test ride, but she panicked when he wouldn't slow to a walk, pulled back on the reins harder, he grabbed the bit and started cantoring. Then he saw something that freaked him out, side-stepped, bolted a little ways, and then gave her a rodeo ride. He bucked her off and she flew. She was unable to ride for 2 weeks.
Her last attempt came after much cajoling on the part of me and her instructor. We were in the small riding ring with the pony, where we do our lessons. Same thing happened as the first time. She leaned forward almost from the beginning (fetal ball alert), started bouncing hard in the saddle, then started screaming, then did the cougar-on-the-back move. She ended up riding the pony's neck to a stop, and came completely out of the saddle this time. This time he was ready for her, though. He only went about 10 feet, and he didn't get upset, bless his little heart!
She's had about 5 lessons since, each time declining the chance to cantor. The instructor doesn't want to do the longe line - she believes it's better for my daughter to just do it around the ring like everyone else.
Today my daughter asked me to look up advice on how to get over the fear of cantoring. I consider that a positive step. I hate the fact that I'm progressing past her since I'm now cantoring at every lesson and getting better at it each time.
Any advice for my riding buddy/princess/baby girl out there? Oh, and we're riding English.