Canter sit or push?

Crazyhorse

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Before riding at my current school I was taught to follow the movement of the canter gently with my hips. At my current RS I am always told to really exaggerate the movement like hula hooping. I had a different RI this week who teaches less is more. Now I am slightly unsure which is the correct way. I always assumed that if I really exaggerate I would be driving with my seat which is less likely to get the desired effect. Just wondered what people's views are. Thanks
 
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Keket

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If you exaggerate (sp?), then yes, you're driving with your seat, which cues the horse to speed up. That's fine, if that's what you're trying to achieve, but most people don't want their horse to be constantly accelerating. When the horse is cantering, and you're happy with the speed, then less is more. Sit firmly in the seat and absorb the motion with your stomach.
 

sweuzo

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May 19, 2005
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some horses NEED to be driven forward... it encourages them to got faster/maintain the canter (alot of horses i ride drop back into trot if you don't actively maintain the canter)...
 

Just.Jump

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I'm taught that if you are asking correctly, you are not supposed to hold the horse through. Example: I'm fixing my sour mare who is a lesson horse- if I were to hold her head in a flexed position and have her all round and nice, she would not learn anything. So I give her a loose rein, and when she acts up, she gets corrected. I used to have to hold her in the canter- driving with the seat is a form of holding them.

You should follow the movement with rocking hips- your seat should never leave that horses back, that's how you should roll. Not just sitting along for the ride, and not grinding into the horses back- if the horse needs constant telling to move forward, they need some corrective schooling. They get duller if that's how they are always ridden.
 

sweuzo

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lesson horses ridden day in day out by alot of novices.... ? i was talking particularly about a horse who is so hard to get off the leg...

and yes i am asking correctly, these horses just don't want to work, hence you push them on... i think its very rare a horse will do exactly as you ask immeadiatly and never put a foot wrong...

and as for the reins, i didn't mention anything about a rein contact.

my seat never leaves the horses back, and i don't grind into the horses back either, you push them on just like you would in walk to maintain an active walk.
 

Just.Jump

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Considering that she is talking about what she learnt in a school, I find the example to be extremely relevant to the issue.

Lesson horses ridden all day long by novices sometimes DO get unresponsive to leg aids- I don't see the difference your trying to push here. I didn't say you were uncorrect (In fact, I didn't address what you said to do, I addressed the main post, referring to the three choices she has been taught- not you specifically).

Please re-read my post- what I stated is that if you hold horses in, it is an attempt to avoid all mistakes. I'm saying, give them a cue and then give them a chance to listen to it, instead of doing the work for them.

Swuezo, I also didn't pick on you about your reins. Look at this logically- you stated one opinion, not the way you ride. Hence, I have no way to critisize you specifically. Sorry to snark, I'm just really tired of people on here skimming my posts and assuming things or assuming I am talking to or about them- it's not the case. If I were, I would have clearly stated your name or inserted a quote. Your style of riding has nothing to do with ym advice for someone else in this case. YOU are not the one asking the question- so there is no need to assume that I was directing my advice or opinion to you. That would be a waste of time here.

As a note just to you: I don't drive my horses at a walk. I ask for a walk, and they walk until they are directed to stop or perform a transition. Maybe it's a western thing. We don't do that- we ask and then reward. Pushing a horse constantly is usually visable, and isn't the best sign of training where I'm from.
 

sweuzo

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you are talking about how you ride western, and offering advice on western riding, when the person asking (being from the isle of wight) is most likely riding english. in english riding what you are saying may work to a degree, but won't get the desired result. i'm aware western riders ride with a very loose contact, when english riders pretty much always maintain at least a degree of contact, western riders don't drive in walk like you do in english, so its only logical that you wouldn't drive in canter to encourage the horse forward. if i had understood you were talking about western riding, i would have agreed with you.

the way you ride english / western although similar have subtle differences, i believe.

