Why is learning to canter so scary?
I love cantering (well, used to), once I'm in the canter and IF my seat is secure and I'm confidence, I really enjoy the feeling.
However, I think I psyched myself out every time my trainer ask for a canter. Sometimes the horse (lesson horse) will trot faster, and hot ****, that is scary. Then my trainer will scream, make him canter, he should do it right away when you ask. Then all of a sudden the horse thrust into the canter caught me by surprised. The whole thing just scares the bejesus out of me.
I cantered for the first time in 13 years and its the same feeling over again. The first time, my whole butt was out of the saddle, I don't know what I did. The second time was much better but I leaned way back.... Fail.
This is the way I ask for a canter. Ask the horse to trot, then I will sit the trot for a few strides, once gets to the corner, I move my outside leg behind girth, and gentle squeeze. Well, usually no response from lesson horses, trainer yells at me, then I have to kick with my outside leg. Then out of nowhere the horse will "fall" into the canter... Takes a few seconds before I felt safe...
Are these dumb beginners issue?
Personally, I agree with you, although I have completely different fears over cantering. I don't have access to an arena with enough room to canter, so all of my experience is outdoors. Aside from the fear that the horse will take the canter to a 1/4 mile run, I worry about my horse falling into gopher holes, spooking at a shadow, and tripping over pollen.
I have ridden on only one lesson horse and it was my worst riding experience. It was too old, too tired, and too pattern trained. I felt like a complete noob in the saddle.
Maybe a different lesson horse to build up confidence? One that doesn't require the instructor to scream at you? :shock:
When you say kick with the outside leg, does it mean to just lift up a little and kick with the heel? My trainer said I'm doing it cowboy style (I ride English). I lift my entire lower leg out and kick ( I swear this lesson horse is very lazy)
I would try having a crop. as long as they know you have it, lesson horses seem to listen more vs testing.
my last trainer kept telling me I couldmt get a canter from a trot from her lesson horse. I got it my last lesson. ;)
Canter always surprisea me for some reason. I think its scary too.
It's scary because a) it's a different feeling b) it can be big or fast c) you felt so balanced at walk and trot so not feeling balanced is a huge surprise.
Plus you use slightly different muscles to trot as you do to canter. How do I know this? The incredibly sore muscles of mine the next few days after I do canter lol..
It'll get better! Work on your core and focus on parking your butt down and allowing your hips to move along with your elbows.
I second having a crop/whip to reinforce your leg aid.
I've ridden lots of horses people say "oh, you won't get him to canter" and I always do. Usually without them running at the trot too. I never ride with spurs or whips, even on riding school horses that they say I must use one.
I always commit to getting the canter. I don't do a half hearted try and I never give up. From the moment I ask I'm not going to stop until I get a canter. I ask nicely first, and if they don't go I push them with my legs (not kicking just applying increasing heel pressure) and driving them forward with my seat and invariably they always do it.
I think there are a few mistakes beginners make with the canter. First is that they don't have a very strong position, which means that when that when they put their outside leg back and then the horse starts trotting fast they become unstable, sometimes leaning on the reins, or they stop pushing.
What I'd recommend is sitting back, heels down, when you put your outside leg back it doesn't have to go back far, you need to keep your position strong to push with your seat. And use your inside leg, I aid for the canter almost soley with my inside leg. Practice sitting trot and trotting without stirrups.
i hate lesson horses, those first few laps around the ring being tested by a mean old pony is not my cup of tea!
i FINALLY found my seat when cantering during my lesson last weekend. my trainer always says "organize yourself before you ask him to do something." which is really true. you don't wanna be bouncing around in the saddle when you ask because then its like you're being lifted into the air when they transition and you have no control.. definitely a scary feeling! make sure your heels are way down and your butt is planted in the saddle first. shorten your reins so you have plenty of control, keep your elbows bent. THEN you're ready to ask for the canter.
once it clicked with me in my last lesson i was able to get a canter just by using my seat with a little leg. all you need is confidence and practice!
There isn't anything wrong with going from a trot to a canter, or a walk to a canter. Both transitions are important to learn.
I agree with the above--get organized. Apply as much pressure as necessary.
I ride with a crop and spurs. If used correctly, they're just an extension of your natural aids.
Hopefully this helps!
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