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Posting the canter

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  • Posting the canter

    Is it ever appropriate? Or is it looked down upon? I'm asking because I've heard both sides. Some people call it 'hunter humping' or whatever. I tend to think it creates a fluidity between horse and rider, when a large, launching stride on a horse causes the rider to have to 'go up' with the motion to stay with him and not ride against him. It's just kind of what happens and when I feel most balanced and in sync with him.

    I ask because I find that on my horse, when he really opens up and lengthens his stride, it's actually prohibitive to try and 'sit' the canter but at the same time riding in a total half seat will throw him on his forehand. I find myself naturally sitting lightly a beat and then when his hind end swings up underneath him, I am lifted lightly out of the saddle into a light seat, and then back down. It's like, sit a stride, up a stride, sit a stride, up again.. and so on. I feel like this is what naturally happens when he is in the working canter, and that trying to 'perch' in a hunter seat only makes me lean forward in front of his shoulders and trying to sit down in the saddle only makes me 'butt grab' (a GM term), and end up driving him with my seat. Of course when I am headed to a fence, the last few times I bring myself back into the seat to avoid getting in front of him.

    I like to be a lighter rider rather than one who sits deep into their horse. I like to get up off of their back and really let them move out. (My trainer compliments me on my ability to get a horse in a nice hunter frame and getting them to lengthen nicely and really reach with their toes, so I guess it's a good thing. Just don't ask me to do Eq!).

    What do you guys think on this? I was riding tonight for a while and realized by looking in my shadow thinking 'Oh crap, I really am posting the canter right now, what are all the COTH peeps going to think!)- <I know a lot of people on here really dislike it >

  • #2
    Posting the canter

    As a general rule, keeping quiet with your body is the best practice, especially if you plan on jumping,
    Although you may "feel" like you are moving with the motion of the canter, in fact the ebb and flow of your seat, up and down can be more of a distraction to your horse, and throw his balance off. remember his job is to get BOTH of you over the fences, and he can feel you better than you can feel him.
    If you find yourself in this position naturally, you probably are more than likely suffering from a weak lower leg( or too long of a stirrup length) that swings while you canter, or perhaps a locked knee or ankle. All of your joints should be fluid, accepting the rythm of the stride, as long as your weight is in your heel, seat clear of the saddle ( for jumping) or in a half seat, and your leg tight, but not in a death grip, outside of your iron leading the inside and your toe slightly turned out, you should do just fine, everything else should fall into place. Sorry for the equitation 101 lesson.
    As for aesthetics, I find equitation should always be functional, ( study George Morris's method and you'll see that form follows function) meaning if it facilitates your horses job and doesn't interfere, then it's nothing more than "ugly", or as we sometimes call it "Stylistic" And who's to say what's ugly yeah?

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by ponyjumpers74 View Post
      As a general rule, keeping quiet with your body is the best practice, especially if you plan on jumping,
      Although you may "feel" like you are moving with the motion of the canter, in fact the ebb and flow of your seat, up and down can be more of a distraction to your horse, and throw his balance off. remember his job is to get BOTH of you over the fences, and he can feel you better than you can feel him.
      If you find yourself in this position naturally, you probably are more than likely suffering from a weak lower leg( or too long of a stirrup length) that swings while you canter, or perhaps a locked knee or ankle. All of your joints should be fluid, accepting the rythm of the stride, as long as your weight is in your heel, seat clear of the saddle ( for jumping) or in a half seat, and your leg tight, but not in a death grip, outside of your iron leading the inside and your toe slightly turned out, you should do just fine, everything else should fall into place. Sorry for the equitation 101 lesson.
      As for aesthetics, I find equitation should always be functional, ( study George Morris's method and you'll see that form follows function) meaning if it facilitates your horses job and doesn't interfere, then it's nothing more than "ugly", or as we sometimes call it "Stylistic" And who's to say what's ugly yeah?
      Great response! Regarding stirrups- I've been struggling with my stirrups for some time now, I've gotten to the point where if I put them up any higher my back hurts and I'm tipped forward and don't feel like I have a good base of support. Especially not for jumping.

