Leg Strengthening for canter
Hi again -
Beginner adult here again ;-)
Getting my cantering going, but I'm solid enough now to notice a definite difference between my right and left lead abilities .. namely my markedly weaker left leg. Excuse my "French," but it craps out on me much more quickly.
Are there any off horse AD duction exercises I can do to get the leg strength - particularly with the weaker leg? Will continued 2 point practice help?
Do you have stairs in your house? Stand with your heels hanging over the edge, let them drop all the way down and hold for two seconds then bring them back up and hold for another two seconds. Keep doing it until you can no longer do them! I do them religiously 3x a day and swear by this workout for improving my calf muscles which will help you at the canter.
If you want a real workout, do the same exercise but with one foot at a time - so that your entire body weight is on that one foot as you stretch it down and bring it back up. My left leg was also weaker at one point and I worked that leg a lot more than the right leg.
There's a video showing how she does it, but I like to wait 2 seconds before bringing them back up. Of course, more riding will also help you! Lots of two point, especially two point without stirrups is good for strengthening.
Can you get your hands on a good old fashioned Suzanne Somers thigh master? I still use mine. It's great for leg strengthening.
If you can get someone to longe you, cantering without stirrups make strong legs very quickly. Hiking your stirrups up to the shortest hole and riding around like that, even at the walk, will give you rock hard legs very quickly too.
There is a difference between strength and stability. Riders do not need strength (inward) to be stable, and pinching legs would dull the horse's reponses to touches of the calf as well as cause the rider to be pushed upward on the saddle.
Stretching all the joints downward elastically w/o pushing them will help the rider to 'adhede' to the horse, and the lowering of the calf creates a 'bulked calf' (vs a mushy one if the heels/knees are down up...which cannot be felt as easily by the horse).
Working in two point, and work w/o stirrups w/o pinching with the knees (still toes higher than the heel) are great exercises (on a lunge) to stabilize the seat/balance.
The fact that the horse is not the same on both leads has more to do with the contact and the reaction to the leg (not the strength of the leg).
What makes you think this is about your legs? What happens in the canter on the right lead? What about the left? What are you trying to do?
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