Horse & Rider Weekly #3: Sitting the canter

Sitting the canter is one thing many riders face trouble in, and as for me I still haven’t mastered it completely. The canter is a rocking gait, so your hip needs to be relaxed. At the same time, your torso should be still and you shouldn’t be rocking with the horse on the top part. Here are some tips that will help you sit the canter better, and eventually you’ll get better at it, with practice. The saying goes on: “Practice makes perfect.”


Forcing the heels down will NOT help!
For some reason, all the riding instructors that I’ve been through tell me one thing. “You’re bouncing in the saddle while cantering. It’s due to your heels are not down” okay. Let’s pause here. Their definition of ‘heels down’ means your heels should be like this:

Image from Google, not mine

Image from Google, not mine

Obviously this is not the correct way to keep your heels. ‘heels down’ means your heels should be more or less level. Like this:

Image from Google, not mine

Image from Google, not mine

When you force your heels down, like the first pic, what you’re doing is bracing and exhorting your body to push the heels that down. Try it. Even when sitting on a chair. That removes the shock absorbing tendency from your ankle (or Tendon, whatever is the fancy term in your eyes) which is a crucial part in keeping your balance. Keeping your heels level will let your leg relax, and moreover your whole body, as well as your hip.

Don’t tense your hip. Relax.
Remember, the canter is a rocking gait. If you tense your hip, you won’t be able to go with the horse. Keep it relaxed. Remember though, your torso should be still. Your torso shouldn’t move with the horse, just your hip.

Also relax your overall body
Don’t tense your body either. Keep it relaxed. But remember, relaxed doesn’t mean that your entire body is going back and forth with the horse.

Look up, not at the ground
Looking down at the ground will make you nervous and as a result you’ll tense up. Look up. Breathe in. Breathe out. Don’t stress.

So those are some tips that might help with sitting the canter. I find these useful but I also haven’t mastered it completely, but I am definitely improving using these!

Thanks for reading and hope you liked it đŸ™‚
See you guys next post!


2 thoughts on “Horse & Rider Weekly #3: Sitting the canter

  1. Pingback: Horse & Rider Weekly #3: Sitting the canter | HORSE COMPANION

  2. Great tips! I agree with them all. The best way I’ve found to learn to sit the canter is with a vaulting surcingle. It’s a fantastic way to build your riding seat, find your rhythm with your horse, and build riding confidence. Here is a site showing various surcingles:
    We own an inexpensive “Camp” surcingle and I’ve put dozens of green riders on my well-seasoned horse, and they cantered right away! Check vaulting out — there must be some great YouTubes on the topic :)) Dawn

    Liked by 1 person

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