First canter, and I'm a bit confused! - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By tinyliny
  • 1 Post By bsms
  • 2 Post By Skyseternalangel
  • 2 Post By Prinella
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-27-2012, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Italy
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First canter, and I'm a bit confused!

Hi everyone
I finally managed to canter (if someone remembers the post where I complained about the horse not moving!), since my teacher gave me a small, sweet (maybe a little shy) mare, and this time everything was great... apart from me being quite confused about it! I've seen videos and read articles, but when on the saddle.. things are harder D: My question is.. when I'm cantering, should I squeeze my legs around the horse? if yes, what part? Knees, tighs, calves? Or should I just put my weight in the stirrups? I was bouncing so much I was afraid to fall and the horse went back to trot when she felt I didn't have the right balance My next lesson is tomorrow, and I'd like to have at least a clear idea of what I am supposed to do! (homework LOL)
Thanks again, you're very kind and helpful to new riders
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-27-2012, 02:36 PM
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Well, it just takes some time and experience to get the feel right, so don't worry if you bounce around some. Everyone does in the beginnning.

YOu think about your butt being kind of glued to the saddle, so when the saddle goes forward, your butt must also go foward. your job is to ride your own butt, since it is locked with the saddle. So, the more you grip with your legs, the harder it is for you to stay balanced over your own butt. Hard to explain, but basically, sit up straight, try to be kind of "heavy" downward into the saddle, and don't grip the horse with your lower legs.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-27-2012, 04:42 PM
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One approach is discussed in this thread:

That is what makes my horses happy.

The other approach is to actively follow along with the horse's motion. It was described to me as trying to polish the saddle with your butt while cantering. Maybe it is my age or my stiff back, but I find it hard to do. When I try, my horses want to stop cantering about 4 times faster - and I don't blame them.

If I start in something close to a two point, then after 4-5 strides I can start to settle back a little. How much varies with the day & horse.

Here is how it feels to me:

Imagine the horse's back is a 2x6 beam. The front is hinged to the withers. The back end rises and falls with the thrust of the hind legs. If my weight is balanced over the stirrup bars and my rump barely touches the seat of the saddle, then the motion near the 'hinge' is less and it is easier for me to be smooth. The more I settle back, the more flex I need in my back...and it just isn't there. I can sort of do it with my mare, but my Appy...well, on him I look like I'm flying in formation with him if I try to settle into the saddle! OUr little mustang pony, OTOH, has a trot that makes you pee blood, but a glass smooth canter...go figure.
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-27-2012, 09:55 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
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Hehe I asked the same question to my coach. You have to find your groove.

It feels like waves. It's a natural motion with your hips as soon as you figure out how to loosen up.. like dancing!

Your butt is glued to the saddle, your hips move in a wavelike motion (a circle) forward and up, then back down. It's best not to hold on, but to allow your weight to sink down and allow yourself not to brace or get stiff riding.

At first it may be helpful to hold mane or get a saddle strap to hold on if you're on the lungeline.
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-28-2012, 05:38 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Italy
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I tried again today, and it was great! The paint has recovered well from his rest and today he was simply fantastic, he has a really smooth canter, and I found it nice and easy to follow! I followed your advice, I kept my feet well positioned and calves steady on the horse (loose tighs and knees), and if it happened to lose the stirrups (we have the security stirrups) I just cantered without, and I found it much easier to sink in the saddle that way :)
I am soo happy! That oldie is a teacher more than a horse
Thank you!!
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-28-2012, 05:52 AM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Melbourne
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Gotta love old schoolies! Yup I've got a few students that canter better without stirrups. They've got nothing to brace against and seem to want to stay in the saddle more!
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