The time has come for the C word!
Yep, cantering.. which I'm going to try my hand at tomorrow during my hour long lesson (usually we do 30 minutes, but we're working on lungeline work first)
I refused to canter until my sitting trot was there, and I'd finally got it and my horse gets it. So my instructor and I both agree we are ready to learn it.
I've been lunging him w/t/c for a few months now. He easily can trot but still I have to really encourage him to canter but when he does, he gets it and it comes around since he's still learning to balance and figure out where his feet need to be.
A girl interested in leasing him cantered him today and he was better on his stiffer side and kind of went all out with nose up on his better side.
He HAS been cantered previously by other trainers and riders, just not with me. So it's been a good 5 months since he's done it under saddle.
We're giving it a whirl and only during lessons (I'll probably lunge him at the canter) during the week and focus on trot work till I feel I'm ready to do it on my own.
I'm a little nervous because my last injury this mare started cantering and bucking and I flew off. But I'm also really READY and I believe he is too.
Tips? Tricks? Prayers? Support? Anything at this point :P
Good luck! Once you are comfortable with it then thats all you'll want to do.
Depending on how nervous you are, you could have him on the lunge line. That way your instructor controls him while you focus on getting his rhythm down. It's a great way to improve you skills and a nice transition to cantering under saddle for him.
Good luck! Cantering is super super fun.
I'm absolutely terrified to canter because of some really bad experiences cantering when I was just starting out, but somehow I ended up with a horse that would never ever think of doing anything silly while cantering.
Before I knew this about her, I'd get all nervous and worried and since she's super in tune with me, she'd refuse to canter. Eventually I just decided to do it and I started forcing myself to get at least 3 canter strides per ride.
Over time I realized that her canter is really pretty comfortable and that I could really just drop the reins and let her go if I wanted to. She only gets strong when she's really looking forward to cantering but before she really takes off, she bounces around a few times and if I yell at her angrily, she'll immediately stop and go back to a nice canter. And, if she's cantering along nicely and I say "easy", she'll immediately start trotting and if I say "ho", she'll slam on the brakes so hard there would be sparks if she had shoes.
Funny thing is that she is so hot in everyday life that before I really knew her, I thought for sure that asking for a canter was like asking to be put to death. However, little did I know that cantering is her best, most easily controlled, most well behaved gait!
Basically, just trust him. He sounds like a trustworthy guy so let him be trustworthy.
And RELAX! I like to pretend that I'm riding fancy dressage and I'm just going along, talking in a very stereotypically British accent, being very posh, sitting up straight, letting my legs (in their fancy dressage breeches, I have an overactive imagination...hahaha) be very long, etc.
Another thing I like to do a lot (maybe for when you're more comfortable cantering) is I like to start out hand galloping Lacey (I 2-point while galloping which helps me feel more secure), then bring her down to nice relaxed canter. That way, I feel like I'm going so slow once I'm cantering and I'm in so much control that I have no issue cantering in a relaxed way.
You can do it! I bet he'll be so good and you'll be like "I LOVE THIS HORSE!!!" :)
ETA: I'm not sure if I'd have him canter on the lunge line the first time, unless it's one of those "you're going in a straight line, instructor is holding the lunge line and walking/running so s/he stays in a straight line with you" things. Especially since you say that he's still figuring out where his feet are, he's going to have a much easier time balancing with a rider (and therefore be less potentially scary) at the canter going in a straight line. You can always try it, but that's just my $0.02. :)
My favorite way to get a canter is ask coming around the corner of the arena, then canter the long side (or the short side if you have a really large arena) and slow to a trot before the corner. That way I get a short "safe" feeling canter and a for sure stopping place. :)
Thanks Wallaby <3 That made me feel better. And he's a stellar guy.. he knows I'd never hurt him. I just get scared of messing him up or having him distrust the world again. I needa relax and let him do his thing :)
Have fun! I bet you'll have a great time :D
glad you are getting to where you want to be. I am in the same boat and going at it slowly a little at a time. Cantered on the beach Saturday. It was very nice!!
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