Cantering and Jumping issues
I had my riding lesson today, and there were a few issues that I was wandering if you could give advice on.
The first is cantering. Normally the horse I ride, Charlie, is quite good at cantering and I was today for a bit, but when we changed the lead he suddenly changed. He would do quite a big buck (well, it felt quite big, it probably wasn't huge) and then would go really really fast and not want to slow down. I was getting told to lean back and pull hard on the reins but he ignored it for quite a while and then when he eventually came back to trot he would be going really fast in that as well. Is there nothing I can do when he goes off like that other than sit back and pull on the reins? I got told that my leg was swinging, but it doesn't normally do that so I think it was just because he was going to fast and I was bracing against my stirrups. I found it really difficult to sit into the canter when he was going so fast.
Then when we got onto jumping, he wasn't behaving very well either. The first two times round he avoided the jump by leaping to the side and trotting round it, and then he started dashing around the jump and cantering off. Eventually he went over it and realised that he quite liked it so got really over excited. He trotted round really quickly and when I tried to slow him down he wouldn't really listen. I did sort of slow down, but I could feel him wanting to go fast and if I relaxed he would have gone faster. When he got to near the jump he would rush at it and try to canter really fast over it which was a bit scary because I haven't cantered over a jump before. He did this quite a few times and at one point he went over the jump and cantered off really fast and he was heading towards the fence around the school and I was terrified that he was going to jump over it (he didn't though). I did keep trying though and eventually he calmed down a bit so I could go over the jump properly.
Sorry about the essay, but do you have any advice on how to calm down an over excited horse?
have his back checked. sounds chiro to me.
Is he switching leads when he gets fast? He may find the other one difficult and prefer HIS better way (Sky does that at times lol)
It's definitely worth checking out, or he may be interpreting your leg (maybe you brace and that's why it happens?) as a cue for flying lead change (the buck/him switching leads)
No advise on the jumping except PERSONALLY I wouldn't go near it until you can get that canter under control.
So have him checked all over, then practice trot canter, canter trot transitions. Put in some circles, figure eights, change directions. Stick to a few strides at a time and build up.
If he blows his lead at the canter bring him back down, think of spiraling him in a circle. Half halts (correct timing) will help you. Does he do this for other riders? Has your trainer been on him?
I know he isn't your horse so it's a bit harder..
From experience, I know it can be frightening to ride a horse who is speeding around the ring that you feel like you have absolutely no control over. However, panicking doesn't improve matters. One of the most important things to do in such a situation is to keep your heels down. If you lose you're stirrups and you're not accustomed to rising without them, it would be very easy for you to slide off, especially if the horse bucks or rears. Another important concept is to make sure your reins are short. They play a major role in slowing your horse down. If your horse does race around the ring at top speed, keep contact with his mouth and take him in a small circle. Theoretically, he would have to reduce his speed while completing a tight circle, giving you several times to recuperate and slow him down to a more suitable pace.
Now, to address your second concern. As you're approaching a jump, you should be able to feel if your horse is slowing down (a sign that he might slam on the brakes right before the jump, or veering to one side/turning his head to one side (a signal that he might try to duck out right before the jump). In either case, you want to add some leg whike keeping steady contact with his mouth. If you can tell he's about to veer to the right, add some right leg. If he's rerun to the left, add left leg. Both times, be sure to add plenty of leg to prevent him from stopping before the jump. If he keeps ducking out on the same side, anticipate that he will do it again and apply the appropriate leg, even of you don't think it's necessary. It will make a huge difference. If you feel him pickin up speed before the jump, make a circle, or two, or three; however many it takes for you to get him back under control. Your instructor shouldn't have a problem with this. If he canters off after the jump at a fast speed, make him halt in a straight line. Don't let him turn. Make him stop before he does. It helps if you angle him directly toward a wall or the ring's fence. Trust me, he won't run into the wall or jump over the fence.
Be sure to reward him when he jumps correctly and listens to you. If you don't feel comfortable riding him in lessons, let your instructor know and provide a reason or two why. I have a friend who bought a pony that zipped around the ring at a million miles an hour. She couldn't control him, but still insisted on riding him in lessons and shows to prove that she wasn't afraid of riding him. One day, she was cantering an oxar when something spooked the horse when he was in midair. He came crashing down on the jump, breaking both his front legs. My friend got tossed over his neck and ended up lying underneath him. She broke her back and has been paralysed from the waist down ever since. Her pony was euthanised that night. So if it's a matter of pride versus safety, go with safety. It's better to ride a different horse than never ride again.
