All this talk about canter leads has led me to some end of the
K>>->balance) for a lead, etc. Sounds pretty bad, are you sure it was the
K>>->style or just a very POOR stable/riding instructor. (though I know a
K>>->lot of folks who still think that pulling the horses nose to the outside
K>>->is the right way to ask for a lead).
D> I have been riding hunt seat for about 3 years now - it is the only
D>style I know, having learned it right from the beginning. I have been taught
D>to grip with the knees and thighs, and to use outside rein and outside leg
D>to ask for a canter, putting the horses lead to the outside.
To respond to Kitty and Pat, I was taught the same method, and it ain't so long
ago [within 10-15 years - now I feel really ancient:-)]. As a beginner,
I didn't know anything about balancing the horse (guess we figured that
was its problem as we had quite enough to handle keeping ourselves aboard),
and it wasn't so much `pulling the horse's nose to the outside' as it
was setting the head so that the horse couldn't duck to the inside - my
`favorite' school horse used to take the opportunity to pop into the
middle of the ring for a mild bucking spree whenever she got bored - my
form may not have been wonderful but I did learn how to ride a buck - and
got her moving into the canter. The other method was to show her a jump :-).
Back to the point.... The same method was reinforced for beginning
and intermediate levels by at least three other instructors, one of whom has
winning riders on the A circuit - so it is not so much poor instructing
as the accepted norm of the day for learners (hear my creaking bones...)
although it might in hindsight be seen as an wrong approach.
Springtwist (my mare) taught me that setting the head wasn't
at all necessary on a properly trained, single-rider horse.
She's all go from the start anyway, just sit deeply and
carefully, put the outside leg back a bit for the opposite front
lead and cluck - bang, we're gone! Now, if somebody could
tell me how to control the explosion a little bit and come out
balanced as well, we'd be in business! We've just gotten to a nice, balanced
canter from the trot most of the time, although she much prefers an all-out
run! Now ask me why we don't do hand-gallops very often....
D> I must ask : why is gripping with the knees "bad"? Why is
D>using the rein to ask for a lead "bad"? Why is head to the outside "bad"?
D>What do you consider the proper lead when cantering in a schooling ring?
P>Gripping with the knees brings your lower leg away from the
P>horse, and _really_ unbalances you. Pinching with the knees over
P>fences can cause your whole lower leg to swing up, sending you
P>forward (onto the neck) and possibly kicking (or spurring) your
P>horse while it's in the air. The theory _I've_ learned (over
P>many years) is that you're really supposed to wrap your legs
P>around the horse. Think of it as allowing the horse to move
Gripping with the knees usually involves tightening the thigh and
back muscles - the result is similar to that of a squeeze-bottle of ketchup
wielded by fun-loving nephew in a backyard BBQ brawl - squirts
you right up out of the saddle. I like to think of the proper
grip as that of `giving your horse a hug' with your legs. By
pushing your weight down in the heels and around the barrel of
the horse, you're not as likely to get popped out of the saddle.
Since the grip is downward with thigh and calf, not squeezing
upward, the motion will keep you in the saddle - and relaxed.
P>canter departs as I should be!). There are 3 ways I've seen (or
P>heard of) horses trained :
P> diagonal aids (inside hand, outside leg for inside lead)
P> outside lateral aids ("pop" the shoulder - often used on
P> inside lateral aids (I understand these are the dressage aids)
P> It's just more confusing.
To beginners, its all confusing. Just to add another technique to
your list. I'm not sure where this horse picked this one up -
maybe some of the reiner riders can explain.... I rode a gelding
this spring that started into the canter if you sat still, i.e. didn't
use the reins to set the head, etc. but simply touched behind the
girth with the outside leg and at the same time, tapped the outside
shoulder with the crop. He was being used as a reiner, but apparently
had a history of going both English and Western (loved to jump!).
I've been rambling on too long, bye.