I can't Canter

horselover4eva

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Aug 30, 2001
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I am jenny and have only just joined.
I've been riding for about a year now and still can't canter.
I am always having to be led,holding onto the neck strap or pommel.
Everyone else in my class can do it really well and I still can't.
It is really scary for me and once whilst trying to do it I lost my balance and fell off :( :(
Can anyone suggest anything to help????
 

Hevz2001

Horse Lover
Welcome to the board, Jenny

Don't worry, don't be so hard on yourself, Canter comes in time, lots of people get worried, and believe me most people don't master canter properly untill about 2 or 3 years of riding. Ask your instructor if theres anything she/he or you could do to make it easier for you. You're probably not the only one in your lesson who dosent feel as confident as others may appear, but you've probably been concentrating so hard on your own riding that you've not noticed anyone else have similar problems to you!
And, when you fell off, you didn't hurt yourself badly (did you?) so you already know what its like and you survived it last time so you'll survive it if theres a next time.
Also, if you can, book a few private lessons with your instructor, youwould learn alot quicker, as you will be the centre of the instuctors attention and they ould be able to help you more.
 

Moonlightrider

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Jun 24, 2001
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My friend had a bad fall on a horse I'd been riding just a few minutes before and I saw it. Afterwards, I was scared to canter for a long time. Talk to your instructor. I got my confidence back by riding easy horses for a while - privately - and my instructor wouldn't pressure me.

And just for the record, some falls aren't bad at all. I once almost fell off at a walk - I'd just mounted and asked the horse to walk, and the next thing I knew I was holding onto the saddle for dear life. No spook, buck, or bolt. I still don't know what happened. Maybe a matter of balance...:D :cool: :eek:
 

JumperGirl

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Apr 7, 2001
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Hi,

Before I started cantering well, my instructor makes us do lots of work with no stirrups, I like not using stirrups better than using them. After a bit of using no stirrups, you learn to keep your legs down, or else you start slipping. In our lessons we do sitting trot no stirrups, posting trot no stirrups, and it has REALLY REALLY helped my canter, because now when I canter and I loose my stirrup it doesnt really bother me, and I am better without them. Just ask your instrctor some time if you could try just a bit if no stirrups at first, my instructor and other ppl tell me that ppl cant really learn to canter well if they cant trot with out stirups, it helps with balance a lot. Also I do no girth trotting sometimes, but you might not want to tryt it until you have really good balance, and you have to see how your horse will react first.

Well happy cantering!!
 

hilite

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May 12, 2001
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It took me a while to get used to cantering- at first I was pretty nervous, and I couldn't get my horse to start right away or anything. By the time I'd been cantering for two years, I just wasn't afraid anymore, and I could canter really well...

Just be patient and keep working on it- it took me a while, but once I mastered cantering it was great, and it'll be really good for you too! :D
 

Liz M

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Apr 5, 2001
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You're not the only one!
I can't canter yet, I had just started when I fell off, since then I had two lessons of just walk and trot to regain confidence, unfortunately there was a crisis and through no fault of anyones I haven't had the chance to ride since. I have been faithfully promised that when I find another mount it will come! No doubt it will for you to.
If you feel bad before you start you are in a viscious circle. If you believe you can do it - you will.
Good luck!!!!
 

Garnett

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Jul 31, 2001
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hi, i would have to agree with jumper girl, working with out stirrups really does help you balance, ( so does riding bare back if you have the chance ). My instructor made ride without stirrups and on the longe line for sooo long when i first learned to ride.Don't worry the canter does eventually come.good luck!-Christina
 

horselover4eva

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Aug 30, 2001
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Thank you!

