Tips to canter confidently. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-15-2016, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Tips to canter confidently.

Alright so--I have only cantered a few times. Don't very long lasting though. I grabbed on to mane the whole time. I felt like his canter was so powerful if I let go, I would slide right off. Any tips? I love to post trot--I feel great. But transitioning to the canter is just so powerful and moving--pun intended. I try focusing on having my heels down and close to the horse to help balance.

How did you slowly keep balance by letting go of mane. I know practice makes perfect--just wanting to keep some things in mind while getting that canter down.

Thanks guys!
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-15-2016, 04:00 PM
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How's your sitting trot?

Can you sit comfortably, relaxed and keep your heels down while sitting the trot? Work on keeping the derriere planted to the saddle and relaxing at the trot before moving onto the canter.
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-15-2016, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenkat86 View Post
How's your sitting trot?

Can you sit comfortably, relaxed and keep your heels down while sitting the trot? Work on keeping the derriere planted to the saddle and relaxing at the trot before moving onto the canter.

I can now sit the trot comfortably. Hence my ambition to want to move forward at the canter.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-15-2016, 07:30 PM
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Bearing in mind I'm just learning myself, I thought you might find my experience helpful (or not!)

While I've been learning the sitting trot I was taught to lean back, not massively far, just enough that you have to use your core muscles to keep you in place. The actual lean is probably only a few degrees. I couldn't sit the trot until I did this, and it felt as though I was going to be vaulted forward over the horse's shoulder in both sitting trot and canter.

I've done a fair bit of reading on the topic to help myself, and people do seem to say that leaning forward at all makes it more likely you'll fall off. I know it feels like leaning forward and holding on is the only way to secure your seat, but I found that although shifting my weight back is difficult, I was more secure in this position. Now I just need to work on letting go of the pommel! I strongly suspect that once I'm capable of letting go I should be able to manage the canter, as I couldn't do the rising trot until I stopped holding on.

You mentioned that you were having trouble with the transition from posting trot to canter, perhaps you would find it easier if you begin in sitting trot to start with? That way you are going from sitting to sitting, rather than rising to sitting. I know I find it hard to park my weight deep in the saddle once I've started rising trot. Once you get used to sitting trot > canter you can then practice rising trot > canter.

Is there any way you could use a grab strap, instead of holding the mane? It's probably easier to hang onto, especially with one hand. Is the horse you're riding particularly bouncy? Perhaps you could try on a less bouncy horse?
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-15-2016, 07:32 PM
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Lean BACK, not forward. Our instinct is to lower our center of gravity by leaning forward, but our balance is really best with our body lined up with our leg...like doing a standing squat.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-15-2016, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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My trainer did say lean back--I suppose I was leaning too far back because she also kept saying sit up. Ha.

What makes things hard is that The horse I ride sometimes bolts into the canter. So I hardly prepare to transition before he starts to canter.
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-15-2016, 08:00 PM
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This may sound daft, but could you practice at home on a chair? If you sit astride the chair the wrong way round, and sit up perfectly straight and analyse how that feels in terms of body position and how you are using your abdominal muscles. Then tilt yourself very slightly backwards, just a little bit, until you can start to feel that you are holding yourself in position with your core and stomach muscles. That way you don't have to worry about a moving horse, and can practice assuming the position.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-16-2016, 01:42 AM
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A gym ball works to practice, not sure if it is best for starting, but it really helped me when I was trying to get confidence back, I would 'rise' to the trot, then sit, then ask, and 'feel' the transition. I found once I had everything in place on my ball, I found it a lot easier to get it while riding
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-16-2016, 09:20 AM
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It is much easier to ride the canter of some horses than that of others. In some cases this is due to the movement of the canter itself; in others, it is due to acceleration. Following the motion of a cantering horse is easiest if the rider is relaxed. It is easier to relax on a horse the rider trusts. The right horse can aid learning, especially in the initial stages. If this is possible for you, I would recommend it. Whether you can do this or not, the following information may prove useful.

Instructors advise riders to lean forward or backward by what they see, not by what the rider feels. The feel of leaning backwards or forwards may change with experience and with changes in muscle memory. Advice on leaning forward or backward may also vary depending on how the instructor perceives the horse to be balanced. For example, the instructor may advise a rider to lean back somewhat on a horse that is already heavy on the front end. On a more balanced horse, the instructor may advise leaning forward to better stay with the accelerating motion. When first learning, a rider should follow the instructor’s advice even if it “feels” wrong. This, of course, assumes a good instructor.

Releasing tension in one’s muscles makes it easier for those muscles to move. This allows the rider to better follow the movements of his horse and to make any subtle changes to maintain balance. Riders can easily maintain their position on a horse’s back when the horse is walking no matter how they sit. Therefore, they usually pay little attention to how they sit and follow their horse’s movement. Sitting well and following a horse’s movement becomes more difficult when the horse is trotting or cantering. Learning to do so is also more difficult at this stage. Paying attention to the balance and movements of one’s body in the easier movements makes doing so easier when the horse’s movements become more exaggerated.

Training riders and horses to work in harmony.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-16-2016, 01:12 PM
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I don't have much to add to this but I've found two things that are pretty much universal when I ride..

-- If I'm distracted/not thinking about it, I ride much better than if I'm concentrating on trying to do it right

-- If I hold on to something with my hands, I invariably "let go" everywhere else, which is no bueno because then it all falls apart. I know it's tough, but do your best not to grab anything with your hands, or try to keep it to a brief balance check if you do. (At best, I'll rest my hand on the pommel when cantering just in case they decide to make a sudden change of direction/speed. But I don't actually grip anything, and I still try to avoid doing that whenever possible.)
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