we english riders also reward the horse when they do what is asked, but it is not in the same, way... if you ask for canter you expect them to canter, if they don't and you sense the slowing and push them on again, its just a matter of feeling when and what needs to be done to get what you want. you apply 'just enough' aids to get what you want and no more, no sense whacking the horse into canter when you can simply nudge them... and thats is what i am talking about, the 'pushing' them on in canter... its nudging them to maintain the pace... you really only need to do it if you feel them falling back into trot.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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Most of us have lessons from many teachers over the years. And will be taught different ways of doing lots of things. Most things in riding can be done a choice of ways.
Canter - as you've discovered, is one of them. What you describe are different styles and it isnt a case of right or wrong.
You may want to hear the advantages and disadvantages of the diffferent styles and make up your own mind.
I was taught not to drive with my seat, just do nothing, sit softly and let the horse move under me. I like that and the horses I ride go nicely that way. And because it is a pretty well-known variant, I guess I also avoid teachers who insist on driving with one's seat in canter.

But, if I rode a horse that had been trained differently, I might look for ways I could alter my riding to suit that horse. In any lesson I try to ride the way that teacher recommends. And certainly not get into an argument. But most of us ride best, the way that we like to ride. I am in the less is more camp.
 

sweuzo

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i was taught this way, however alot of the time if you don't push on (i.e- riding with your seat) he horses i ride, the less forward going ones do need to be pushed on, otherwise they drop back into trot...and if allowed to will finally stop.

other horses that i ride, that are more forward going you don't need to, or you do in a sense but only to keep the rhytm of the canter as they have a tendancy to speed up espacially towards jumps. its the same principle of slowing down your rising in rising trot to slow the horse slightly, obviously you would use other aids aswell.

i'm taught by an ex-eventer who competed pretty high up, for britain i beleive... shes now aged about 50.. and has been on a horse since she could walk... she is fairly old fashioned, but her methods work, and it is how i've been taught, the horses are taught this way too...

i think you just have to adjust your riding to every different horse you ride, what works on one may not work on another...

and still i'm not sure the 'driving' i am talking about is the same as the 'pushing on' i am talking about, beacuase what i do is certainly not harsh on the horse in any way, and the driving you are talking about SOUNDS as though it is.
 

Wally

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Drivintg with your seat will make your uper body instable, you'll have to lock and unlock your elbows, and your upper body will be flying about all over the place.

Polishing, driving, hoola hooping and the like are not necessary and will cause the very kind (usually) lesson horse to feel you are unstable and be unwilling to go in case he drops you.

Less is, indeed, more in canter as it is in rising trot. everyone puts too much into it and you end up with an ugly writhing mass on top a horse.

If you are cantering correctly your backside should remain in the same place in the saddle, still, buck rocking on your seatbones, any exaggerated movement of the shoulders should be kept to the minimum. You hands and elbows should be still and now rowing a boat.
 

purrrfect

Suzie
Feb 21, 2006
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i agree with the saying less is more in most cases when cantering, depending on the horse. mine has a tendancy to break and so when i feel him about to i drive with my seat to help him back in to it if that makes sense. not sure if this is correct but it works for him lol
 

Just.Jump

Riding Is My Magic
Apr 20, 2005
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Sorry Swuezo, I got the implication that you were referring to constantly driving with the seat and/or legs to keep the horse in a pace. I don't know if it's done in english, but I know that it doesn't make much room for anything else in terms of a refinement period in schooling.

And yes- I'm one who firmly believes that there are a fair few differences between western and english. You may get the same result, but things are done much differently to get there.
 

Crazyhorse

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Thank you for all your comments. I will just stick with the less is more option, but is hard when you are told to push and drive more by an instructor. I actually feel that my canter has detoriated, so am going to work to improve it again.
 

Wally

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Shovelling with your bum migfht make them go faster as the poor horse tries to run oput from under you as it is mighty uncomfy for the poor horse, but you won;t get a good quality canter.

Imagine giving a kiddie a piggy back on your shoulders and haveing them wriggle about, you'd become tired very quickly.....and probably a bit grouchy.
 
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