Cantering

HorseRider11

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Nov 2, 2021
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Hi, I have been riding for around two years, and this year i went to a new stable, and i only knew to trot, until my instructor said one day, 'Ok, i want you to canter.' and i didnt know, but i just made my pony canter, and i almost fell off. ever since, i can only canter with one hand on the saddle, and the other keeping the pony close to the wall, and two other girls do the same because they copied me, but one one girl can canter with two hands, and i want to be the expert like her, but i have problems balancing which totally sucks because i have medical problems with seeing and deafness. Please help me!
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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Many many people have problems learning to canter. But we may not have your additional problems of sight and hearing loss. It isnt really posible for people on a forum to advise you. Your teachers are in a far better position to do that.

I too was made to canter before I had proper instructions and just like you I got scared.

I can tell you the things I had to do before I could balance in canter.
I had many lessons on the lunge to show me how to sit on the horse in walk and trot.
I learned to sit trot with no stirrups.
It is fine to hold onto the saddle while learning. I even hack with a grab strap across the front of my saddle.
I was taken out hacking and learned to canter there on tracks where there are no corners.
If you are able to canter with a hand on the saddle, I would continue to do that. Stay safe, Eventually you will get the feel of the rhythm and it wil be fine to let go.
 
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chunky monkey

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You have to find the rythym of the horse.

I am useless cantering in an arena. I loose my balance and the horse falls in which makes things worse. I can happily canter out in the open field.

I would say try asking for canter as you come off the short side. Canter the long side and return to a walk or trot before going back into the bend. As you go through the bend set yourself and the horse up so as you come off the bend you are ready to ask for the canter stride. Keep practising that for now.
Eventually you will start to feel more confident and will progress into cantering more into the bend.

It will come with practise. If you want to canter ask if your instructor if they will let you canter in a field next to them on a horse.
 
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Skib

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I am useless cantering in an arena. I loose my balance and the horse falls in which makes things worse. I can happily canter out in the open field.
I was the same. A new dressage teacher helped me sort it by cantering in the school on a 20m circle. Next I started with cantering half the circle and then left the circle to go large.The simplest dressage tests start canter on a circle too. When I was cantering large, it helped me a lot to remember Richard Davison explaining that corners are arcs of the circle. The longer the stride in canter the longer that arc needs to be. And the corner should be central on the arc. That is. in canter (going large) one leaves the track a certain distance before starting the corner arc and returnes to the track the same distance after.

It is a long time since I did any of this. If Covid levels fell. I would like some more dressage lessons
 

HorseRider11

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Nov 2, 2021
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Many many people have problems learning to canter. But we may not have your additional problems of sight and hearing loss. It isnt really posible for people on a forum to advise you. Your teachers are in a far better position to do that.

I too was made to canter before I had proper instructions and just like you I got scared.

I can tell you the things I had to do before I could balance in canter.
I had many lessons on the lunge to show me how to sit on the horse in walk and trot.
I learned to sit trot with no stirrups.
It is fine to hold onto the saddle while learning. I even hack with a grab strap across the front of my saddle.
I was taken out hacking and learned to canter there on tracks where there are no corners.
If you are able to canter with a hand on the saddle, I would continue to do that. Stay safe, Eventually you will get the feel of the rhythm and it will be fine to let go.
I was riding yesterday, and my instructor told me to canter without holding on the saddle, and I did just that, then I accidentally ended up on the pony's neck, then I fell off. I'm ok now, but if I wave my right arm around, a painful twinge pricks it. I'm less positive about cantering now.
 

Skib

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I am sorry you fell off. You dont say whether your instructor asked you to make other changes as well as letting go of the saddle? It is quite true that one has to canter in order to learn to canter. But the secrtet is to breathe deeply and to relax. If you dont relax you will bounce up and down and fall onto the neck or fall sideways, just as you describe.

May be it would be a good idea to find a diferent teacher? Or simply not canter for the next few months. Canter is not compulsory.
 

carthorse

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To me it sounds like you need to find an instructor you can talk to (and who'll listen!) and who actually teaches rather than telling you to do something without an explanation of how to and who gives correction and teaching as you're doing something. Unless a pony does something a bit dirty then you don't suddenly end up on it's neck, so why wasn't your instructor watching and giving advice such as sit up and weight down your leg, or even come back to trot? And if the pony did do something really dirty with a novice on then I'd question it's suitability for a school!
 

