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Discussion Starter #1
I need some help on my canter please.

Going to the right we seem to tilt. If you look at my saddle in the picture, it is not where it should be. It is actually sitting about two inches over to the left and not where it should be on her back.

It's not bad going to the left. We are centered with each other.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

canter.jpg
 

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It looks like her hind is sticking out and she's not stepping under herself. I would try to sit closer to the middle and use more inside leg to get her hind over.

I think your horse needs a more supporting outside rein, now that I think about it. Her nose is reaaaally tipped inward so she's falling in. Is this her stiffer side?
 

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It looks like her hind is sticking out and she's not stepping under herself. I would try to sit closer to the middle and use more inside leg to get her hind over.

I think your horse needs a more supporting outside rein, now that I think about it. Her nose is reaaaally tipped inward so she's falling in. Is this her stiffer side?

When you say her hind end is sticking out, do you mean her hind end is inside the circle? I just confused because using the inside leg, wouldn't that push her out more?

If she's falling in, wouldn't leaning to the middle make her fall in more?

I'm just confused, sorry.

It is her stiffer side. And when we canter to the right, the saddle is always tipping. What am I doing?? Am I over compensating for her to bring her up from falling in?
 

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it is kind of hard to tell but it looks like your hips may be shifting to the left and to compensate you are tipping your shoulders to the right. also i agree that your horse's head is definitely bent too far to the right
 

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When you say her hind end is sticking out, do you mean her hind end is inside the circle? I just confused because using the inside leg, wouldn't that push her out more?

If she's falling in, wouldn't leaning to the middle make her fall in more?

I'm just confused, sorry.

It is her stiffer side. And when we canter to the right, the saddle is always tipping. What am I doing?? Am I over compensating for her to bring her up from falling in?
I think so.

Think about it this way.. your outside leg is a gate so it needs to be closed shut so she doesn't 'escape' or she doesn't move sideways. You use your inside leg and tap her at the girth prompting her to keep from leaning in. How much inside leg you use depends on how well she responds.

But anyway, when you use your inside leg without just keeping it pressed on.. but tapping instead, it becomes a cue and she'll move away from it instead of leaning in on it as she's doing. Now if you don't keep that outside leg on her, she's going to escape through the gate. And if you don't use that outside rein to support her, then her nose will still be tipped overly inward and she can't balance herself. You need to help her. So you support with the outside rein.

Are you following so far?

To keep your horse from falling in, you want to keep her shoulders straight with your seat. Sometimes it helps to put a little more pressure on your outside seat bone (the one closest to the rail) and hold that outside rein in a supporting position (meaning elbow bent at 90 degrees, thumb on top, side of elbow touching your left side) and your inside rein you can either sponge it so she doesn't get rigid, or you can give her the inside rein a bit and push her forward into the canter.

Does that make more sense?

EDIT: For clarification, you don't sit to one side of your horse.. you merely SHIFT your weight a little on the outside seat bone. If you sit on the other side.. you throw the mare out of balance. Does that help?
 

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it is kind of hard to tell but it looks like your hips may be shifting to the left and to compensate you are tipping your shoulders to the right. also i agree that your horse's head is definitely bent too far to the right
I agree her head is bent in too far.

Does it all start there and since she is falling in with no outside rein support, I am twisting trying to stay upright and in the end, my weight and the saddle is falling to the left?
 

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I think so.

Think about it this way.. your outside leg is a gate so it needs to be closed shut so she doesn't 'escape' or she doesn't move sideways. You use your inside leg and tap her at the girth prompting her to keep from leaning in. How much inside leg you use depends on how well she responds.

But anyway, when you use your inside leg without just keeping it pressed on.. but tapping instead, it becomes a cue and she'll move away from it instead of leaning in on it as she's doing. Now if you don't keep that outside leg on her, she's going to escape through the gate. And if you don't use that outside rein to support her, then her nose will still be tipped overly inward and she can't balance herself. You need to help her. So you support with the outside rein.

Are you following so far?

To keep your horse from falling in, you want to keep her shoulders straight with your seat. Sometimes it helps to put a little more pressure on your outside seat bone (the one closest to the rail) and hold that outside rein in a supporting position (meaning elbow bent at 90 degrees, thumb on top, side of elbow touching your left side) and your inside rein you can either sponge it so she doesn't get rigid, or you can give her the inside rein a bit and push her forward into the canter.