      I don't know, maybe I should put them up a half hole or so and ride it out and hopefully I get used to them?

      Comment


      • #4
        First of all, I think you may not be getting many responses because no one can understand you when you say "post the canter". I think we have pretty much determined that you mean you cannot sit the canter and are bouncing around on a maybe really springy horse?

        If your stirrups are up that short to the point where if you go any shorter you feel insecure, don't put them up shorter, that probably won't help.

        To stick to the saddle, try relaxing and softening your lower back and put your shoulders back. That way you can actively push your crotch down into the saddle (as is necessary on some springy horses) and not bounce around so much, if you want to sit the canter.

        Also, is your horse moving in a round frame and using his hind end? If your horse is hollow in his back, you are bouncing around in a "hammock" like structure. If your horse is framed up and using his hind end, the back will raise and you will be riding on a more stable framework with less bounce.
        Last edited by headsupheelsdown; Jun. 15, 2010, 12:08 PM. Reason: spelling

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        • #5
          Actually, there IS such a thing as posting the canter, but I'm not entirely sure if that is what the OP is doing.

          Comment


          • #6
            If it's what I'm thinking of, I see a lot of trainers do this at the canter. I think they do it to relax the horse and it helps establish rhythm, i.e., slow a canter down without losing stride, would be an example. However, I don't think it's the motion of the horse that the rider is using to bump themselves up.

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            • #7
              Not a trainer... but if you can't stay in a half seat without messing up your horse, it sounds like you have some strength/balance/saddle issues that need to be addressed and I would work on that first.

              About your back, is it pain hurt, or sore hurt? I know if I haven't worked on a lot of two-point or half seat in a while then do for a whole ride or two, my back (especially lower back) will ACHE for a couple days after. But it's because I'm using that to support myself, and as I do it more (like any muscle) it gets stronger.
              Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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              • #8
                Used alot in Europe with the Grand Prix Jumpers

                When I was in England studying for and taking my AI exams, I learned this technique. It is used by a lot of grand prix show jumpers to loosen up the horses back. If done properly, it does not make the horse hollow and does help them loosen up for 5 1/2 foot fences with humongous spreads. It is really a lot of fun too!!

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                • #9
                  I've seen videos of foxhunters doing it as well.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I will post the canter to get my quiet/lazy horse to soften the back and step out in a nice rythym. I don't do it on course (hunters), but will do it in the warm up ring if she's not as loose or reachy with her step as I'd like.

                    However, it doesn't sound like what you describe -when I do it, I am deliberately switching between a full seat and a half seat on a set rythym- usually every 2 or 3 strides. I usually only do it for a lap or so, then I either sit or half seat, depending on what I'm trying to accomplish.

                    Perhaps the issue you are having is that you're a bit tight through your hip and lower back???
                    Proud Member of the "Tidy Rabbit Tinfoil Hat Wearers" clique and the "I'm in my 30's and Hope to be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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                    • #11
                      I've been told that it helps regulate the tempo of the gait, much like slowing/speeding your posting trot will.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Being an old fart, I only remeber posting at teh canter as a semi-effective way to disguise the fact that you were on a really bad mover. Now it's held up as a virtue????
                        madeline
                        * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by headsupheelsdown View Post
                          First of all, I think you may not be getting many responses because no one can understand you when you say "post the canter". I think we have pretty much determined that you mean you cannot sit the canter and are bouncing around on a maybe really springy horse?


                          Also, is your horse moving in a round frame and using his hind end? If your horse is hollow in his back, you are bouncing around in a "hammock" like structure. If your horse is framed up and using his hind end, the back will raise and you will be riding on a more stable framework with less bounce.
                          No. I'm not referring to bouncing around all willy-nilly, there have been discussions on here before regarding the posting canter and people have understood what it was.

