Seat at trot preparing for canter - beginner level
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Author:  Bryan [ Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:17 am ]
Post subject:  Seated trot beginner continued Saddles

Ok hope this is going to make more sense to others than me...

I asked to about the saddle at this my 12th lesson ( yeah I'm counting them lol )

16 or 17 inch general purpose saddle.

No lunging or out of stirrups work this week. Lots of transitioning between rising and seated trot. Really the whole hour at trot. On Sissy this week and she is reasonably bouncy at trot compared to Lady and Alf is the smoothest of them that I have written at the school.

Lots of transitions to different figures too if you know what I mean - Big circle, little circle, diagonals, cones all that sort of stuff.

Two key things we were working on - getting the sitting trot to settle and stick quickly when coming down from rising trot and trying to keep a good seat as the trot gets bigger. Still not able to keep nice form on the bigger trots yet.

Problems I was working on .. still keeping my hands down and still is an issue for me and trying to sit more forward in the saddle.


Author:  Hanne [ Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:41 am ]
Post subject: 

Yup, 16 inches is a rather small saddle. 17- 17.5 inches is a normal one for an adult.


Author:  Bryan [ Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:45 am ]
Post subject: 

Lets hope they are 17 inch then. LOL

Author:  Luke Binks [ Fri Mar 27, 2009 2:39 am ]
Post subject: 

HAHAHAHAH :lol: I could have told you that :P

Oh well, this is just why i mentioned it. This riding schools main clients are children or women with their own horses, and their primary focus is jumping. But its one of the only school around that i know of that has school horses for Adult male riders. And they have good facilities!!

Keep chipping away at it my friend. It sounds like its starting to come along nicely. You will be cantering around all over the place by the next knights School clinic later this year!


Author:  Bryan [ Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:57 am ]
Post subject:  More trot and preparing for canter

Hi, Been a while since I have posted here. Yesterday I had lesson 14. A week ago at lesson 13 I spent 15 minutes starting to canter on lunge. Now my 14th lesson I had a different instructor as my normal instructor was sick. The instructor I had was from Iran and he specializes in dressage and show jumping.

In general he was fairly complementary on my balance for my current riding level. It was interesting that he picked out the same issues that Pelle identified in my previous video - I have corrected, or tried to, but not quite enough. He moved me slightly forward and deeper in to the saddle. Still struggling with my seat when the trot gets very bouncy and he was working on helping me relax more in the hips and allow my pelvis to move with the horse. On the whole he was happy enough with my trot to spend about half the lesson on canter - on lunge mainly. Henrikke my hands are much better but he still tweaked them a little.. mainly with respect to riding in a 20M circle.. Getting me to lower the inside hand and raise the outside hand a little.. And I do mean only a little and keeping the horses head bent in a little. Also up till now I have held a jumping whip (don't have to use em.. Sissy an Lady behave if they know you have it lol) yesterday I had a dressage whip which is much longer and more awkward to change hands when you change direction.. more to work on!

So interest in people advise when trying to maintain an neat 2Metre circle in trot. He was getting me to.

Keep the reins short enough to ensure good contact with the bit.
Outside hand up a fraction.
Inside hand down a fraction.
Little tension on the inside rein bringing the horses head in a little allowing the outer rein to neck.
A little bit of contact pressure from the inside leg ( if I remember this right).
DON'T lean to the center at all but remain perfectly upright as I would in a straight line
Turn my head slightly so I'm looking at where I'm trying to go.

The other thing I'm interested in peoples opinion.. is the trot to canter transition. Remember this is early days and later on I will want to go straight from seated trot to seated canter but for now he has me moving to rising trot as the trot speed increases and when I'm ready and feel the horse is fast enough to transition taking my seat and asking for canter.

Now if the horse drops out of canter going to rising trot, gathering speed again and then taking my seat again and asking for canter.

Whats peoples thoughts on this? Is this how you teach someone at beginner level - 14 hours of horse riding behind them?


Author:  Henrikke [ Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:32 am ]
Post subject: 

Hmm. I can agree with many things here, but there are 2 points here I don't agree with.

DON'T lean to the center at all but remain perfectly upright as I would in a straight line

Does he mean here that you lean too much in? In that case I agree with him on that you should try and think that you're sitting up straight. I want you to sit with a bit more weight in the inside stirrup, but if the problem is that you've got too much weight there, he's right when telling you to sit up like he's telling you ;)

The other thing I'm interested in peoples opinion.. is the trot to canter transition. Remember this is early days and later on I will want to go straight from seated trot to seated canter but for now he has me moving to rising trot as the trot speed increases and when I'm ready and feel the horse is fast enough to transition taking my seat and asking for canter.

Here it looks like to me that he want's you to run into the canter. That's not good. The horse should never run into canter. If the horse isn't trained well enough to go into canter directly when you give the right signals, they should give you a better horse to ride to canter. But if the problem is that you don't give the correct signals you should try from walk or somthing first. It's very important for both you and the horse not to run into canter. If the horse starts running you should not start rising, you must slow him down again to a comfortable tempo and try again. Every time it runs you must slow it down again and try again.

I'm sorry it took so long before I replied here!


Author:  Bryan [ Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:36 am ]
Post subject: 

Henrikke, don't feel sorry about time before replying. It is incredibly kind of you to reply to me and help me on my journey.

With the leaning.. I think I was leaning a little like on a bike rather than staying centered on the horse - It is more of a weight distribution as I understand him rather than a lean in that if I am leaning my seat is not as strong and if the horse changes direction suddenly it will throw my balance more and am more likely to come off then if i don't lean.

