View Full Version : Speed control:From cantering to trotting
11th Jul 2000, 02:06 AM
Right now I'm practicing cantering after about 4 months' lessons. So, I'm still quite a beginner, which makes me so scared when it comes to cantering. I hope that I can practice cantering longer so that I can get over this fear of cantering, but my instructor spends most of lesson time having me do posting trot or sitting trot or do some little jumps. The reason that she allows me to canter for such a short time is, I guess, that I'm having a hard time in slowing down my horse whenever she wants to go faster while cantering. My instructor seems to think that it's too dangerous for me unless I can get more control of my horse, like slowing down whenever I want.
So.. my question is how I can make my horse slow down, like from cantering to trotting. Some horses are voice trained, but others are not. And I usually pull back my reins as hard as I can whenever I want to slow down. I don't think it's a good way to slow down my horse at all and I don't wanna be a cruel, ignorant human being. So, except pulling back my reins hard, what can I do to let my horse know that I wanna slow down? Are there any other "better" ways to do that?
I just hope that my horse and I, both of us can enjoy cantering without hurting each other.
11th Jul 2000, 11:43 AM
When cantering i usually only have to use my voice to slow him down, but i used to pull gently on the reins release, pull, release, pull for a short while and he would slow down. At the same time i said steady in a drawn out way so he got used to the word and associated it with slowing down.
If you pull continually on the reins you may find the horse pulls against you.
You could also try circleing a bit if he wont slow down this will make him go slower.
11th Jul 2000, 02:05 PM
I used to have your problem as well
but I found as well as giving and taking
gently and gradually with the reins, a low
but firm drawn-out voice, also putting my weight
back in the saddle-against the horse to oppose going forward helped as well. Putting ur weight down
to bottom of your heels may also help.
11th Jul 2000, 06:04 PM
I've just started lessons after a very long gap and know exactly how you're feeling. I would guess that your instructor only lets you canter for a short while is because it's far better to do a few strides well than a few circuits getting faster and faster - last time I cantered it lasted all of three strides before I lost it. When I rode before I found that if I leaned back further (at first) than seemed right, I could keep control better and it seemed like I had more time to sort out any problems. At the moment I do a few strides and then I fall forwards and the horse runs into a fast uncomfortable trot - this, I think, is an issue with my muscles and just needs more practice (any other ideas anyone?). Is this what is happening to you?
The other thing you may be doing which makes the horse run on is to grip with your lower leg around the horse - telling him to go faster (if you are nervous you are very likely to be doing this) - so make sure when you want to slow down that your lower leg is off the horse.
Perhaps your instructor could give you some lessons on a lunge rein so that he controls the horse whilst you sort out what you should be doing in terms of hands, seat and legs etc.
Let me know how you get on - and believe me I sympathise as for me canter is the most difficult stride right now, when really it should be one of the best.
12th Jul 2000, 03:47 AM
I have the same problem, but it has gotten better with the pull-release. Alternating hands, pull and release 4 times quickly, but firmly. If that doesn't work,draw reins back towards your waist, not upward, and hold firmly until speed slows, then release immediately. Make sure you're not giving leg pressure, and sit back in seat if possible. It takes time. Also, as soon as he picks up speed, and it doesn't get in control quickly, bring him back to a walk and try again. Start out by cantering for only about 12 strides.
16th Jul 2000, 08:29 PM
I did have exactly the same problem for a while (mainly with the faster horses at our school). I wasn't aware at the time but if the horse was going fast I would tense up and sit forward with my weight slightly out of my seat (making the horse go faster).
I have now learned to relax, sit back and give short gentle tugs and release down the outside rein first and then with both reins if the horse doesn't listen, saying steady in a calming voice or failing this turning the horse on a circle.
This generally seems to do the trick but I think the key is to relax. If you panic you don't seem to be so effective.
3rd Aug 2000, 08:53 PM
As you are cantering, concentrate on moving your seatbones/hips in time with the horse. Then, when you want to slow down, close your seat muscles (basically clench you bum!). This will block the horse's movement and as a result he will slow down. Squeezing with your thighs also helps, as does bracing your lower back. Try not to sit really hard on the horse as this will cause him to hollow his back and then the trot won't be very good. Try not to pull as he will just pull back and therefore he will go tense. Your legs should be against the horse's side to maintain impulsion and get a good quality trot, but try not to grip with your legs, as this will cause the horse to speed up.
Anyway, hope this helps.
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