Critique his canter and my position? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-10-2014, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Critique his canter and my position?

I have been training this (we believe to be) Standardbred cross gelding named Charlie for about 3 1/2 - 4 months now. We have both made a lot of progress in that short amount of time alone and I'm curious to hear what others think.

Here's my most recent video of us in a lesson:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHZoqbb16uc

A few things I know that I need to work on personally is keeping my leg back, my hand soft, elbows bent, and sit a little taller.
As for Charlie I think his biggest thing is he likes to be counter-bent most of the time and still has some trouble steering.

I've worked extremely hard to get Charlie to get smooth canter departures, such as the one in the video, because 4 months ago you would drop dead before he'd pick up a canter that nicely or quickly!

So yeah, I'm curious to know what others think of his canter and my position! Especially if anyone has any good advice. Thanks
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-10-2014, 08:16 PM
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The thing that I see immediately is that you are coming way up out of the saddle, then your bottom is slapping the saddle and you come back up. Why??? because you need to bring your shoulders back,,back to AT LEAST in line with your hips. Stop the video at 0:36 and you'll see how high out of the saddle you are, and how much in front of your hips the shoulders are.This is a very unsafe position to be in and will make it much more likely for you to come off if anything at all happens. It's not 2 point and it's not a sitting canter position either.
Is that an instructor in the center ????
There's another thread on here where TxHorseman has posted a very detailed description of a nice balanced seat...maybe you can find that ?
Imagine if you were holding a thin pole or yard stick and it should go from the back of your heel, thru the center of your hip (seat area--centered from front to back--does that make sense?), to the center of your shoulder (middle of the top of your arm). Hope that makes a nice picture for you.
For the canter, the shoulders back even a bit further can help , your butt needs to be deep in the saddle and your body/butt should move forward and back with the horse's movement --you dont do any moving--just go with the horse's canter movement. NOT up and down AT ALL. Your shoulders should be pretty still ,,although it takes a trained eye to realize the riders seat is all that's moving,,,,not the shoulders.
Also, for what its worth, slapping the saddle with your seat for very long at all can possibly give your horse a sore back, and make him not care for cantering.
If that is an instructor in the center and she/he has not tried to correct your position, you need a new instructor! for your safety and the horse's comfort.
Looking at the very first frame in the video, your shoulders are nearly back far enough, it would help you, imho to soften your back (not be so concave) and it would really help you and help the horse balance if you can ride with a much looser rein. This is part of what's pulling you forward-the short rein...imho. But then, I ride on a very loose rein , so I could sure be wrong about that.
He looks tight in the neck to me,and that might be making his stride choppy feeling, though it doesnt look too bad to me. He did pick up the canter pretty nicely for you ! I'm not sure if he's so much counter bent, and looking out, would need to look again to say.
My instructor had me ask for canter, then canter only a few strides. Get used to the transition..that first leap into the canter , esp. from trot, is the hardest part of riding the canter for a lot of people. Then once I could get a nice transition AND keep my butt in the saddle...those darned forward shoulders!!...I got to increase the distance. It is a slow , but safe and confidence building process...and I'm still working on it myself, so I know your struggles first hand. The last few times I asked for canter-not in a lesson--I was doing exactly what you are doing....coming out of the saddle and slapping the seat. *sigh* but I didnt keep going around the arena, I trotted or halted after just a few strides/slaps.
I hope this is helpful to you. You will get it !! stay safe and have fun!
Fay
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-10-2014, 08:42 PM
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The horse is bent to the outside and sort of strung out, as mslady said, you are almost in a two point position, but not holding it, you are bouncing back on the saddle. You need to sit on your sit bones, deeply, relax your lower back and get your shoulders back and chest out. That is a start, until you can master that, there is no need to critique further. Keep practicing, if you like riding now, just wait until you can master the position, you will be having a blast!
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-10-2014, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the critique! :)

I've noticed that my butt does come pretty high off the saddle, but I wasn't sure if it were a good or bad thing, or how to fix it if it was bad. So thank you for the advice! Charlie is, sadly, not my horse and I don't have the money to lease, so I can't really ride outside of lessons. However, I will be getting some leasing money soon enough, so I will definitely work on my canter position!

