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Need help with a student

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  • #61
    in my experience, longe lessons from a knowledgeable trainer are always the fastest and most effective way to a better seat which = more confidence.


    • Original Poster

      Her seat is fine. It is the potential loss of control that worries her, and the falling off that comes from that, so I agree, making her canter on the longe on any horse but my lazy lesson horse (that she is fine cantering on) would increase her fear, not decrease it. .
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


      • #63
        I'm seeing this from a different angle. If she truly had confidence in her seat she would not be so worried about falling off.



        • #64
          I just want to add that I am speaking as a student and not as a trainer.

          I now have an OTTB that I was terrified to canter on except for a few strides. I would watch other people canter around on him, but I was always afraid of a blow up spook or a bolt. Not that he has ever done either of those things, but past experiences haunted me. One day I was having a lesson where I rode the last 15 minutes after the trainer. That day I admitted that I had never centered all the way around the ring on my horse. I started crying because I was so afraid, yet felt like such a failure that everyone could ride my horse but me. She just told me I had to do it, because every ride I was training my horse to stop suddenly for no reason, that there was something scary at the end of the ring, etc. She just stood there yelling "Keep going! Keep going!" It was the ugliest canter I have ever done, but it was such a breakthrough, and I was ready, because I knew in my gut that this lovely horse was going to be ruined by my lousy riding. I was ready that day, and your student will be ready one day, too.
          A helmet saved my life.

          2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!


          • #65
            When I started cantering, all I did was go up in two-point. Now I understand you're Dressage riders, but maybe you should ask her to get up out of the saddle for a while, just tell her to grab some mane, and pull herself out of the saddle, until she feels comfortable with the canter of the new horse, this might help her feel more secure, and you can also tie a stirrup leather/grab strap around the horse's neck, and tell her to bridge her reins, push her hands forwards to the strap, grab the horse's mane, and hold all three things (mane, grab strap, reins) while she pulls herself out of the saddle and pushes into her legs, also, try sinking her heels down if her stirrups are short enough. When I started cantering all I did was 2-point, until I got to where I'd gradually lower myself for a few strides, and then go back up if I got unbalanced. By you getting her booty out of the saddle she's also forced to balance in her lower legs, lowering her center of gravity (eventually), and it should help her feel more secure....

            Just a tip. I was once Terrified, absolutely TERRIFIED to canter. I'd try, and freak out, I'd pull up as fast as I could. Now, I'm galloping around like a lunatic, and my instructor gets mad at me for not liking the whole, long sweeping turns of the Hunter courses, haha!!
            ~Buy an OTTB, Save a Life, Gain a Forever Bond.~
            Let's say NO to Kill Buyers


            • Original Poster

              She CAN'T hold the two point because of a tendon issue in her leg. Otherwise I agree this is a reasonible idea.

              Crockpot, I get what you are saying, but this is part of her frustration. Nerves don't always respond to logic, so even though her seat is fine, truely fine, when she thinks of cantering, that all goes out the window. I mean she HAS cantered the lease horse and been great, but yet the fear crept back in and is like a living thing that crawls into the lesson, and crouches waiting to pounce.

              I think it would help if I could find a horse that is not quite as smooth as Rocket, but as quiet, to help her get used to a "Real" canter, but still on a real push horse, I just don't have that many horses to pick from.
              Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


              • #67
                I just found this thread and I have to comment because I have been battling this issue for awhile, and have just started cantering regularly in my own lessons.

                Her fear may not totally be psychological. You mentioned that she lost her balance recently in a lesson and it panicked her. She very well may have a physical issue that makes the canter more difficult to manage and subconsciously causing her fear. That is what happened with me. I was having some balance issues, that while the walk and trot were great...even sitting trot...when it came to the canter, my balance became precarious feeling and caused some old imbalance habits to reappear. It scared me, along with the quickness of the gait and "jump" into the canter.

                My lessons in canter are currently on the lunge line...so that if I feel the need to hold onto the saddle, then I can. Once I am past the initial transition, then the gait seems fine to me, and I can start to relax and enjoy it. It's primarily the transistion that makes me nervous.

