I'm learning how to canter bareback in my riding lessons but I can't stay on long enough. I either fall off or slip and pull on the reins to stop. I can trot bareback and I can go over poles but cantering is harder.
I don't know if I'm just unconfident or if I'm doing something wrong...
Anyone have any tips for me? Like leg positioning or anything?
Hmm... maybe you are getting tense? When I ride bareback and I tense up, it is harder to stay on because I bounce around, and then it's uncomfortable for the horse and they hollow out their back which makes it even HARDER to stay on! I don't know how other people ride bareback but I just try to wrap my legs around the horse. Grab a little mane, if you want, to stay balanced.
Have you tried multiple horses? I know some ponies can be smoother than others.
Somethings to try though would be keep your heels down with your weight in them, imagine huge weights hanging off your ankles pulling you around the horses barrel. Are you very comfortable cantering in a saddle? Can you anticipate the rhythm and move your back/pelvis freely with the horse? Grab a little mane too if needed and use the neck for support until you strengthen the muscles needed and get a good feel for the gait. So overall, relax and soften your self like you want your horse to be, moving as one.
Goodluck! I love cantering bareback, really great one on one with the horse, exhilarating :D
The horse I ride IS pretty bouncy...maybe thats part of it...I'll ask to try on a smoother horse...
have you cantered with a saddle but no stirrups? it might be easier to try that first. You still have a little bit of the security of the saddle keeping you on the horse but you are gaining vital leg muscles that will help you stay on the horse when you ride bareback.
IMO troting is WAYYY harder than a canter or gallop bareback. i NEVER ride in a saddle, unless it is at a show. With a trot bareback i am tence and when i gallop or canter bare back i just let my feet dangle and let the reins go, and i feel as free as a mustang!!
I think you're just tensing. My trainer always discussed and asked if I'd rather trot or canter when riding bareback - And I'd always want to canter. It's a smoother and more relaxing gait. Just have confidence in yourself, relax and find the movement of the horse.
i think it is you tensing up, because cantering bareback is more comfortable than trotting, no matter what size the horse is, i find its only difficult to canter bareback when the horse wont stay in the canter and is consantly trotting the canter,
relax, breathe, sit back but not to far
I do the same thing i think its just i am not very good at the trot the canter i find nice and smooth if you hold on ; and dont tense but i struggle with the trotting part :(
Don't grip with your legs. If you tighten the muscles in your legs, it will tighten your hips, and they won't move with the horse but will resist the movement all together. Rock back, you'll think you're leaning too far back, but probably not far enough. My old trainer said it was like your hips are a cup, and you're scooping up a cup of water with each canter stride. I was in a saddle at the time, but the movement is still the same.
I also wouldn't recommend grabbing mane, because it could put you in a perching position, leaning forward, hands too low and close together. What you could try if you want a handle is a bareback pad and a vaulting surcingle if you have one, and someone could lunge you. Or, take a stirrup leather and put it around your horses neck. It can come up high enough that you don't have to lean forward to grab like you would mane.
Once you get the hang of it, you won't ever want to stop. I love to canter bareback, it's exhilarating. =]
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