Sitting the canter on my horse.
I usually have no problem sitting the canter on any other horse that I've ridden, but on Misti I cannot for the life of me sit it. I think the difference is when I got on the other horses I was able to relax and have fun because they were well broke horses. So I flow with the motion better. Misti on the other hand is a greenie (getting better but still..) that has bucked me off and galloped off with me numerous times, so I'm more cautious. I'm thinking that because I get anxious I tense up which causes me to bounce around.
I've tried so many different methods such as, taking away stirrups, having someone lunge her while cantering, cantering an small circles, cantering in straight lines, etc. But no matter what her canter is so bouncy!
I'm not sure what to do. As of right now I like her trot better than her canter, and saying that is something because her trot is insanely bouncy too.
Right now my first step is to work on her balance on a lunge line and see if it has any affects. Am I headed in the right direction?
Any ideas or tips would be appreciated(: Thank you!
Do you have an enclosed area you could practice cantering in?
It won't help with the bucking but if you have a round pen at least she won't be able to take off at a gallop to who knows where!
Yes there is an indoor arena, but it's really small and well she ran straight into the gate last time we cantered in there. I'm working in a big outdoor arena, keeping small circles around a cone.
It could also be that the circles are getting to both of you. A young green horse that is not good with the canter or has the strength to do the canter well is super bouncy. You can tense and worried it makes you stiff, so you are stiff in the saddle so it makes it worse. I know you want to do circles as you makes it so the silly horse cant be silly and buck and run away. Well for right now I would try cantering bigger circles. So your horse does not have to reach far under himself to keep the canter. Young horses have problems with this. The horse I was ridding a few months ago had the same problem. I set his butt a few times when he tried to run away and he soon learned it does not pay off the run away.
My gelding is pretty fit, but he had troubles cantering decent on the lunge line (and in the saddle) for more than a few strides. I would say work on trotting and cantering on the lunge line, build up to where she can canter in smaller circles and hold it for a few laps. I started out slow with my gelding. If he would give me three good strides of canter, he got praised and rubbed and he was happy to know he did it right. From there he caught on, and not only was mentally willing, but after a while he was more physically capable of supporting himself.
Once you know she is physically capable of doing it, it is time for you to come into play. I'm working on sitting the canter now, too, and these are some helpful tips I've gotten in the past years. If you can, ride with one hand, and put the other on the saddle horn. Don't clench onto it and hold yourself forward, sit back and push back on the horn - push yourself into the saddle. Put your reins in one hand, and push on the saddle horn at the trot, get a feel for it, then ask for the canter. Give her enough of her face where she can use her body. Getting used to holding her tight isn't going to help you out in the long run, nor teach her to use herself properly and trust you. Make sure to move your hips with her, and it will come with more and more practice.
Just like she had to build the muscle memory to canter, you do as well. When I worked on this at a clinic in a huge out door arena, their were plenty of times that I had to stop and keep myself from tipping too far to one side. It would only take one bouncy stride to get a little out of place. Get someone who is knowledgeable that you can trust to help you and give you pointers. Practice with other, trained horses who don't have perfect canters, but you know they won't kill you if you're flopping around. Good luck. :)
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