Cantering Critique :)
I've been taking lessons in New Zealand for around 2 months now and have been cantering a little bit :)
Make sure your heels are down and your upper body needs to be stiller (more still?). Your hands should move forward and back slightly with the movement of the horse, but not quite so much. Lower your hands a bit also. So have you only been riding for 2 months or taking lessons for 2 months?
Taking lessons in New Zealand for 2 months. I'm originally from the States.
I've been riding for way longer but haven't cantered much. I think this may be my 20th or so time?
He looks like a comfortable ride! What a handsome boy.
You have a really great seat at the canter and do really well with keeping him picked up from dropping to the trot. It takes so long for people to recognize when they are going to break gate and you took action at the right times to keep him going.
I agree, hands down and quiet your elbows. They definitely should be rubber bands, just make sure you don't do the funky chicken. I always have to tell new riders to shorten reins and lengthen arms, but you might want to try the opposite and brush your hands on the mane hairs.
Don't let that dressage whip ruin your left hand as it is very flat. I speak from experience and my trainer had me switch hands that I use the crop. It is so hard to keep thumbs up with a crop, but maybe only use it when you need it and stash in your boot when not in use.
How is your balance? You looked to be balancing on the reins a little just before the canter.
Two pointing will help with balance and heels down. Your stirrups look a little long and maybe why you were off balance and your heels are up. I am not sure how long dressage people wear theirs as I was mainly hunter/jumper.
Again with dressage this may be alright, but your lower leg is swinging a little. This was happening with me when I started riding again and lacked lower leg muscle. Breeches with a big knee patch will help, shorter stirrups, posting/two point with no stirrups and just time will fix that. I notice at the walk at the beginning you are urging him forward with your hips and that may be why your leg is swinging.
Looking good girl! Nothing feels better than riding.
I've asked my riding instructor to explain it to me but I can't quite get it :/
Yeah he tends to lull around so I try to keep him going whenever I feel him slow but I have gotten into a bad "push him forward with hips" too much and so I look absolutely ridiculous haha!
Thank you :) He is very comfy to ride. And hooray for learning I have a good canter seat!! My legs are really weak and I have a bad habit with pointing my toes outward. I'm working on it slowly :) Same with the chicken wings.
Appreciate the critique!! It definitely is hard to keep thumbs on top with a crop :/
He looked like he just picked the canter up without an increase in speed at all. Practice brushing your pinkies on his mane hair. The distance your hands will be front of your pommel depends on how long your arms are, your elbows should be slightly bent to help with shock absorption (rubber bands). Practice giving little half halts if he needs it before asking for the canter to let him know you are about to cue and slightly rock him onto his haunches for lift off. The half halt should be just closing your fingers over the reins like squeezing water out of a sponge. You already have steady contact with the bit and he should feel it.
I don't want you to get in the habit of resting your hands on his neck.
Are your stirrups slightly long? My legs will swing like that if I am trying to post in too long stirrups. The iron also inched its way to your heel and that will make your leg swing as well.
Don't get too frustrated with your legs, those muscles will get big in no time and you will be able to squeeeeeze the breath out of em! Mine did the same when I started in my english saddle from my western.
You're back! :D :D :D Woohoo!!
I had the same problem with leaning forward and being nervous going into the canter when I switched to riding in a deep seat as opposed to short stirrups (where I had no qualms going for a good fast gallop...). It took a while to break out of being tense before the transition (which was causing all sorts of problems as I wasn't able to get a nice transition and half the time ended up on the wrong lead). What really helped, thanks to my instructor, was making sure I did a half halt before asking for canter - besides rebalancing the horse and improving the transition no end, this gave me half a second to get my shoulders and legs into the right position so I cued correctly. When I'd do the half-halt I'd breathe out and rebalance my mind as well as rebalancing the horse (who loved rushing around on the forehand in trot and really didn't like gathering himself to canter).
Regarding your hands, ask your instructor if you can do some work on the lunge with no hands. It's scary at first to canter like that, because you just want to grab onto something for security, but it really does help. The other thing that really helped me was my instructor getting me to ride another horse (who was very well-trained and with very good balance) at the trot on a long rein.
You looked great, but nervous :D, which having read your subsequent comments I can see that you are anticipating the canter and tensing up for it?
I'd like to see you soften your arms - I'm thinking that your hands might be clenched fists on those reins as you are determined to keep them in the correct position and to 'get it wrong'. Try to soften soften soften which might bring those arms and hands a little closer to your body than they are currently.
And I agree that your stirrup leathers are too long. Your feet look like they are shoved through the stirrups as you attempt to keep them there. Bring them up a hole or two and you should find it easier.
Cantering gets better the more you do it, only time and practise will get you there so don't fret about your style too much, just listen to your instructor and enjoy it :-)
Kind of wierd to see you on an horse other than Sky. But , you are doing quite well. The others had good comments about hands and such, and shortening stirrups. I concur.
As for the canter depart (something that I , too, find intimidating at times) , what has helped me a lot is to remember to ride the hind end of the hrose. the image of riding the horse's hind end ONLY, as if he were an ostriche, helps me a lot.
give that mental image a go and tell me if that helps you to stay sitting back and kind of "scoop" the hrose in front of you .
Thank you for the tip about my legs. I'm so self concious about how weak they are cause it takes me so much effort to just do something a seasoned horse rider can do without thinking. Usually he does his crazy trot, that time though I was determined to get it and he picked it up beautifully :)
And yes I'm back!! For some reason I can only access this site at work. I have a feeling my brother put a child lock on it or something. Grrr haha!
Thanks for the advice on hands and confidence!
Which I'm visiting him in January!!!!! <3 <3 <3
Thanks everyone for your kind comments. I will get over this fear of cantering. I think the main reason being I can't cue it properly. If I could do that, I'd feel more confident.
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