cantering vent UGH!
I have been ridiculously afraid to canter. I don't know why, I started riding when I was 12 and I was brave as anything, I would gallop my gelding out in the fields never fearing anything. When i was 21 I stopped ridding for a while when i got pregnant. last year(at 24) i started riding again and then i got a 14year old OTTB. I'll admit when I got her I was scared of her, she was a bit crazy(she came from a kill pen and was understandably stressed out) So for 4 months I did nothing but ground work with her, but that wasn't enough so i found a trainer on craigslist who came out a few days a week for very little money. We got Bella;s training started(turned out she already knew a lot she just needed someone with the confidence to refresh her memory). She did most of the riding, and when i did ride her i just walked, I tried trotting twice and almost fell off both times, it was my first time riding in an english saddle and trying to post. sadly in november she moved and I slacked off with Bella's training because of the weather. In january I started taking riding lessons and learning how to actually ride english, since i've only ridden western. Everything started to come together, finally got the posting down, but when it came to cantering i just have a huge mental Block. In april I moved my mare from my house up to where I take lessons to start working with her again with the help of my instructor/barn owner, she said she wouldn't charge me for lessons but would help me work with her and be there when I rode and help me out. Her trot is fast and lofty so it took some getting used to compared to the slow paced lesson horse but things are going great with that, there are some young riders there who ride Bella w/t/c and jump. On friday I asked if I could ride Molly, the lesson horse again because I wanted to try to canter. I cantered her and it was great. So today I tried to canter bella and it was a DISASTER! well maybe not but it felt like it, I'm not even 100% sure what happened but I think after a few strides she took a turn hard and I lost my balance, i almost fell off but I grabbed mane, then my reins were too long and I couldn't stop her. UGH I was so shaken I had to get off:oops:, I had Alexa get on her and work her some more but I ended up running out of time because I had to be back at work...Why is cantering so difficult for me, I used to love to canter. Everyone always says how smooth and comfortable Bella's canter is, It's so frustrating that I can't do it. When I go and ride her again I'm planning to try again, but I'm worried after today I'm going to be even more nervous about it.
Why not but Bella in a western saddle?
Not to be too hard on yourself. OTTB's can be pretty daunting. They are FAST! I think perhaps more time on a trusty school horse.
Also, you might really ask yourself, with an open mind, is Bella the right horse for you NOW, where you are in life at this point. We aren't the same person at 24 as at 12, and you have a child, no? Your happiness and safety are paramount. Perhaps a more settled horse would give you that wonderful feeling of freedom you used to have at 12.
Ps . Just be glad you got to ride as a kid. I rode very little as a child and had to strat riding at 41!
Or try an Australian saddle. The poleys make you feel more secure. I agree with tinyliny, maybe a more settled horse will give you the confidence you have lost. I grew up barrel racing, galloping race horses, etc. Then went thru a stretch of being horseless and finally got back into them. For about a year I felt my confidence lacking but it came back with taking lessons and determination! Good luck.
I would do a few more sessions on a quiet school horse and really get your seat solid at the canter. Don't get frustrated, OTTBs can be a little intimidating and especially if you are trying to learn a new discipline of riding while trying to train. I agree with putting a western saddle on her.
i also get alittle intemidated to canter at times! Even Angel my 22 yr old QH has a faster gait at the canter (seriously...really fast...i have to sometimes stop her) she'll even start to throw her head that will throw me off balance too. sounds like you're working hard on getting to be a GREAT rider! :) So dont lose confidence..if your riding in western you always have the horn to hold on to :) i can understand in english though! So keep up the great work!
What do you mean when you are saying her trot is fast? I mean, my horse is fast, very fast in fact. Used to be a running horror. However with training she goes as fast as I ask her too (although she has her moments :wink: ). If you have nice balanced established trot (and such usually don't feel "fast"), then transition to canter and canter itself are much nicer, steadier, and balanced. If she tries to run on you I'd suggest to canter her in circles rather than going straight. Other than that only practice will bring you more confidence. :)
I think you started her out wonderfully, with the ground work - absolutely cannot go wrong there, and you've starded a bond with that process already taken, which again, is wonderful.
I would suggest, getting put on the lunge line if you can, and have your coach work with you step by step, to obtain your balance and security while on your horse. That way, if things start to go downhill, your coach can put a halt to everything, so that you can re-establish your security and balance, and then start over.
Have her start at the walk with you, and then when you have a solid lower leg, solid seat and strong core - when you are comfortable, move to the trot.
I would also have your coach put you on a lesson horse, where you can do reinless work - so you can solidify your security in your tack. Where you can work on your lower leg, your seat and find your balance and center.
Establish all your aids, to work together. Seat, legs, core, upper body, arms, hands, etc, etc.
The more and more you strengthen yourself in your tack, the more confident you will become. :D Then you will be ready for anything.
I wish you all the best, you'll get there! One step at a time!
I dont understand why would you get a horse that you were afraid of? I can understand wanting to learn a different style of riding, but why chose to do it on a horse that you dont have experience riding? Going from a slower, steady western horse to an OTTB is a big difference. I would ask around your barn to see if anyone has a quieter horse that you can learn english on (if you are still interested in learning) and have a more experienced rider on your horse for a while. If you cant handle her, why push your luck? Next time you ride, you could end up in the hospital. No one wants to see that happen. I would not suggest getting on this horse until you are not afraid of any gait, any style of riding. I would continue with the ground work. You will want to keep earning her respect and trust until you are ready to get back on her.
This horse needs a more experienced rider to put it back in consistant work for a while to work out the kinks. And in the mean time Rachel should learn how to post and balance on a quieter horse, one that wont try to buck her off. You're going to end up in the hospital, or fraustated that the two of you aren't improving.
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