Hi My name isn't Eva its like an abbreiviation- horse lover for ever,
My name is actually Jennifer.
Had a canter lesson today on a real slow coach (which was good) and I cantered holding onto the neck strap with just 1 hand
Wahoo :D :D :D
I hurt my back though:(
Thank you all so so so much for all your help
 

ems

The horse-mad girl!
Sep 28, 2001
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Don't worry, I have had the same experience

Don't worry Jenny because yesterday was my first time cantering and I felt so scared! My horse didn't help because he was really fresh and full of energy, and we were almost galloping! :( :eek:

My instructor then told me this:
1. Take the movement on your hips
2. Grip onto the saddle with your legs, but not to tight so that your horse thinks you are trying to make him go faster
3. Keep your reins short and low, and move them with the movement of your horses head
4. Make sure your heels are down all the time
6. Try to relax so you don't end up with a stiff back or shoulders - when you are stiff and you fall off it would hurt a lot more
7. Enjoy yourself!

Also, the power of the mind is very useful. No, it's nothing to be taking as a joke. Horses seem to have a 'sixth' sense, so they can tell when your nervous or excited. If you want your horse to slow down, try and imagine slowing down - almost to a trot - in your mind and your horse might slow down. It's not 100% efficient, but it certainly helps me.

Good luck, and work on that canter! ;) :cool: :p :)
 

TBgrl

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Sep 28, 2001
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Canter

:) Dear Jenny
My instructor has been encouraging me to practice riding the sitting trot to gain balance, and confidence . I haven't cantered yet but its my goal to try before the snow flies if she thinks I am ready. When I watch her ride it looks so fun, and of course she makes it look sooo easy. I do know that its much faster and you must have the balance and confidence to be able to manouver your horse at that higher speed when everything is happening so much faster. Good luck to you.

"God forbid I should go to a heaven in which their are no horses"
- Robert bontine-Cunningham Graham.
 

Kathrin

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Oct 15, 2001
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Canter

I used to be very nervous about canter as the result of a few (I'm a tryer) falls

Whilst I knew that I would eventually get it if I kept trying it got to a point where I simply didn't have the confidence to keep at it.

I also felt I was holding my group back and was embarrassed etc.

So I paid extra for a course of 4 individual lunge lesson and am now cantering merrily away.

My boyfriend also insisted on buying me a top notch body protector after too many heart in mouth moments watching me flying through the air and I have to say it makes one quite cavalier about falls. I have had a couple of falls since then (jumping mainly) and the body protector (Charles Owen Eventing style one) does a fantastic job. I know that wearing an eventing body protector to lessons looks a little odd but I feel safe and thats what matters.
 

horselover4eva

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I feel like I am holding the class back aswell but when i asked about lunge lessons they said i didnt need them
ALSO u know when you go round corners in canter i feel as if i am gona fall of so i have to hold on tighter is there any help?
 

Kathrin

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corners

Do you get that "Motorbike" feeling where you leans inwards or are you sitting straight while the horse bends?


I really don't know which is correct but relax, keep you hands low and straight and your eyes between the horses ears seems to work for me. You have to rely on the horse and gravity to get you round the corner.

The trouble I find starting canter is you adopt the ideal posture on the straight but freeze in it when you go for the corner (taking a corner on a horse being byu no means unscary) giving the old problem of bouncy and locked legs that you have when you start off. I think its a trust (in horse and yourself)/experience issue.
 

horseywhisperer

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Apr 27, 2021
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Hi,
I started horseback riding a few months ago. My friend is really good and makes it look so so easy. My instructor is super duper nice, she helps me along the way and takes baby steps. I am still working on my canter but I'm learning along the way. My instructor actually let me canter on this super fast horse. She still holds the bridle and runs with me while I canter, but I'm starting to get it. All of this advise really works. Trust me, Jenny. You got this! And don't worry, I feel like I'm way behind the class but actually everyone congrats me even though they are a higher level. Do you have a horse that you ride all the time? Do you have a bond with one? If so, that would definitely be helpful. My friend has a horse named Cappy and she loves my friend. They have a strong bond that is unbreakable. Just keep in mind it's just focus, confidence, and love. Good luck. :) And just enjoy it. :):)
 

GaryB

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Mar 23, 2015
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This thread is nearly 20 years old so you probably won't get a reply from the original poster. We will all be interested to hear about your adventures though :)
 
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