And yes, the woman standing in the middle of the ring is my instructor. She isn't the best about explaining everything, especially when it comes to things like the canter position. She mostly will just acknowledge the problem, but not explain how to fix it. I like her as a trainer, but I would like to switch barns at some point. But sadly the only barns within a reasonable distance of my house are too expensive, or are Dressage or Western only. (Honestly the only discipline I truly want to ride is Hunter/Jumper) Plus it'd be EXTREMELY hard to leave Charlie behind. So for now, I'm kinda stuck here. :/

But really, thank you for explaining this to me! I will use your advice whenever I can! You're the first person to explain it in a way that makes sense, as well as explain to me a solution to fix the problem! Thank you! :)
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-10-2014, 09:31 PM
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This is written from a western perspective, although with a lot of time in an Australian style saddle, so take it with a huge cup of FWIW:

One of my worst habits was bracing against the stirrups. Combine that with short stirrups, and all I did was bounce at a canter. What helped me in the space of a couple of tries was lowering my stirrups until bracing against them would not be effective anyway. Once I could not brace, I quickly learned the motion and felt comfortable moving with the horse. Only more recently have I learned to shorten my stirrups and still relax my legs. Since I'm not interested in jumping, I mostly keep them long regardless - it makes it easier for me to relax my leg around my horse, and no one complains too much about a western rider having his legs too long!

If you think you might be bracing, talk with your instructor.

Here is another thread I found very helpful when I was still riding English regularly:

https://www.horseforum.com/english-ri...f-seat-120340/

For the record, I miss maura's inputs on this forum...

Here is a good video, I think:

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post #6 of 18 Old 09-11-2014, 01:02 AM
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if this horse is a standard bred, who is more than likely bred to pace, then you've done well in working on his canter. that should not be forgotten. always remember where you came from and what you had to work with when you make any kind of critique.

I only saw one canter depart in the video (somehow I was expecting more, since this was mentioned in your post). anyway, it seemed that there was not as much preparation as I would expect. by that I mean getting him to soften to the inside and maybe a half halt to get him "ready". But, if he's a horse that has been tense about the cnater before, too much fussing before the actual 'ask' can put him into a state of resistance and predispose him to tension. it is up to the rider to sometimes make the call of whether or not to allow him to take the canter counter bent, or to work on the bend prior to the canter depart.

more work getting him soft and bent at the trot will benefit his canter. doing leg yield at trot, and spiral in/out will help.
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-11-2014, 11:50 AM
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His depart was calm, and that I like, but he is still dragging himself with his shoulders into the canter and then counter bending; which you had mentioned. Now that he is better about cantering, I would not accept a canter transition that didnt have him bent to the inside at least. As above people have said, half halt, ask him for inside bend and prepare him for the canter.

Soften you hands, bend your elbows and when he starts evading you when you ask for the transition (which he does from the trot here) I would go back and try again. My trainer will make me redo transitions until they are calm and correct.

I ride dressage, so I do sit a bit more vertical than H/J I believe???, but some tips with cantering that have helped me, the puppet string going through your body, pulling you vertical, sandbags on your legs to keep them long and in line with your shoulder, and make sure your butt scoops or "polishes" your saddle, so you arent bouncing out of it.
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-12-2014, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
Here is a good video, I think:
I thought of this very video myself, but you beat me to it.

Fay

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post #9 of 18 Old 09-12-2014, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaCharles View Post
And yes, the woman standing in the middle of the ring is my instructor. She isn't the best about explaining everything, especially when it comes to things like the canter position. She mostly will just acknowledge the problem, but not explain how to fix it. I like her as a trainer, but I would like to switch barns at some point. But sadly the only barns within a reasonable distance of my house are too expensive, or are Dressage or Western only. (Honestly the only discipline I truly want to ride is Hunter/Jumper) Plus it'd be EXTREMELY hard to leave Charlie behind. So for now, I'm kinda stuck here. :/
Totally up to you on what you want to do with your own money..... but I would not pay for lessons from a trainer that does not teach me. I personally would find that to be a waste of money.

No matter what riding discipline you want to go into (Western or English), the basic fundamentals are the same --> Balanced seat.

Again, it's up to you, but if I were in your situation, I'd find a new trainer that is worth my money for lessons.
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post #10 of 18 Old 10-27-2014, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to everyone who gave me advice to fix my canter position! I really appreciate it! I've been working hard, and I've made a lot of progress since I've posted this thread.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkcLxxdhRJc&index=

Here's the most recent video of Charlie and I. It isn't the best video to compare to my original video, but it's the only one I have. (It's from my first schooling show last Saturday)

I really do appreciate the tips everyone has given me! And I've started taking private lessons with my trainer and she's been giving me much better advice, so that helps too. :)
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