How To Get A Better Canter

Hey Superstar, we are about to discuss what tools you can use to get a better canter – by improving your mindset!

What do you think about when you are cantering?

The first thing that most riders are not clear on is the kind of canter they want. It’s all about preparation and making sure you are prepared in the trot, into the transition, and then in the actual canter you are clear about the canter you want. The second thing is that people are scared to canter or scared to go fast in the canter. The last thing is what you are picturing in your mind.

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I’d love to hear from you how you go and what strategies you use stop yourself from leaning forward when you ride!

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To Your Success,

Natasha Althoff

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Hi dressage superstars, welcome to training with Tash Tuesday.

I am super pumped because the month of October is all about mindset. People are constantly looking at how they can improve their riding, but they very, very, very, very rarely look at how they’re thinking and if they change their thinking, how that can improve their riding. My riding completely transformed and accelerated when I just changed my thinking about my riding. So for the month of October I want to do some cool things with you and explain just by changing your thinking, you can change the experience you have on your horse and how well you do in your dressage riding.

So let’s get into it. How to improve your canter, with your thinking. So when you think about when you’re cantering, what are you thinking about? I’d love to know what do you think about when your cantering? And some people say, trotting, not falling off, not dying, not being out of control when can I not? When can I stop cantering again?

And maybe you were thinking, how can I make this canter better? That’s a good thought to have. Whenever I’m riding, my horse I’m constantly going, how can I make this better? Now, I thought of three big things that you should think about or that you should not be thinking about when you’re riding a horse in the canter.

Now the first thing is most riders are not clear on the kind of canter they want. So they’re trotting and then they go, oh, I need to canter. Okay, canter. They ride the transition really sloppy. And then they just canter. They’re not thinking anything. Now you can see he’s pretty much above the bit, did a horrible trot canter transition and the cancer itself is pretty crappy, so let’s not do that!

So most people when they see me ride the horses, go your horses just do everything right. They do everything. They look so pretty… Um, yes, because I’m working my arse off! Making them stay there. So now here is a trot that I can ask for the canter once I’ve gotten him. Okay, now I’m just going to ask canter transition. And that’s better. And the actual canter I’m clear on what canter I want. I want it bouncing. I want it forward and not running, I want the contact nice and soft. I want him soft to the inside. I want him inside leg to outside rein. I want him through. I want the hind legs active. I want the half halts to come through. And then the trot – I know what trot I want. Good boy.

So the first thing I see people do is they don’t know – Step one, they don’t know what canter they want.

If you don’t know what you want, you’re not going to get something amazing. Guarantee you that. So you have to know what kind of canter you’re looking to create. The second thing that riders do wrong, is they’re scared to canter or they’re scared to go fast in the canter. So they say… canter – don’t canter, canter – don’t canter and they have this horse on the most collected canter and they’re using their hands way too much because they don’t want to let the horse go. Do an exercise. Let your horse go. Nothing bad will happen.

And if it does, you pick up your reins and fix it. Good boy. But it’s very confusing to a horse to ask them to canter but then not allow them to canter by keeping them too collected or too short in the neck, or you’re holding your reins all the way up. Sorry buddy. Good boy. So yeah, it’s really important that when you ask for canter, good boy, you allow the horse to canter. And if there’s any mindset stuff that you have to do, get over it. Like you have to be really, really careful. I shouldn’t say get over it. That was really disrespectful of me. Not get over it, you know, just get over it, but work on it. If you’ve got a challenge in your riding, the first thing that you have to do is admit that you have a challenge and then go and go and get an answer for it.

It really surprises me that people live for years with a problem that can be fixed, but they thing that it’ll just go away on it’s own. It won’t go away on its own – you have to do some work to get it to go away on its own. So if you want your canter to be good, know what kind of canter you want, allow the canter that you want to happen.

And the third thing is what you’re picturing in your mind. So every time I canter picture that my horse was jumping over cavalettis, the more jump you have in your canter, the better it’ll score and the more active the horse would be. Think if you actually had cavalettis all around on the circle and the horse had to go jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, it’s going to be a great canter, and that’s what you want your canter to have a really nice jump, a really nice momentum to it forwardness to it and everything that you need. So I trust that helps.