Some basic cantering questions
I have a few cantering questions perhaps you all can help me out.
1. How to keep my upper body quiet? Does your arm stay the same level but move forward and back? I think i move it too much sometimes, and when I'm trying not to do that, my trainer said i'm not moving my arm enough so my body is moving to compensate. What's the best way to do this?
2. Canter depart- now i have this problem with only one horse, when i was riding other well trained, been there done that horses, I don't have any issues asking to canter. With this particular horse, he would not canter when I attempt to sit tall, (i tried to sit tall, almost leaning back but I suspect i failed at this because his trot is kinda bouncy and I can barely sit without flopping around). Not sure if it's because of that making him imbalance , he would not canter when I ask him at the corners with a few sitting trots before approaching. I felt like i'm chasing him so i stop trying after a few times.
I reverted to cantering from a walk, and it's the easiest and smooth transition ever. Sit tall and deep, outside leg behind girth, inside leg on girth, squeeze and i see his head bobs, smooth canter transition.
What am i doing wrong here with the trot-canter transition?
I'd recommend doing some lunge lessons to help you with learning to sit the canter quietly. That way your trainer can keep the horse motivated while you only have to worry about your own body position. I taught all of my students to have quiet hands and a quiet seat by having them hold onto a strap at the front of the saddle while I lunged them. This way you can hold yourself in with the strap, so you don't bounce, and so that you can learn the feel of having a correct seat. Don't hold on to the strap for dear life, but hook your index finger at the corners and stay relaxed. You should feel the rolling motion of the horse cantering. Let your hips move with them while keeping your upper body upright and relaxed. After a few rides holding onto the strap, try letting go and see if you can relax into your seat, just like if you were holding on.
Your hands should remain quiet and steady. They should very slightly follow the nod of the horse's head. Don't pump your arms, but think of a rubber band that gives a little bit. You should have an elastic connection from your hands to the horse's mouth. Not pulling on the horse, but not having slack in the reins.
For canter transitions, I would again go back to lunge line lessons. I would have to guess that you are sitting too deep and leaning too far back in the saddle when you ask for the depart. When you drive your seat bones into the horse, they will tend to rush rather than lifting into the canter. Sit light, lift your inside hip very slightly, and cue for the canter. That way the horse can jump through into a nice canter transition.
A few lunge lessons should help you with learning the transitions. Also, I recommend doing some no stirrup work to help you build a stronger seat and teach you to feel the horse.
Hope that helps!
Likely you are tight in your lower body which is causing the movement to escape through your upper body. Your lower body is supposed to absorb the movement from trotting or walking or cantering. Breathe down into your horse, stretch your legs down, no clamping and ride the horse through into the canter. Drive with your seat, squeeze/cue with your legs, hands down.
Great!!! I think i had another comment that if I can lengthen and deepen my legs, and steady hands, it will all come together :)
It is really not very pratical for me to get lunge lessons. I am usually in group lessons....
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