When did you learn how to canter?

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Nikita

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Jun 16, 2015
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Hi I have been riding for 9 months now, and can only walk, and a bit of rising trot. At my RS we hardly ever trot and I feel in not going to improve unless I practice. Anyway.. I saw someone on this forum who has been riding for 8 months and already knows how to canter?!? A girl at my rs Pid only just cantering, but she isn't even off lead rope and she has been riding for 4 years!! So I was wondering how log it took for you to learn how to canter?
 

ponylover88

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2004
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I was w/t on my first lesson, carried on developing those for 2 months then started canter. By the time I'd been riding a year I had my own horse (big mistake so don't follow my footsteps with that! Stick to lessons) and was jumping 3ft etc.
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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We tried canter on our fourth lesson - far too soon for me and it left me with a long-term phobia:(
After that I had to be cajoled into it. Trotting is still by far my best and preferred pace. It all depends on how confident you feel and how much practice in walk and trot you have had and how balanced you are and actually feel. My best guess and if I could turn back the clock I'd have started to try canter in short bursts towards the end of each lesson, probably after about two months. But everyone is different.
 

Calluna

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Oct 14, 2010
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I made a specific point of saying to my RI at the beginning that I did not want to rush. And I really haven't. I have had a few goes (unsuccessful "foetal crouch") and backed off. There is loads you can do in walk and trot, however once you want to canter and you are secure enough and "ready" it will eventually happen. I sat up to canter at last weeks lesson and was super pleased. It has been a long time coming, but that does not bother me.

All riding schools are different, many do take the view that it is better to get a beginner to quickly be able to sit to all gaits. Others are more flexible. Have a conversation with your instructor to establish the general teaching plan and direction. Learning requires input from three individuals, instructor, beginner and schoolmaster horse - I'm pretty sure your instructor will be pleased to discuss the learning programme with you.

Provided that you are happy with the lessons you are paying for then there is not a problem in my view. Everybody learns at a different speed and has different enthusiasms and interests in the learning process.

Eta: apologies to any grammar nerds for the split infinitive.

Eta also OP just have fun and enjoy it
 

KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
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My girls learnt within about 3 months, but then again kids are fearless! It also depends what you mean by 'canter'. Their first canter was on a lead rein with the instructor running alongside!!
But adult beginners at our RS do definitely canter pretty soon too.
One rider was at another school for 3 years and had still not cantered so she got fed up and switched schools. But I have to say her seat is amazing!!
 

Kite_Rider

Cantering cabbage!
May 18, 2009
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I don't remember when I "learned" to canter - I learned to ride by sticking on friend's ponies and I guess canter just happened one day. But I know that 5 years into owning my own pony I am still learning how to canter!
About the same as me Jane - it's so long ago I don't actually remember, but I never had a proper lesson until I was 40 and as a kid it was just jump on (literally most of the time) and get on with it. :)
 

Kite_Rider

Cantering cabbage!
May 18, 2009
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Also I don't think it's a good idea to compare yourself to anyone else anyway, we all learn at our own pace and a good instructor should ensure you have a good secure and balanced seat before they throw canter at you I should imagine.
 
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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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I first cantered about 6 months after I started riding, but I was an older lady. I was not well taught and my opportunities to canter were frustratingly few and far between and that was frustrating.
When you start canter will depend on your RS and how old you are, whether you are having private lessons or are in a group, how often you ride and for how long - so many variables.
However you say OP you have been riding 9 months and can only walk and do a bit of rising trot. You seem to have noticed your progress is slow. I cant comment on your school. But I have seen several of my grandchildren learning to ride.
One local school which teaches masses of beginners has them lead round in a group lesson. But every lesson includes rising trot and sitting trot, once on each rein ( which means circling round clockwise and anticlockwise, once in each direction.)
As soon as children get the hang of rising and sitting trot, they move up into a class where the ponies are not led, and where the students can practice walk and trot, till they are ready to learn canter. They will be balanced in the saddle, able to steer the horse, go easily between halt, walk and trot and be able to trot without stirrups. I would expect someone who has been learning for 9 months to have been given lots of practice in all these things.
If you have a private lesson you are likely to learn faster, but many adults and children pick up rising and sitting trot quite quickly and it is really important to have enough practise. If you are only doing a bit of rising trot, may be you are not getting much practise?
 

eml

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Apr 29, 2002
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Nikita from your other posts I suspect you are not going to a riding school but a trekking centre which offers some tuition on treks. The two are very different ,from the type of horse they use to how much experience the escorts have in teaching. I suspect the rides are conducted at the pace of the least experienced rider hence mainly walk and I recall you said they had very few horses suitable for you. I cannot comment on why someone is on lead rein after years, may be a particularly difficult horse they ride?Find a good Riding School with at least an outdoor arena and a variety of horse you can ride. Even if it costs more and you have to ride less often you will be taught and hopefully progress.

I think trekking centres have a role in learning,I often recommend some to my pupils for variety and practice but I think you also need more formal teaching as well.
 