I guess I should add that blind pulling back doesn't help the situation. The horse will brace and then they have the choice to overcome the pressure.. and then you have a horse that doesn't respect the bit and becomes less responsive to bit aids.
Think about keeping your hands closed so he can't pull you around, but open the rein to the side along with leg aids to get him to disengage his hind.
Other the the great suggestions, It is good to remember to stay calm, no horse will run forever. I know it is scary, but maybe just let them go around the ring a few times and poop them selves out a bit. My friend had a horse that did just the same problem. Chantilly would get it in her mind that ."I feel like running" and would not stop on demand.
I can't really have his back checked, he's not my horse and I only see him once a week. He is normally ok when I ride him, he just got really over excited that lesson.
I'm not sure whether he was switching leads, but my instructor did say he was acting like that because he didn't like going round in that direction, and he did go on the wrong lead about twice when we went into canter, so I had to stop him and try again.
This was a group lesson, so I think we were doing the jumping for the two other people in the lesson as well. I can jump, but when I have private lessons I say that I want to work on canter transitions and no stirrups work which I prefer.
I don't know whether he does this for other riders as I don't see anyone else riding him, but during my lesson about two weeks ago my instructor got on him to show me what trotting no stirrups should be like, and he hasn't playing up then.
I was getting told to shorten up my reins, I ended up having them about a foot long which seemed really short, and I was told to have my outside rein a few inches shorter so that he would not come into the middle.
I would have liked to go in a circle when he was acting up, but when we were cantering the other two people in my lesson were in the middle of the school so I couldn't go in a circle because I didn't want to accidently run into them. When we were jumping, we were all going round at the same time, equally spaced out. I found it quite difficult because I couldn't let him speed up because there was someone in front of me, and I couldn't slow him right down because there was someone behind me.
If there was a horse his size and better behaved, then I would ask to go on them, but I don't think there is. There are lots of ponies that are too small for me, a horse that is really hard to get moving and a horse that bit me when I was tacking up and bucked me off in the lesson. I think Charlie is the best horse for me at the stables, and like I said he is usually ok but some days he is just really hyper.
When he was cantering off, I was just getting told to sit back, haul on the reins and squeeze me knees in.
Disengage means to disconnect.
When you ride a horse the back is the engine and the front steers. So when I say to disconnect/disengage it, means you turn the front, and the bottom has to catch up so their bottom will swing out and that's a good way to get them to stop since they can't gain speed as easily as going straight.
Some people go a step further and do the "one rein stop" but for my horse sometimes all he needs is for me to open the rein and use my leg to swing his butt over.
Does that make sense?
on the troting bit post lower. Always remember low slow aswell. Horses generally run from pain many riding schools dont offer the medical attention to ponies and saddles that fit so his saddle can also be catching somewhere. If he runs it is important not to tighten your seat but relax.
I dont think you ready to jump though if you are not able to control your legs and your pony. You need more balance work on a lungeline in a ring. This helps with the strengthening and relaxing of your own body. Also remember if a pony is running rather make tight circles instead of yanking on the mouth. Horses cant race in small circles
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Thanks Sky, that makes sense :D
I'll try to rise slower, and I think I was tensing up a bit so I'll try to relax more as well.
I've never been on a lunge line before, I don't even know if they do that in lessons for people who aren't beginners. When my friend started riding at the stables I go to she was a complete beginner so she got to go on the lunge line, but I started going there when I had been riding a year so they have never offered that to me. Sometimes I'm in a group lesson so I can't be on a lunge line then either.
I would be happy if I didn't jump for several weeks/months until I sorted out my cantering and other things, I'm not hassling my instructor to be jumping. In fact, during that lesson I was asked if I wanted the jump to go up a bit higher but I said no because I would not have been able to cope with that! I think the reason that we were jumping was because there were other people in the lesson that were good a jumping, and I also had an instructor that I had not had teach me in a while (the stable owner). My last few lessons have been private and with an instructor I love and I always feel like I have learnt so much after those lessons, but when I have a group lesson I don't get so much out of it, especially because the lessons are with different people, the lesson I had on Friday was with two girls I hadn't had a lesson with in months, and I think it was one of the girls free lesson for helping out at the stables. I hope that all made sense!
I suppose one good thing about riding a horse like this is that it means that I am learning how to say on a horse and not fall of at an unexpected movement?
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