Canter is great until its fast - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-23-2019, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Canter is great until its fast

I'm just learning canter, and it tends to go fine at first but then the horse speeds up, usually because the other horse is. My trainer says grab mane, but I think that's when it goes south. I then lose rein contact and then hold on with my legs, and they go faster, etc. So I'm thinking if I can keep my reins and just try to keep the canter slow? I love it when it's slow, but I've fallen of a few times when they speed up, so it's hard not to panic when they do.
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-23-2019, 11:32 PM
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Is everyone cantering as a group? that sounds like a recipe for trouble, especially for beginners.


The way we did it, back when I took lessons, is that I only cantered as long as things were in control. As soon as I felt myself falling forward, or the canter getting strung out, my trainer had me pull the horse back to a trot. Being able to control the canter with my reins AND seat came later, and then I became able to slow it without haveing to bail out of it.



these things take time, but better many short, 'good' canters, than one long 'bad' one.

First you get with the horse, then you get the horse with you.
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-23-2019, 11:33 PM
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A great exercise to build your confidence and improve your seat in the canter is to go into the canter for two to three strides and then go back down to a trot/walk, so that you can practice the canter and focus really hard for a few strides before it gets too fast and starts to get out of control, and then just slow back down. Eventually you will be able to stay in a slow, relaxed canter for long amounts of time.

Another thing that can help yourself and your horse stay calm when going at a faster speed is (I know it sounds silly, but) humming a song or tune. My trainer always has me do this when I get nervous or my horse gets too fast, and it really helps!

I hope this helps and good luck!
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-24-2019, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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I think you guys are spot on so far for suggestions. I'd like to try short bits of canter, and build confidence I can slow down. This is just me and my trainer riding, sometimes she's also on a horse.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-24-2019, 12:24 AM
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Push your heels down rather than just holding on with your leg, bring your shoulders tall to the sky, and push your hands slightly forward and lower them a little to grab some mane. You might consider shortening your reins before you go up to canter so that when you put them forward they aren't too long. Try to sit up tall if the horse goes faster.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-24-2019, 06:59 AM
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I totally disagree with holding onto the mane.

For a novice this will put them leaning forward, their legs will go back and grip making the horse go faster.

Hat I would tell you to do is tomtake both reins in one hand and, if Riding English, insert two fingers under the front of the saddle and pull up. This will encourage you to sit deeper, help you balance and no need to grip with your lower leg.

Of riding western pull up on the horn.
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-24-2019, 07:12 AM
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An issue I had was I would stare too much at the horses ears which would tip me forward. I had to look up, think positive (woohoo let's do this!) and remember to look where I wanted to go. My horse used to go so fast as to motorbike corners out of anxiety at the start, what a horrible feeling! I did NOT consent to a barrel racing style of ride lol! I will say in a group though it's impossible to work the canter, or so I felt. When out hacking/trail riding you don't really have a choice and it's different if the terrain is a bit bumpy. In the arena they just wanna stay nose to tail all the time and unless you've got that balance you can't really stop them rushing to keep up until you're a bit more experienced. I actually found even just a single private lesson to focus on the canter would help me immensely. Is that a possibility for you?
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-24-2019, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shortyhorses4me View Post
I then lose rein contact and then hold on with my legs, and they go faster, etc.
Why does "losing rein contact" cause you to hold with your legs? You should hold yourself in your saddle with your legs, just not below the knees, so your hands can follow the horse's head with loose shoulders and elbows.

Have you considered cantering while on a lunge line under your trainer's control, so you don't need your hands at all?
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-24-2019, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shortyhorses4me View Post
I'm just learning canter, and it tends to go fine at first but then the horse speeds up, usually because the other horse is. My trainer says grab mane, but I think that's when it goes south. I then lose rein contact and then hold on with my legs, and they go faster, etc. So I'm thinking if I can keep my reins and just try to keep the canter slow? I love it when it's slow, but I've fallen of a few times when they speed up, so it's hard not to panic when they do.
Worry about a fast canter often leads to a fast canter. As you mentioned, you hold on with your legs and the horse goes faster. In effect, your legs are telling the horse to go faster. Consider the following.

Any time you grip, you tense your muscles. When you tense your muscles more than absolutely necessary, you restrict the ability of your muscles to move freely. This, in turn, limits your ability to follow your horse’s movements and make the necessary adjustments to remain in balance.

It is sometimes difficult to keep from tensing your muscles unnecessarily, especially when first learning to ride. Singing, humming, and talking calmly to the horse can help. Purposely allowing and feeling your body move with the movements of your horse at the walk and trot can help make doing so at the canter more natural.

When you release unnecessary tension in your muscles and simply balance your head above your spine, your bones support your weight and your muscles can move more freely. At the same time, gravity is allowed to do its work. Gravity will pull your seat deep into the saddle. Gravity with wrap your legs gently around your horse’s sides eliminating and need to “hold on”. Gravity will pull your legs downward. Gravity will hold your feet to the stirrups. Gravity will draw your heels lower than your toes; this will eliminate the need to “push” your heels down which causes unnecessary muscular tension. Then, just allow your body to move with your horse as you balance your center of gravity over your horse’s center of gravity. This balance may alter the “uprightness” of your body depending on the speed of the horse; don’t worry about this – think balance.

As you practice what is described in the above paragraph, you will develop and independent seat. This means that your hands and body may be used to control your horse rather than simply “hold on”.
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-24-2019, 01:23 PM
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Wait a minute -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shortyhorses4me View Post
I'm just learning canter, and it tends to go fine at first but then the horse speeds up, usually because the other horse is...
and
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shortyhorses4me View Post
This is just me and my trainer riding, sometimes she's also on a horse.
Something doesn't sound right with this - sounds like your trainer is at least partially causing this problem, when she's the one who has the knowledge to control her horse as well as the responsibility of keeping you in a state where you can learn!
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