I had another lesson with him last sunday and am now riding the canter on lunge with English reining - no holding on to the saddle or anything - just balance and seat. My canter seat naturally is not as solid as my trot seat yet and needs work but I'm sure it will come as I have only had 15 minutes all up cantering without a hand holding the front of the saddle.

Now on the running. It is correct that when I am riding figures around the arena and the horse moves towards running he had instructed me to slow the horse and hold it in a well formed trot... so I don't believe he is teaching me to let the horse run.

At the moment I am not giving any different signals for canter other than asking the horse for more but I believe I should be.

So what you are saying is if asked the horse should transition from walk to canter or from a nice medium seated trot straight to canter. Correct?

How do you ask for canter then? Is that easily described or am I better off to ask at my next lesson.

My next lesson is on Sunday morning with Amir again then I am back to Thursday Afternoons with Kate again.

Thankyou for your time responding.

Hope you are well and school is going well too.


Author:  Henrikke [ Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:13 pm ]
Post subject: 

If the horse trots faster before the transition into canter, it is running into canter. Especially if you only ask for more with your legs and, because that means "trot faster" not "canter". The horse should go into canter instantly when you give the signals. Doesn't matter if it is from walk, slow trot, fast trot, holt or whatever.

The quickest way to explain how to do a canter transition is to put your outside leg a bit backwards and the inside leg a little bit forewards.


Author:  Luke Binks [ Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:07 am ]
Post subject: 

Just to add onto Henrikke's description on giving a canter lead. You want to do what she said with the inside leg a little further forward then the outside leg, and also driving a little more with the inside seat bone! As you do when trotting on a circle. Some times i describe going into canter as going up into canter as opposed to going forward into canter. Yes of course you are still going forward, but as described above you really dont want to run into canter. Its just a different mind set to have to try and help understanding. When going into a canter you dont really have to increase your forward speed at all, its just a different leg and body movement from the horse. Now it takes a well trained horse to do that, but this is what we are trying to achieve. If you have a look at the short videos i posted on Facbook with Pelle instructing me from last July on 'The Hugo' you can see a couple of good trot to canter transition. That could give you a better idea of what we are talking about. Your doing really well mate!


Author:  Bryan [ Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:07 am ]
Post subject:  Lesson 16 and last post in this topic

Hi Hana, Pelle, Henrikke, Luke and others. This is my last post in this topic as I'm no longer trot preparing for cantering but are now preparing for jumping. I am now cantering.. not going to win any dressage prizes yet... but I had my best lesson ever this morning and on a high!!

I didn't get to ask Amir about why we were running into canter because up front today he started straight in on the need to make clean transitions to and from canter from any gait. So for me thats walk to canter, slow trot to canter, medium trot to canter and fast trot to canter. Most of the time today we were going straight for a nice and collected seated medium trot to canter but the transition back from canter we still went to rising trot depending on the horses rhythm. I'm guessing that that that will also change in a lesson or two. I didn't get to ask him why we initially seemed to run in to canter for a couple of lessons as it was a full lesson an I didn't want to take a tangent during lesson time.

As I was saying it was my best lesson I have had and I felt good, balanced, in control and things really happened.

Half the lesson was on seated canter and transitions to it. The other half of the lesson was on two point and much of it cantering in two point with an introduction to three point too.. yeah starting the foundations for jumping.

The lesson went like this.

Straight up it was a very brief session on lunge in the 20 M circle. Once around in seated trot then again in seated trot no stirrups, seated with stirrups again, rising trot then a couple of times around at canter then did the same thing on the other rein. Amir made a few tweaks this took about five minutes all up as he seem reasonable happy. He took the lunge off and I was on my own in the circle and we worked on transitions to and from canter. Trying to get nice and controlled transitions from various walks and trots to canter then coming back in a controlled fashion rather then letting the horse slip out of canter.

This is my first time cantering off the lunge and it was happening for me.. I felt balanced and at no time did I feel insecure ( progress I could really feel ). :D

Spent about 15 to 20 minutes working on this. Still have to open my chest at times and have to watch as my elbows can creep forward out of position.. but I was feeling comfortable and that for me was a great feeling.

I then was returned briefly to the lunge to try two and three point at canter quickly in each direction the back off the lunge practicing transitions at two point and riding circles at canter in two point. spent about 15 minutes really in two point with a little three point mixed in.

Yes cantering around in two point!! I can't barely believe it myself but yeah I was feeling pretty comfortable. Of course I was getting posture correction and struggling a little with getting my posture perfect all the time and my heals came up a few times .. but I felt like I was moving with the horse and not the slightest feeling that I may come off.

I will ask at some stage why I was allowed to run into canter for a couple of lessons and find out if there was a reason or whether it was me, as we say, getting the wrong end of the stick and missunderstanding instructions etc.

But I'm doing nice clean transitions now and in the main thats what counts.

I'm guessing now that work will continue on my trot and canter seats for years to come but my guess is that they will now look at teaching me other skills too as it looks like I'm starting in on the foundations for jumping. So do I want to take up jumping?... don't think so but reckon learning the basics and doing some jumping could come in handy and may save my bacon one day if I end up in the situation where the horse needs to or decides to jump.

I will in the near future post either some more photos or video for comment.

I would like to thank all who have replied to my posts related to beginning to trot and preparing for cantering.

I will be starting a new topic when I see what direction my lessons now take.

I know that I will be working on my seat, and trot for the rest of my life and will have more questions on this too as I learn more but I now have the basic and solid foundation on which to build.


Author:  Bryan [ Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:09 am ]
Post subject: 

Hanne - sorry for the typo on your name in the last post!! :oops:

Noticed it JUST after I pressed the button. Sorry.. so silly of me!!

Author:  Hanne [ Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:58 am ]
Post subject: 

Good work, Bryan. And, to quote Shakespeare:
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Haha! :D

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