Friday, September 17, 2010

Cantering catastrophe

Yesterday I got an ugly look at what I'm doing wrong at the canter. I think this picture sums it up pretty clearly:

Cantering BADLY

I'm having problems keeping my heels down, and I am hunching my shoulders BIG TIME in a misguided attempt to sit deeper. My trainer is trying to get me to sit tall with my shoulders back and my hips rotated so that I can move with the horse. She calls it "sticking out the goods" or something like that — boobs out, butt out.

She took some video, too, but it looks so bad I didn't even have the heart to post it!

I couldn't ride today because a trip to the eye doctor robbed me of my vision for most of the day (I hate having my eyes dilated!), but I'll bet you can guess what is on the agenda for tomorrow... Practice, practice, practice!



At September 18, 2010 at 12:15 AM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

I hope you dont take this wrong, but it just looks like your stirrups are to short.
I would hope your trainer would catch that though soooo??
The bottom of the stirrup should hit your inside ankle bone when your sitting, with your foot out of the stirrup, straight down.
Its really hard to get heels down when the stirrups are to short.
I cant even explain how I do it anymore, but I am unaable to put my heels up after riding for so long, LOL. Relax and open up your pelvis. Yeah I know its easy to say these things LOL
I coached 4-Hers for 13 years.
Have fun with it.

At September 18, 2010 at 12:27 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Well, I think English as a discipline rides with shorter stirrups. I've heard this from a lot of people, at any rate. So 4-H would be different.

I have actually asked my trainer about the stirrup length, though, and she says they are where she wants them for me.

Relaxing my pelvis is one of the things I'm having the most trouble with, though, you're right. What's so difficult is that you can't think, "Relax," because then you are trying to MAKE your body do something, which is the exact opposite! I know I'll get it eventually -- it's just frustrating.

At September 18, 2010 at 9:20 AM, Blogger lopinon4 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At September 18, 2010 at 9:41 AM, Blogger lopinon4 said...

If you trust your trainer, you should definitely follow her instruction. However, you would find it a bit easier to put/keep your heels down at all the gaits if you could lengthen your leg just a tad and allow your leg to come under your point of balance, not in front of it. Some work without any irons at all would benefit you, and build your core. If you feel Panama wouldn't like that, is it possible for you to lesson on a school horse a time or two?

Good luck, and have fun!

PS ~ I also hate having my eyes dilated! Bluck!

At September 18, 2010 at 10:51 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

lopinion, I have been practicing some without stirrups, but not at the canter. That kind of scares me, even though I know it would help in the long run! Panama also has a fast trot, which makes sitting it without stirrups pretty hard, and makes me even more worried about the transition into the canter. Lately he seems to be figuring out the slower trot, though, so maybe once he does I'll feel better about cantering without stirrups.

My trainer has suggested learning certain things on another horse in the past, but I'm afraid I'm the one who resists doing so. I don't know how to explain it, other than that I just have no interest in riding another horse!

At September 18, 2010 at 9:50 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

English equatation is not that different than other flat equitation classes. There is no way you can get a leg around them and keep your legs back, if the stirrups are to short.
4-H is no different in expectations than any other equitation class, it is just a beginning usually.
If you are riding Jumpers, they usually have a much shorter stirrup, not the dressage or hunt equitation on the flat.
Just sayin.

At September 18, 2010 at 10:33 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

I've been looking at some videos on YouTube of English riders who appear to know what they're doing, and their stirrups don't look any longer than mine. I trust my trainer, and I think she has been doing hunter jumper for long enough that she would know how long my stirrups ought to be.


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