                She will need consistency and soft encouragement. We didn't canter for a long time in my lessons because my instructor didn't think that I was mentally ready, when if fact, I was. So, be sure that you guys are communicating and on the same page. You may even ask her if there is something about the canter that is making her nervous.
                Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
                CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle


                • #68
                  If she has a tendon issue, maybe she can't get her foot under her to give her the balance she needs to sit a canter. She lost her foot on the trot and it panicked her, perhaps it's not even her, but this balance issue that has her out of whack. She knows she has a bad tendon, she knows that tendon can't be stretched or too weight bearing or it hurts.

                  Pain is enough of a barrier for anyone. You don't touch the electric fence because you know it will shock you and hurt you. I don't jump from high places because when I land it jars me and is needle poking you painful. (That numbing feeling when your foot falls asleep)

                  So she has this thing in her mind that she can't get her foot under her because she can't use that tendon so she is off balance.. she puts her weight on the good leg to compensate for the bad one and therefor she is creating her OWN balance issue. She isn't putting weight in the bad tendon. So if she does canter her odds of coming off are very high because of that compensating issue. And I am betting she can canter on your lesson horse because that horse is experienced and knows how to balance himself to compensate for the balance issue of the rider. Her leased horse might not be so experienced in balancing himself and she can feel that.

                  Now I am assuming it is only one bad tendon and not both on opposing sides. Some of us have hamstring issues.. I can't straighten my legs up completely and I can't touch my feet without bending my knees because my hamstrings don't have that stretch.. ALOT of Pilates work will loosen that up for me, but I have to keep doing it. Once I stop even for a few weeks the hamstring re-tightens and I am back to not being able to bend all the way.

                  I think some work outs that work with her lower body will help with loosening those tendons. (Unless this is a permenant injury and she isn't supposed to be using it) Squats, Burpees, pilates and yoga will help loosen her up.

                  So I think maybe sitting down with her and discussing this tendon issue might be something that needs to be done. I think that is messing with her riding skills more then she knows. A walk and a trot being lopsided in the balance isn't going to show up until you canter, then all of a sudden your balance issue is a flashing bold neon sign and all of your weight is being put on one side of the horse and now he becomes unbalanced and off you go. If it turns out she can work out she can find some work outs that will help loosen, elongate and strengthen those tendons.
                  Chambermaid to....


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by CHT View Post
                    Her seat is fine. It is the potential loss of control that worries her, and the falling off that comes from that, so I agree, making her canter on the longe on any horse but my lazy lesson horse (that she is fine cantering on) would increase her fear, not decrease it. .
                    Been here, done this. I was one of those adult riders who was terrified of coming off at the canter. I would freeze at the takeoff and automatically pull back, or worse if I got it I would bounce continuously because I couldn't relax and my core/back was so tense - I called it my "rising canter." I looked okay from the ground and knew the skills I needed to use, but I felt very off-balance and out of control, and was also afraid of corners and circles due to my lack of balance.

                    I got so worked up about cantering that my trainer had me forget about the canter entirely and we did nothing but trot work for 2-3 months, until I was so tired of the trot that I decided I was going to canter or quit riding. Then she put me on a very smooth older show horse with an easy canter trigger. She had me practice the takeoff on a loose rein so I couldn't pull back, and also made me whistle and hum to myself at the canter so I was forced to relax my diaphragm and breath. I got used to the takeoff and learned how to really use my core, and stopped bouncing and no longer felt like I was going to fly off. I cantered like a fiend on this old horse for another 2-3 months until I was really confident, and then I was able to move onwards and upwards.

                    So to sum it up, I was terrified like your rider and it took me about 6 months total to deal with my issues and move on. Without knowing her, my guess is that even though your student appears to have a good seat, she's tense and feeling like she's bouncing and going to fall off. The only fix for it is time in the saddle and the will to push herself to do the things that scare her. It wasn't easy, but I've trained myself to ignore the terrified little girl in me when I'm riding, and she has to as well.