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GaryB

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Mar 23, 2015
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Firstly I would agree that its what you want to do - its not a race, and its supposed to be fun, so if you are happy then why worry!

I've recently spent a week on a riding holiday with a group of 4 people where we did 3 x 1 hour lessons in the morning and a 2 hr hack most afternoons (6 days). One of the group was a middle aged novice who had only done a couple of walk only treks before. By the end of the week he was cantering and jumping small jumps. He did have good balance, and was confident and happy which I think is a big factor.
 

chev

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May 7, 2002
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I don't remember learning to canter to be honest but my two eldest girls took about nîne months. They did loads of stuff in walk and trot, like working without stirrups, trotting poles, exercises like round the world, riding on the lunge with their arms outstretched and so on. In fact they were trotting small poles before cantering. They were taught by Tilda Manson (as was i) who refused to rush into canter until they had a thoroughly stable seat and were confident about it.

I've seen kids rushed into cantering as if it's a competition to who gets it the quickest. IMHO it shouldn't be rushred. A good strong sear first makes for better canter when you first try it.
 

Ruskii

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Jun 21, 2000
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I can't remember at all, I learnt a bit at a Riding School but the remainder was on various friends horses, I think I was out one day and we all just went 'Yeehaa' and were away in the bush !
 

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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I learnt to canter as a kid at my local riding school. We would all line up at one side of the field and then one at a time we would go full pelt to the other side. It was more of a galloping exerice really and left me with a terrible habit of leaning forward and clinging on for dear life. It used to scare me senseless as all the horses would be really excited and if you were one of the last to go the riding instructor used to have to hold the horses back - when she let go we would zoom off with no control at all!
 

Keren@serendipity

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May 26, 2015
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I've been learning, weekly lessons for almost four months now. My first lesson I was trotting. After about two months I began to learn canter, juat 5-10 minutes at the end of each lesson. Personally I would be dissatisfied if I had been learning for nine months and not progressing, and it sounds like you feel the same way. Its not a race and you certainly don't need to do anything you don't feel comfortable with but there's so much you can learn even just at the trot. Contact, flexing, rise trot, sit trot, diagonals, change rein, extended trot, collected trot, trot to walk transitions and vice versa, using your seat to control the trot and so on. Progressing is key and honestly Iget so mmuch more satisfaction when I know I'm learning something more each week.
 

Darben1976

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Feb 14, 2015
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Hi, I started riding last year as a mature rider (38) and did one private lesson a week, I did my first canter after 10 months, on a lunge rein first and then did my first one off the lung about 2 months later.

I found my riding school didn't push me hard which is fine as I told them I was in no rush just wanted to learn but since I started a pony share and have a different instructor come to the livery and on same horse all the time I feel I've progressed so much faster. I feel my new instructor works me quite hard too which is what I want now as I'm having 2 lessons a week to try and get as experienced as I can for taking out my pony share on hacks
 
Jun 10, 2015
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Hey, I started learning not to long ago, Don't Be afraid to ask your RI To Trot more. And later when your ready you can ask Her/Him To try a canter. I don't think it's fair for that girl at all. 4 years is a very long time. It's been a year for me, and I'm doing a canter very well now. Even jumping too! GoodLuck!
 
Jun 10, 2015
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BTW...Cantering is like trotting. It takes time to learn. But as you do it more often You get a lot more comfortable! GoodLuck!
 

averageequestrian

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Jul 11, 2019
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I haven't learned to canter yet, but I think I'm going to start soon. I've taken lessons for about a month, but I learned to do a posting trot at riding camp before I officially started taking lessons. One of my friends told me that she started to canter a month after getting really good at the trot, so maybe if you ask your instructor if you can practice trotting more, you could continue to improve. However, if your instructor says you're not ready to, you may just need to practice some of the basic skills from when you first started, like keeping your heels down or changing your diagonal. Once you get good at these things, you will get good at the trot and eventually start to canter. Good luck!
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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I learnt to canter as a kid at my local riding school. We would all line up at one side of the field and then one at a time we would go full pelt to the other side. It was more of a galloping exerice really and left me with a terrible habit of leaning forward and clinging on for dear life. It used to scare me senseless as all the horses would be really excited and if you were one of the last to go the riding instructor used to have to hold the horses back - when she let go we would zoom off with no control at all!
I know this is a really old thread recently resurrected, but have just read through the posts and this one ... REALLY??! What on earth was going through their heads?

When I was a child I went to a friend's RS - really just a dealer's yard where they'd charge kids to hack out on the ponies, with an older kid acting as ride lead. I got put on a hairy cob and when we went for a canter up the hill, for some reason that I can't remember the leader told me to wait at the bottom until she had reached the top of the hill with her group of riders. Of course my pony got really excited and eventually I couldn't hold him and he tanked off to catch up with the others. I got a proper bollocking off that ride leader (can still vividly remember her shouting "I TOLD you to wait at the bottom!") and it never crossed my mind that it wasn't my fault - these days H&S would come down on you like a ton of bricks if you took care (or rather didn't) of kids like that.

Hopefully cantering is taught much more responsibly these days!
 
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