                          And yes, my horse is moving in a round frame, really reach up from behind with his end. No hammock. He is easier to ride when he is like that, smoother, but the rhythmic 'posting' (it's actually very fluid and NOT jarring) happens during this time.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Wonders12 View Post
                            Not a trainer... but if you can't stay in a half seat without messing up your horse, it sounds like you have some strength/balance/saddle issues that need to be addressed and I would work on that first.

                            About your back, is it pain hurt, or sore hurt? I know if I haven't worked on a lot of two-point or half seat in a while then do for a whole ride or two, my back (especially lower back) will ACHE for a couple days after. But it's because I'm using that to support myself, and as I do it more (like any muscle) it gets stronger.
                            It's more of a strained feeling. I can ride around in two-point ALL day literally, but if I put my stirrups too short, (or any shorter for that matter), it wreaks havoc on my back, hips, knees, and ankle joints.

                            That's why I can't tell if it's a strength thing or actual strain!

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by HunterRider992 View Post
                              Actually, there IS such a thing as posting the canter, but I'm not entirely sure if that is what the OP is doing.
                              I think it is. Put it this way, sitting his canter is like sitting a trot. It CAN be done, but is less favorable to do than a rising/posting trot. But just at the canter.

                              It's not overly dramatic or distracting, he actually goes forward much better when I get out off of his back. It's actually a good feeling, rather than fighting the propulsion of his hind end to SIT into him.

                              Again, the reason I'm asking this is to see if it is an 'accepted' thing to do. IMO, if it makes your horse go better and makes your ride more balanced and fluid then it should be just fine. But I also wanted more insight.

                              It's hard to find video of a posting canter. I don't know why it's such an elusive thing.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                This video was submitted on a prior '09 COTH thread

                                http://equisvideo.com/winnerscircle/index25.html


                                Here is the thread:

                                http://coh.fuseiqlab.com/forum/showthread.php?t=196906

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by shekaberry View Post
                                  I've been told that it helps regulate the tempo of the gait, much like slowing/speeding your posting trot will.
                                  That's why I do it - especially with my OTTB mare. It really seemed to help regulate her pace. It can be a great schooling tool - up for one stride, down for one stride, up for one stride, etc.
                                  "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by ryansgirl View Post
                                    That's why I do it - especially with my OTTB mare. It really seemed to help regulate her pace. It can be a great schooling tool - up for one stride, down for one stride, up for one stride, etc.
                                    I've just started using this as a tool. My horse can be really slow, and likes you up off his back (goes for trainers too, so it isn't just me sitting badly), so the up one down one canter post allows me to push him forward and then get up off his back, opening up his stride.

                                    I'm not very good at it yet, but I have been told by my trainer that it is ok to use in a hunter round for opening circle and possibly in the corners if we need to get going
                                    "Look, I'm trying not to test the durability of the arena with my face!" (Because only GM can do that.)

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by nature View Post
                                      When I was in England studying for and taking my AI exams, I learned this technique. It is used by a lot of grand prix show jumpers to loosen up the horses back. If done properly, it does not make the horse hollow and does help them loosen up for 5 1/2 foot fences with humongous spreads. It is really a lot of fun too!!

                                      THIS....

                                      I have "posted the canter" (not often and mostly schooling) - it relaxes my horses when they get tense. I think it gives the horse and rider a rhythm creating a steady pace.
                                      Live in the sunshine.
                                      Swim in the sea.
                                      Drink the wild air.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by headsupheelsdown View Post
                                        This video was submitted on a prior '09 COTH thread

                                        http://equisvideo.com/winnerscircle/index25.html


                                        Here is the thread:

                                        http://coh.fuseiqlab.com/forum/showthread.php?t=196906
                                        I know off topic but that horse was digin his job..... NICE HORSE.
                                        Live in the sunshine.
                                        Swim in the sea.
                                        Drink the wild air.

                                        Comment

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