Does that make more sense?

EDIT: For clarification, you don't sit to one side of your horse.. you merely SHIFT your weight a little on the outside seat bone. If you sit on the other side.. you throw the mare out of balance. Does that help?
Yes, that really helps. Thanks for the good feedback. I know I am constantly pushing on her inside, instead of tapping. Will definitely have to retrain myself for that. Also, the outside support rein. I need to work on that too.

I just hate that tilted saddle and vow to make it straight!
 

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Yes, that really helps. Thanks for the good feedback. I know I am constantly pushing on her inside, instead of tapping. Will definitely have to retrain myself for that. Also, the outside support rein. I need to work on that too.

I just hate that tilted saddle and vow to make it straight!
Maybe it needs to be re-flocked or needs a riser/half pad underneath? Horse's aren't symmetrical. Have you had it evaluated lately?

I think that her shoulders need to be addressed first.. then catch her hind, then finish by keeping her from over turning her nose to the inside by supporting that outside rein.

It'll take awhile but it's close!
 

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I agree her head is bent in too far.

Does it all start there and since she is falling in with no outside rein support, I am twisting trying to stay upright and in the end, my weight and the saddle is falling to the left?


Well put. I think that's what is likely happening.
One thing is, the horse may have some one sidedness that make her put you that way. Mac tends to put me off to the left, too, and it doesn't happen when I ride another horse. So, it isn't , perhaps, all rider fault.

But the over bending may get you all twisted up and end up becoming too subject to centrifugal force.
One thing you can try, while you stay away from NOT leaning into the cicle, try riding with your inside thigh pressing a bit along her shoulder. Let your inside thigh be in good contact with Bailey's shoulder and kind of think about riding it a bit more. Be sure to let it follow the horse at the canter, because it will be raised and lowered more than the outside, or at least you'll feel it more. So put it somewhat firmly against the horse, the whole, long thigh, and don't clamp with the lower leg. Your innner thigh can help encourage the horse to stop falling in and will keep you from turing your hips too much into the circle. YOur hips must mimic the position of the horse's hips, which are on a radius line to the center of your arc/circle. The horse's shoulders are on a very slightly different radius, and your shoulders should match that radius. So, your inside hip should lead , just a wee bit, and have some long thigh contact on the inside to help stabilize.
 

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But the over bending may get you all twisted up and end up becoming too subject to centrifugal force.
I agree. I feel like sometimes I am being swung around and we are balancing ourselves on each other. Kind of like an adult swinging a child around. Then I grip with everything on my lower body to hold on.

I like the hip idea. I think too that I am collapsing too much. And once the saddle is off kilter, it's not going back. Once it's gone, it's gone. I need to retrain my own feeling to what feels wrong is right.

Thanks for the feedback.
 

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Do you half halt before you ask for a canter?

I agree that it looks like you need more outside rein and connection. Its so deceiving. The outside rein actually makes your turn. Ask your trainer if you can focus on outside connection for a few lessons because its very hard to explain and understand in text. You will need to feel it.

I like Tiny's mental image too.

I'm going to go against the grain here with regards to sitting to the outside. I think you are already sitting too much to the outside to compensate the feeling of her leaning on your inside leg. Completely natural reaction! But by doing this, you are actually encouraging her to lean even more to the inside. Think of someone on a motorcycle making a sharp turn - if the rider shifted his weight over the bike seat to the outside while pushing away it would eventually push the bike into the ground. When you are cantering, try to think of stretching your inside leg down more and think about the fact that wherever your weight goes, the horse is going to want to go under that weight to stay centered. That actually means weight in the inside stirrup. Not all of your weight, think about having 55% inside 45% outside.

Another thing, don't spin your wheels if the leaning becomes unmanageable during any stretch of canter. Go back down to a trot, re-balance and get your bearings, half halt and ask for the canter again. =)

Let us know how it goes!
 

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try to think of stretching your inside leg down more and think about the fact that wherever your weight goes, the horse is going to want to go under that weight to stay centered. That actually means weight in the inside stirrup. Not all of your weight, think about having 55% inside 45% outside.

Another thing, don't spin your wheels if the leaning becomes unmanageable during any stretch of canter. Go back down to a trot, re-balance and get your bearings, half halt and ask for the canter again. =)
Amen!!! :) Shasta nailed it.
 
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