• REMINDER

    Any content, information, or advice found on social media platforms and the wider Internet, including forums such as HHO, should NOT be acted upon unless checked against a reliable, authoritative source, and re-checked, particularly where personal health is at stake. Seek professional advice/confirmation before acting on such at all times.

Beginner canter

Joined
28 June 2020
Messages
5
Hi! My name is jo o used to ride only as a beginner when I was a child but got back to it as an adult and enjoy it so much more but I am more fearful maybe an ages thing! I ride each week at a school and learning to canter. Any tips on starting to canter would be great as I’m scared to let go of the neck strap Hee! Everyone makes it look so easy! Before this I part loaned a Friends horse but he wasn’t very forward and could only trot hence no experience cantering anyway look forward to the forums and advice
 

Wishfilly

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 March 2016
Messages
199
Honestly, I would just say take your time with it- the more relaxed you become, the easier it will get to sit to the canter, and you will then feel more secure. People progress at different rates, and that is fine. If, for the moment, you are able to safely canter holding the neckstrap, that's much better than your hands coming up and pulling the horse/pony in the mouth. A possible next step is to move on to holding on with one hand only, and then having the other for some steering/control. What does your instructor say at the moment?

I do think most adults have more fear than children/teenagers, especially if we've had a break. You've got a greater sense of the risks, and you also have greater consequences (e.g. not being able to work) if things go wrong. Take your time- as long as you are enjoying it, it doesn't matter what speed you progress at and you will improve!
 

Flicker

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 January 2007
Messages
3,415
Use the neck strap as much as you need to, or ask your instructor to fit a balance rein to the d-rings of the saddle. Honestly, it is fine! So much better than trying to use the reins and jabbing the horse in the mouth. I competed at Elementary with a lovely horse I had on loan a few years ago. When I first started riding him, his trot was so enormous that I used a balance rein. I have been riding for 30-odd years.

I learnt to canter on the lunge, and only once I was comfortable in sitting trot (balance rein again very helpful). The instructor got us trotting on a circle then just let the horse roll up into canter.

Try to relax as much as possible, sit up, look between the horse’s ears and enjoy! Once you get used to it, canter is much more comfortable than trot!
 
Joined
18 June 2020
Messages
5
Hi I’m 14 and compete at 3 day events and jump BE90. I’m aware that you probably don’t want to take advice from a child but maybe try doing some balance exercises?
Perhaps trotting with one hand on your thigh or if your feeling really confident you could be lunged and trot with your arms out to the side. But just remember that in canter you should sit into the horse not ontop, keep your back straight and shoulder back, hands steady but still relaxed and make sure you breath! So many people hold their breath whilst cantering and don’t even realise but just relax yourself and let go of any fears!
 

Red-1

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 February 2013
Messages
9,816
Location
Yorkshire
Hi I’m 14 and compete at 3 day events and jump BE90. I’m aware that you probably don’t want to take advice from a child but maybe try doing some balance exercises?
Perhaps trotting with one hand on your thigh or if your feeling really confident you could be lunged and trot with your arms out to the side. But just remember that in canter you should sit into the horse not ontop, keep your back straight and shoulder back, hands steady but still relaxed and make sure you breath! So many people hold their breath whilst cantering and don’t even realise but just relax yourself and let go of any fears!
This proves that all ages have good advice!

I teach canter on the lunge. That way, you can use whatever you need to feel balanced. To get the feel of canter, you need to...canter! So, you need a horse who is balanced and able to swing along in a balanced canter, without leaning in or out. If th horse is inverted and choppy, duding the shoulder or holding an inconsistent rhythm, if it nigh on impossible!

I usually teach initially with stirrups a hole shorter than ideal, so you are less likely to lose a stirrup when you (inevitably) grip up with the unusual gait. I also make sure you are very secure at trot without stirrups, so even if you lose a stirrup you have half a chance of surviving! I do exercises in trot for kicking a stirrup out and regaining it too, without looking down. I do exercises in standing in the stirrups for a few circuits, without losing balance to improve confidence, balance and muscle tone.

Once you can do all that, then get cantering, using a strap if necessary. Once you feel OK, as horsesxox says, riding with one hand can help, I prefer the other hand to hang down by your side. If you are carrying tension, it will look like a Tommy Cooper hand, jabbing not hanging. Concentrate on the inside arm hanging loosely by your side. Then circle the arm backwards.

The horse should be controlled by the lunger.

One rider I had, this all didn't work (not sure why) so we switched tack and she learned canter initially in a XC position. Did loads at trot first, then at canter, had her cantering round with arms out like a flying angel. Once she had 'got' the canter, she then could sit for two, then sit for 3 etc etc. I would have her sit for 3, stand for 3, sit for 3, stand for 3.

We don't come off the lunge until riders are in control of their own body.
 

Wishfilly

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 March 2016
Messages
199
Hi I’m 14 and compete at 3 day events and jump BE90. I’m aware that you probably don’t want to take advice from a child but maybe try doing some balance exercises?
Perhaps trotting with one hand on your thigh or if your feeling really confident you could be lunged and trot with your arms out to the side. But just remember that in canter you should sit into the horse not ontop, keep your back straight and shoulder back, hands steady but still relaxed and make sure you breath! So many people hold their breath whilst cantering and don’t even realise but just relax yourself and let go of any fears!
I think this is excellent advice- especially the bit about breathing!

OP, if you are holding your breath, this makes your whole body more tense and makes it harder to sit deep/relax into the canter. If you are holding your breath, counting out the 1,2,3 rhythm or counting strides can really help (or singing).

I agree with others that some lunge lessons will probably really help too- these will allow you to focus on yourself/your body, as someone else is controlling the horse and may reduce the fear that e.g. the horse is not going to stop/turn when it needs to!
 

Keith_Beef

Well-Known Member
Joined
8 December 2017
Messages
4,393
Location
Seine et Oise, France
Hi I’m 14 and compete at 3 day events and jump BE90. I’m aware that you probably don’t want to take advice from a child but maybe try doing some balance exercises?
Perhaps trotting with one hand on your thigh or if your feeling really confident you could be lunged and trot with your arms out to the side. But just remember that in canter you should sit into the horse not ontop, keep your back straight and shoulder back, hands steady but still relaxed and make sure you breath! So many people hold their breath whilst cantering and don’t even realise but just relax yourself and let go of any fears!
We do exercises like that, trotting with a hand on the head, in the small of the back, stretched out to the side. I have group lessons, so there's no lunging, except for one day a few years ago when we had a vaulting class (and we had a rope to the D rings, to hold on to when we were standing).

I definitely find canter easier than a seated trot.

The advice about keeping your head up and breathing is spot on, and it's what our instructors tell us all the time. On Saturday, he had one girl count out loud to him, to make sure she was breathing... her face was all wrinkled up with concentration and she was holding her breath.
 

eggs

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 February 2009
Messages
4,457
When I was learning to ride as a 7 year old many years ago I got rising trot straight away but not canter. I still remember my instructor telling me that one day I would enjoy cantering and they were right!
 
Top