Bareback Canter Critique
Okay you guys, I'm a really shy person, and i'm putting myself out there. So be honest, but not brutal.
I am by no means a good bareback rider, I can win ribbons in the hunter ring, and I compete actively in team penning and sorting (although, I am by no means a great rider) and i'm fairly confident in myself. Although, as soon as i get on bareback, My heels no longer stay down, and I find myself gripping more with my legs, and moving my upper body more than I normally do. And i end up in a bit of a chair seat.
Stitch is super smooth, but he has big ground covering movements, and the fact that I wasn't trying to collect him in this video he got his head up and hollowed his back out a little, but I didn't care much. So don't mention that, simply my riding. And what I can do to improve.
What I see:
Bouncy(for some reason I just cannot steady myself nicely)
Hanging on with legs
Heels not down
I hope this works, i'm not good with technology.
Oh and it was also starting to rain, although you probably can't tell.
You critiqued yourself pretty well and I really think what you need to do to improve is take it back to the raw beginnings of bareback riding. You're far too tight, I'm not a trainer by any means, but I always tell my nieces that they need to keep their core tight, sink their weight into their heels, and loosen their hips so they can move with their horse.
I don't think you're really ready to be cantering bareback yet. Can you post a trot bareback? Sit one nicely? It's just like a lot of other things in riding, you need the building blocks to be really successful.
My kids are started at a combination of halt/walk. They learn to touch their horse's poll (well neck because their arms aren't long enough), ride with their hands out, touch toes, touch the rump, etc, etc. I want them to learn how to keep themselves on top of the horse without anything holding them. They walk with their hands out to the sides and repeat all of the above exercises, and then on to a trot to do the same things. None of them are at a canter yet because of limited time, but we'll hit that point, hopefully this summer for the eldest.
Obviously a lunge lesson is awesome for all of this or an uber safe horse and environment. A lot of it is related to being really fit as well and just practice. I am a terrible bareback rider when I re-start in the spring, by fall I will gallop a horse without hesitation bareback.
ETA - I'm glad you didn't get after your boy for hollowing and raising his head, he was doing so because of your actions as a rider. Basically he was hollowing to evade your seat, IMO. I mean no offense at all obviously, but he wasn't being a stinker, just reacting to the pressure IMO.
I've never really actually rode bareback, more just for fun. So I don't really know what i'm doing that much. I can sit a trot bareback just fine, heels down, horse doesn't hollow out to evade my seat (And i know that was what he was doing, he's such a saint for putting up with me. I love him) I have been able to post bareback in the past, I just haven't done it much. This video was my 5th time cantering him bareback.
I do not have a video of the trot, or I would post it. I'm pretty confident at the walk and trot bareback, and can do so without hesitation. I have a couple pictures, but they may be blurry
(my hand is funny there because I am itching my leg)
This one is blurry, so there's probably no point in me even posting it. Not sure why i did.
My daughter had her first ever bareback ride last weekend and I saw much of the same, although she didn't seem to have as much upper body motion as you did..but that could be attributable to the smoothness of her pony as opposed to your horse.
I'll be following your thread with interest and relaying what I learn to her.
If you can sit and post a trot bareback just fine, then you probably just need little extra work to get to the bareback canter point.
If your boy lunges I would get someone to lunge you while you ride bare back. Start out trotting, hands out at your shoulders (obviously grab hold of the mane if you start to lose balance) and concentrate on your seat and legs. Do all of the little movements I went over and anything you can think of that requires you to keep your seat while moving your body in a weird way. When you're feeling comfortable move to cantering.
I really think it's because you aren't relaxed enough to just let your body flow, so you're tensing up and making a mess of yourself. Either because you need more trot work, you aren't in good enough shape, or because you need to decrease the variables by loosing the reins so you can concentrate on yourself and not directing your horse.
Hopefully that makes sense, my computer is sucking and that's the third time I've typed that response!
I wouldn't say that Stitch isn't smooth, I think he just moves big. If that makes sense.
Understanable. Way better than I'd do if I was to try, I'm sure. ;)
I just watched the video of my daughter that I took during our initial bareback groundwork and sure enough she had a lot of bounce (she hasn't figured out how to sit the trot deep enough bareback yet), her heels were WAY up (the complete opposite of her norm) and her legs had a lot of flop. So yes, it's a work in progress as you too are experiencing.
She did actually end up cantering for about 5 or 6 seconds rather accidentally during this groundwork and she rode it well, but she said her instinct was to clamp on with her legs...which is a problem as her pony is a very energetic mover and she interpreted that as "go faster" of course. Instead she seemed to have them too loose (aka, the flop) so she'll have to figure that out.
It certainly looks like an art.
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