View Full Version : Canter position

13-04-12, 04:43 PM
I have a problem and don't know the cause.

Whenever I canter, I always end up in right canter position. By that I mean the position you use when you ask the horse to canter on the right rein. On the left rein, I sit properly and ask for canter properly, but somewhere in the canter I change position.

Why would I be doing this? At present I am noticing as I need to use the outside aides for circling and it is obvious when my right leg is out of position. So I am self fixing which I'm hoping will translate into staying correct.

I had previously thought it to be the horses I ride as they were both stiff on the same side etc. But I rode a school horse of my instructors yesterday and I did exactly the same thing on him even though his canter was exceptionally smooth and balanced.

The good outcome of that ride was my instructor said it is the best she has seen me ride, which was lovely, and I have some good ideas for working with my horse. The horse, whilst a well trained school master, had some evasions and you had to ask correctly to get him to work correctly, which I handled fine and he worked really nicely for me.

But I still did that canter BS that I do all the time and it is annoying me.

13-04-12, 05:41 PM
Have you tried...
Pull your right leg back to neutral position and turn your knee and toe out just a touch.
Opens up your right hip,

stops your right thigh pulling your pelvis a little to the right, which your left hip and stirrup then tries to counteract.
Leads to a canter right pelvis and leg position

Do you wear sweat patches under the saddle evenly.

My tight left hip leads me to a canter left position...unless I remember to turn the toe/knee a touch out.

13-04-12, 07:10 PM
i will try that Harriette. It's working while I'm sitting on the couch LOL

ETA sweat patches are even

13-04-12, 08:10 PM
ETA sweat patches are even

cool, so your conscious enough of your weight distribution through your seat bones to prevent your weight being drawn to the right seat bone...making your pelvis lopsided...and uneven sweat marks

Hope it works for you. Certainly made a huge difference to me...says my pony.:D

13-04-12, 08:27 PM
I used to have the same problem, and it turned out i had a slightly rotated pelvis. It was tipped forward and twisted to the left. I started to see a chiro, and it helped a lot. I am nowhere near as bad now. :)

13-04-12, 10:20 PM
I am like Sharyn. My right hip twisted up all the time because it turned out my pelvis was slightly rotated. In the canter was worse, and I was sometimes putting my weight in my left stirrup in the sitting trot, because my right hip kept creeping up. Regular chiro trips have sorted it and now I know when I need another visit to the chiro because my hip will rise up again :)

13-04-12, 11:56 PM
It still could be because the horses you have ridden most are crooked in the same direction. This would SET your position to "crooked" and any horse you get on you will ride the same way. In the long run you would either make that horse crooked to suit your body or (as you would hope) you would recognise that there is a problem and rectify it.

So your right hip has drawn forward, your right knee probably draws up and your right leg is "strong" on the horse's inside. Your left leg would seem to be in the correct position to control the hindquarter

But - this is probably the direction that the horse is already bent in and so you are just confirming him in this position and avoiding making him straight.

One thing you can do (as well as the other suggestions) is to make the horse straight in the right canter and do as much work in a "neutral" position as possible.

Then go from neutral to a few strides of counter bend to strengthen your other aids. Then do a walk transition, pick up the left canter as well as you can, do a small circle to the left in canter and then walk again.

You need to minimise the length of time you spend cantering in the wrong position. Do good canter, then get out of it, then do good canter again.

Also, if you can get out in the open and do canter on the left rein in two point - check your toe position - they should be the same. Test your thigh strength. Stabilise the leg and back at the canter but without sitting on your crooked butt. :D

14-04-12, 01:22 AM
I used to have the same problem, and it turned out i had a slightly rotated pelvis. It was tipped forward and twisted to the left. I started to see a chiro, and it helped a lot. I am nowhere near as bad now. :)

Hi k123 im thinking the same as Sharyn, have you seen a chiro?

in one of my lessons my instructor asked me to sit up straight, i thought i was :confused: they then got me to move my hips and shoulders and then said now your straight!
i didnt feel straight, felt more like i was a letter in the alphabet.
turns out my pelvis was rotated and it was near impossible for me to be straight but after quite a few sessions i can now sit on both seat bones and they havent had to tell me to "sit up straight since :D
hopefully your problem can be easily fixed to.

14-04-12, 08:09 AM
bats 2 point is my go to position and is possibly that because I unconsciously feel unbalanced when I'm crooked. Instructor is insisting I sit which is fair enough. I do see the chiro because of a right lower back injury.

Lets see if I can remember my faults. They're all improving and some my instructor hasn't mentioned for a fair while.

I tend to weight the right stirrup. This hasn't been mentioned for ages and I've noticed I'm sitting deeper and not tucking the left leg, so possibly nearly fixed that.

my left shoulder comes forward
I usually have too much right rein

Current exercises are giving with the right rein, keeping left shoulder back and maintaining left rein, riding patterns and making sure my shoulders are parellell to the horses shoulders, making the horse straight on both reins, pilates everytime I ride.

Homework is going well and instructor was very happy with our improved straightness last lesson. It still needs work to become the norm, but it is progressing in the right direction. I think the exercises to straighten the horse are also straightening me, which makes sense.

So it's sounding like continue as we are and I'll be fixed?

ETA its amazing what seeing something in writing will do. Left shoulder forward, too much right rein = twisting right much?! Silly silly me. The answer was right there in front of me and I couldn't see for looking.

14-04-12, 08:14 AM
Do you collapse your right hip, draw the right leg up and bring the right hand back?
Have you tried just sitting really tall with two long legs, rather than trying to untwist yourself, which can just add to the contortions?

14-04-12, 10:46 AM
Kizzy that is EXACTLY what I do when my pelvis is rotated!!! My right hip collapses, draws the leg up so there's not as much weight in the right stirrup, then my right shoulder goes back and I'm all crooked and twisted on the right. My poor horses!!

14-04-12, 12:46 PM
interestingly kizzy, I tuck up the left leg and keep the right leg perfect. That said I haven't tucked the left leg for ages, which is good.

The exercises we're doing for a straight horse don't work as well if my legs aren't even. So I think my instructor has found a way for me to self correct, which is perfect. If I'm asking and horse isn't doing the first correction is to check both legs are long, weight is even and I haven't tucked that left up.

Horse over bends to the left and avoids left leg, he doesn't bend well to the right. The last few rides, we're doing super and today had perfect circles both directions. By perfect I'm referring to the horse being straight and even in the bridle. He has a habit if leaning on the right rein. Instructor has said it's not me causing that, which is good, but me being stronger in the right rein doesn't help.

We did our shoulder practise at the end and got some lovely work there too. Hopefully instructor will be pleased with us on Wednesday :)

The really positive thing from my ride on the schoolie is that correcting for straightness seems to be coming second nature and automatic. I had to think about it a couple of times but my instructor was super happy she never got the chance to tell me to do it as I was doing it at the right moments. So as I said, I am coming along but obviously still have a ways to go if I keep repositioning myself. That said, today I made sure every stride of canter left I was sitting in canter left.