When we ride there are three main gaits that we have to know: walk, trot and canter. You have to know these for almost every discipline out there and be able to do them to move up the levels. You also need to know how to cue them and do it correctly so your horse understands what you are asking. This sounds easy, right? What if there was one particular gait that you struggled with that was holding you back? With this post, I am going to discuss my struggle with canter work and what I am doing to improve it.
I like to look back on my riding history and think of myself as a decent rider. How to ride my horse and definitely know the artistry behind walk and trot, I know. I find these particular gaits to be easy and have confidence in riding them. Then we have the canter, the three beat gait that is the next step up.
This is the one I find a bit more challenging and have struggles with. I have problems with finding my seat and applying my core to be able to sit back and have a successful ride. Also, I have a weird thing going on with my hands because let’s face it…. I’m a control freak and want things to come from domination (not good)! Lastly, I struggle with confidence because I have never learned the correct way to ride this gait, especially in dressage. It’s a whole new ball game, to say the least!
One of the main struggles I have with my canter work is finding the confidence to ride the gait to the best of my ability. A couple of things that I am intimidated by are falling off and having spooks for no reason. I know that this is probably coming from my body position and how my horse is reacting to my emotions. I do find that when he thinks I am anxious everything in the world is scary and it means having a reaction that isn’t needed. Due to this I sometimes shy away from wanting to continue on with cantering.
So how do you overcome this?
I am working to overcome this with training techniques from my trainer. These are as follows: working on canter little by little for short periods of time, doing lunge work, learning to ignore intimidating situations, leaning back and just enjoying the ride. I work to not let things bother me and just go with the flow and find sometimes this way easier said than done. Every ride I am using these techniques and finding different ways to overcome my confidence issues because I am ready to move up to the higher levels. I keep pushing forward hoping that soon I will be able to ride without any struggles holding me back.
One of the things I enjoy most about riding is being able to ride all gaits of my horse even if one of them is a struggle. As a rider, I am not afraid to say that I am not the most confident when it comes to riding the faster gaits but I don’t let it hold me back. This helps me realize I want to work harder than ever to be the best rider I can be. I love riding and enjoy learning new things and all the hard work that goes into it. This will help me become the best that I can be and enjoy the journey.