The challenge is real… And, unfortunately, the momentum is as well! For so many riders, cantering is all well and good until the point where you have to turn! Cantering around corners can be so challenging for many riders for a lot of reasons. Here are 3 points to focus on to help you maintain your alignment and balance.
1. Understand Momentum
When cantering around corners, there are certain laws of physics at play! One of the easiest ways to think about this is to use the example of a children’s merry-go-round. When the merry-go-round is moving, it is much easier to remain balanced the closer you are to the center of the platform. The closer you are to the edge, the stronger the force or momentum that feels like it is sucking or pulling you off the merry-go-round. Cantering on your horse is the same.
If you are not actively positioning your body and your weight to help balance yourself, momentum will ‘suck’ you to the outside. And with your horse moving to the ‘inside’ – that is not going to end well!
2. Assess Any Potential Crookedness in Your Body
If you have a tendency to lean or collapse through your body, this will become more amplified the more energy your horse creates when you ride. Especially in the canter. Many riders don’t realize how much they collapse or they lean when they ride. Until they are asked to canter. And, even then, it is only really when they find themselves leaning to the outside around corners and through bends that it becomes a problem that urgently needs fixing!
Start by assessing yourself in the walk. From here move into the trot, and then canter. Notice any height differences between your hands or shoulders. Your knees as well. And also, how ‘equal’ you are sitting in the saddle…
3. Correct Your Weight Aids & Position
Once you have ‘straightened yourself out’ and really worked on developing symmetry through your body as you ride, now is the time to begin putting correct position and weight aids into practice. So many riders have heard that they must ‘weight the inside seat bone’. And this is not wrong. It’s just how they are doing it that’s wrong. They ‘lean’ to the inside using their shoulders – which only causes their inside seat bone to migrate to the outside of the saddle. Nope!
Weighting the inside seat bone requires you to elongate and engage the inside of your body. Think of lengthening the inside leg and then, by positioning your upper body to ride through the corner, engaging your core.
Leaning to the Outside in the Canter
It is not an enjoyable experience. However, it is one that can be corrected pretty easily if you are consistent with your approach. By looking at the overall position of your body as you ride through any corner, in walk, trot, or canter, you will begin to do this without any thought.
And when you can put the basics of position, weight, and straightness on autopilot, that is when you will find yourself, someday soon, not even thinking about this anymore in your riding.
- Using Transitions to Improve Your Posture
- The 3 Undeniable Effects of Bad Posture When You Ride
- Crookedness in the Saddle; Identifying Yours
- Weight Aids and Using Them with Intention and Focus
- Weight Aids and Seat Bones for Turning and Bending
Improve Your Canter
The canter is a big topic for riders. There can be so much pleasure and joy found there. And, often, an equal amount of bumps, flatness, and non-starts! If you are keen on improving your canter in just 4 weeks, make sure you take a look at my program Improve Your Canter.
You will learn what is happening and how you can best time your aids so that your canter will go from being hit-and-miss to smooth and connected.
With audio horse riding lessons to listen to 4 days a week while you ride, all filled with different exercises for you to practice, Improve your Canter will help you finally ride the canter the way you want. Every single time.