Trouble with trot to canter transition

Pollypocket295

Returning to riding
May 2, 2021
15
10
3
Hey everyone so I have an issue with getting the 2 ploddy type riding school horses I'm riding to canter. the transition is always so messy .
In the corner I sit deep put my outside leg behind the girth and the inside leg on it .
But the SH I ride ends up trotting faster and faster
My instructor says to kick kick kick
But I end up just bouncing along and if I do manage to break into canter it's only for a few steps . But at this point im already leaning forward from the rushed bouncy sitting trot and hence it being messy
Any and all hints tips ect wud be greatly appreciated
I gota get this right I feel like I got a mental block
Once I canter I'm fine but it's getting there
 

carthorse

Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
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If the best advice your RO can give is kick kick kick then I'm inclined to say look for another school!

If the horse is running in trot then try a firm half halt to rebalance and ask again, making sure you have enough contact to stop him going back into a running trot. I wonder if your RI means use a sharp kick when you initially ask? I know it shouldn't be needed, but sometimes with school horses you need to be very clear.
 

Pollypocket295

Returning to riding
May 2, 2021
15
10
3
If the best advice your RO can give is kick kick kick then I'm inclined to say look for another school!

If the horse is running in trot then try a firm half halt to rebalance and ask again, making sure you have enough contact to stop him going back into a running trot. I wonder if your RI means use a sharp kick when you initially ask? I know it shouldn't be needed, but sometimes with school horses you need to be very clear.
Iv had a few people tell me the same thing tbh about changing 😓 the other school where I started riding used the leg aids I mentioned in the post and every horse wud canter on smoothly
I not used to really working for it if that makes sense
I'm told sitting trot in the corner and ask for the canter by sitting
I do the legs aids from habit from when i rode earlier in life
I do have strong kicks I just lose balance in the fast trot
I will try the half halts 2moro at my lesson and a good kick 1st
I find the horse I'm riding wanting to
re join his friends if that makes sense
Thank you very much for the advice it's super appreciated ❤❤❤
 
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Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
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I’d try not to blame yourself too much, unfortunately this sounds very like a typical underschooled riding school horse, who has learnt to avoid too much hard work.

You may need to discuss with your RI if you might need to carry a crop, sometimes just carrying one will give you an entirely different horse to ride!

I’d definitely try @carthorse suggestion of starting with a good firm kick though, if you feel like you mean business from the start that can really help. Also don’t accept lazy transitions in the walk/trot before you get to canter, always behave like you expect an immediate response and with energy and it will transfer through to the canter too.
 

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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I was going to suggest the same as Jesset, ask if you could carry a stick. You don't have to hit your horse, but even a ploddy RS horse may sharpen up if you crack the stick against your boot.

It's very difficult when the horse is reluctant to work, don't take it personally!
 

Skib

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
8,333
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London
I am a RS rider.
I will advise you with what my RI would say. When you want a horse to do something, get it in the position where it is physically able to do what you want, then ask and free the horse to carry our your request.
Preparing to canter, remember that a horse can canter from walk or even from halt. But it cant canter from a fast spread out trot. To push off into canter it needs its hind legs under its body. If you are in a fast trot, the legs are unlikely to be under it for canter.

So as you approach the RS corner where you want to canter, it is a good idea to use leg to get a more active trot, (may be in the second half of the long side) but shorten the reins and sit up so the steps are shorter and the leg is under, ready to canter.
I never mastered the RS Canter aid. Yes you need to give a kick, but you also need to relax your hands and picture the horse flowing forward into canter between your thighs. And between your hands. If the first steps of canter are too violent, steady the canter by closing your shoulder blades together a little or sitting up.

The second question is also important. How happy are you in canter? RS horses sense if a rider is scared. I love canter because I learned to do it our hacking. RS horses know I like canter and do it easy for me when they refuse for other students. Breathing and relaxing is a good idea. Think of flowing and allowing the horse to move forward under you, rather than asking and yet inadvertently holding the horse back. If you would be happier hanging on, think of using a neck strap or monkey strap so you dont hold onto the reins. But actually I like to hold the reins. I need to feel in control. Just remember though, to hold the reins is not the same as hanging onto them. Your hands are allowing the horse to go. And the going is likely to involve speed. If you are an adult and a car driver, think of acceleration. and dont let the outside rein go loose. The outside rein will keeo the canter to the outside of the school.

I woud also in advance make up my mind that I am going to canter down the long side and trot at the corner. It is good for both the horse and you to have some sense of intended destination. You can even trot the short side and canter again at the next corner.

As for sitting the fast trot. One prepares for that by sitting trot and trotting without stirrups (properly supervised in a lesson) but in the ed yes, the trot before canter is bumpy for a ew rider which is why you need to keep it quite short. Dont hesitate, just a few steps and get into canter a.s.p.
 

Pollypocket295

Returning to riding
May 2, 2021
15
10
3
I am a RS rider.
I will advise you with what my RI would say. When you want a horse to do something, get it in the position where it is physically able to do what you want, then ask and free the horse to carry our your request.
Preparing to canter, remember that a horse can canter from walk or even from halt. But it cant canter from a fast spread out trot. To push off into canter it needs its hind legs under its body. If you are in a fast trot, the legs are unlikely to be under it for canter.

So as you approach the RS corner where you want to canter, it is a good idea to use leg to get a more active trot, (may be in the second half of the long side) but shorten the reins and sit up so the steps are shorter and the leg is under, ready to canter.
I never mastered the RS Canter aid. Yes you need to give a kick, but you also need to relax your hands and picture the horse flowing forward into canter between your thighs. And between your hands. If the first steps of canter are too violent, steady the canter by closing your shoulder blades together a little or sitting up.

The second question is also important. How happy are you in canter? RS horses sense if a rider is scared. I love canter because I learned to do it our hacking. RS horses know I like canter and do it easy for me when they refuse for other students. Breathing and relaxing is a good idea. Think of flowing and allowing the horse to move forward under you, rather than asking and yet inadvertently holding the horse back. If you would be happier hanging on, think of using a neck strap or monkey strap so you dont hold onto the reins. But actually I like to hold the reins. I need to feel in control. Just remember though, to hold the reins is not the same as hanging onto them. Your hands are allowing the horse to go. And the going is likely to involve speed. If you are an adult and a car driver, think of acceleration. and dont let the outside rein go loose. The outside rein will keeo the canter to the outside of the school.

I woud also in advance make up my mind that I am going to canter down the long side and trot at the corner. It is good for both the horse and you to have some sense of intended destination. You can even trot the short side and canter again at the next corner.

As for sitting the fast trot. One prepares for that by sitting trot and trotting without stirrups (properly supervised in a lesson) but in the ed yes, the trot before canter is bumpy for a ew rider which is why you need to keep it quite short. Dont hesitate, just a few steps and get into canter a.s.p.
Thank you so much for the advice I will try to use this when I am riding again it is very appreciated 😁😁😁
 

Skib

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
8,333
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London
As for canter from walk. It is possible and our head RI always teaches it that way. But her horses used in her lessons are used to it. Most RS horses are not. The horse is not a machine. It will often do what it is used to being asked to do.
 
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