Confident Rider Challenge Day 29
Oh yes, day 29 in the challenge! One more day, just one more day! And today is one I have been thinking about for a while, for myself personally.
And everyone is different and has their own personal struggles. For whatever reason, mine is cantering for the first time. But then after I do it, I remember how awesome it is, and then I work to get my horse to canter successfully, and consistently. Consistently is the big challenge for Frisby.
But the good thing is, even if I don’t canter around on my horse right now, I’m ok with that.
Are YOU Ready To Canter?
And I stress the word YOU. And for this post, I chose to talk about cantering. But you can take that word out and replace it with whatever challenge you face in your riding or working with your horse. For example, if it makes your heart drop to your feet when you think about taking your horse for a walk, that would be your canter. Does that make sense? I hope so.
So the goal for today is to focus your attention on something that challenges you. Even if you don’t get all the way there, but you take the steps to get you to that ‘next’ level of your confidence.
And a lot of times I say, it’s ok, you don’t have to do it, and I mean to myself, but at some point you have to take it to the next level. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there and just do it.
Again I am talking about myself. You need to figure out what is best for you and your horse. Work at your own pace, and determine when you are ready to challenge yourself.
Before You Canter
But before you decide if you are ready to canter, if you want to be successful and feel secure in the saddle, it helps to have the basics down. How is your leg? Is it secure at walk, and trot? If you have a quiet and steady leg in sitting and rising trot, that’s the first step.
And how about your hands? Are the quiet?
Do you feel that you can walk and trot around the arena without grabbing the reins for stability? If you find yourself catching your horse in the mouth with the reins, you might want to work on that before you canter.
And we can’t forget our seat. Your seat is going to need to remain fairly quiet in the saddle and stay connected in the canter.
If you have all of these components in place, you are almost ready to canter. But there is one more thing that you really need to have in order to go faster on your horse.
Ready, Set, Canter
How is your mindset? Are you wanting to do more? Do you find yourself ready? If you are comfortable and starting to get bored with walk and trot I think you are ready to canter. And when you do it for the first time, don’t worry about how long you go. Just ask for the canter and see what happens.
You want to set your horse up for success though, and cue him for a canter. This means tip his nose in a little bit and add a little outside leg to encourage him to pick up the correct canter lead. By applying the outside leg, and having his nose tipped in it makes it easier for him to pick up the correct lead. (The inside leg is the leading leg) And it also helps to have him canter down the long side of the arena. It’s easier to canter on the long straight side. But I also find it easiest to ask for the canter when we are going around the turn. I don’t know why, it just seems easier when he is already beginning his bend to go around the corner of the arena.
And you will find that the more you canter, the better you and your horse will be at it. And the more you practice, the more confident you will be!
All right, today is the day, if you are ready, today is when you will ask your horse for a canter. And I know it might not be your favorite thing to have someone watching you while you pick up the canter, but it is safer if you have someone with you in the arena for your first canter. It can be a friend, spouse or trainer. They don’t really need to be experienced to watch you but it’s safer to have someone out there with you.
If you feel up to it, then go for it!
If not, keep working your way up to it. Work on your trot and two point position. Eventually you will want to canter. And continuing to work on your strength and confidence will get you there! So put on your helmet, have your significant other grab your video recorder, and go spend some time riding your horse.
And be sure to come back tomorrow for out final day of the confident rider challenge!