Lorenzo

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I have trouble balancing around the corners. I have dyspraxia, which must affect me a bit, and am constanting losing my stirrups in canter, but it's fun and I hadn't fallen off up until today.
Got a lovely bruise on my thigh now...
 

chunky monkey

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Loosing your stirrups is common in the early days of riding. It may help you to shorten your stirrups one or two holes for a few lessons until you get more balanced. Not really recommended as it can give you cramp and ankle aches. It can also make you come out the saddle further and lean forward. So more chance of going splat. But it might help. In any case when you jump they suggest you put your stirrups up a couple.
 
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carthorse

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I was also going to say try shortening your stirrups slightly @Lorenzo, it may be that they're slightly too long - if your leg also feels at all wobbly or loose in trot they almost certainly are. Also don't fall ito the trap of gripping with your knees, it may make you feel safe but in reality it makes your position much weaker.
 

HorseRider11

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Nov 2, 2021
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Hello everyone, thank you for your advice! I will look into everything you have advised. Next week, I will tell you if I succeed in cantering or not (Good chance my instructor will make me canter) If you get any more advice about cantering that would suit me, please let me know!
 

HorseRider11

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Nov 2, 2021
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To me it sounds like you need to find an instructor you can talk to (and who'll listen!) and who actually teaches rather than telling you to do something without an explanation of how to and who gives correction and teaching as you're doing something. Unless a pony does something a bit dirty then you don't suddenly end up on it's neck, so why wasn't your instructor watching and giving advice such as sit up and weight down your leg, or even come back to trot? And if the pony did do something really dirty with a novice on then I'd question it's suitability for a school!
All my instructor said when i ended up on the pony's neck was "Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" that was practically it. she wasnt really helpful, she just stayed sitting on her chair and just watched all hell break loose
 

carthorse

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That's not an instructor, that's someone standing in a school barely supervising. You deserve better for your money, look around for another school.
 
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Jane&Ziggy

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I'm really glad you got there. But what does your instructor do, sitting in a chair while you ride? That doesn't sound like any sort of instruction I would want. I would find someone else, too.
 

Emilikins

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Feb 28, 2021
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I’m glad you feel better about cantering! My lesson pony likes to put up a little fight when I first ask for a canter - he does this funky trot-canter (I call it the tranter), so I sometimes lose my stirrups trying to leg him over into a true canter. I used to get all flummoxed when I’d lose a stirrup, but I basically told myself “well, screw the stirrup, I still have legs and a butt” and just pretend it’s not there. For whatever reason, ignoring the stirrup stabilizes my leg and and seat. Once we’re going well, I can shift my foot without everything coming apart. So now I have a pretty solid leg.

I basically just tell myself “toe up” rather than “heels down” or “oh god my stirrup oh god” and my body clicks in. Granted, this is without any sight issues beyond corrective lenses.

Is your instructor in a chair due to physical issues? I’m less concerned about that than the impression she’s just watching rather than guiding.
 
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HorseRider11

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Nov 2, 2021
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I’m glad you feel better about cantering! My lesson pony likes to put up a little fight when I first ask for a canter - he does this funky trot-canter (I call it the tranter), so I sometimes lose my stirrups trying to leg him over into a true canter. I used to get all flummoxed when I’d lose a stirrup, but I basically told myself “well, screw the stirrup, I still have legs and a butt” and just pretend it’s not there. For whatever reason, ignoring the stirrup stabilizes my leg and and seat. Once we’re going well, I can shift my foot without everything coming apart. So now I have a pretty solid leg.

I basically just tell myself “toe up” rather than “heels down” or “oh god my stirrup oh god” and my body clicks in. Granted, this is without any sight issues beyond corrective lenses.

Is your instructor in a chair due to physical issues? I’m less concerned about that than the impression she’s just watching rather than guiding.
My instructor has problems walking, she sort or hobbles, and i dont blame her because i think she fell off waaaaaaay too many times riding but if she can get up for five minutes to collect all the horse poop and ten minutes to set up the jumps then what about less than a minute to see if im fine?
 
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Skib

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My first instructor sat in a chair in the corner of the indoor school near the door. I didnt mind at all. She was a bully and made my life a misery but all that sitting trot and no stirrups and no steering the horse with the reins set me up for what came later.
 
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