June 14, 2012

Canter Improvements...Eventually

"Oh, I have a fun lesson for you tonight.  We are going to work on his canter!"

I looked out at the arena full of jumps and poles and standards in the most random places imaginable.

"Game on!"

"This is not going to feel good tonight, it's going to feel rough, and this isn't something he'll get overnight.  He'll need to sleep on this one.  And we are going to wear him out."

Let me see if I can approximate the arena in MS paint...

There was another crossrail out there too that we didn't use, so I didn't include it.  It looked crazy in there.
We started out with the four poles at the top, which were approximately on a 20m circle.  She had me pick up the canter on the circle, and go through the poles, no matter how bad it was, and we kept going til it got somewhat better.  We just asked for a little bit better, no major miracles.  The three poles around the corner were one strides, and they made it quite clear that he still motorcycles around at the canter with little regard to where his feet go.  He hit the poles, often.  I mainly tried to stay out of his way; I've said it before and I'll say it again, I like an independent horse that knows how to rate himself.  Obviously I'm actively riding him, but some lessons he needs to learn himself, and he did.  Probably the fifth time through he actually rated himself and thought about where his feet went.  Success!

The other success was that he was really moving well off of my leg in the canter transitions.  I would even say he was hot in the beginning, but we've done so little canter that that quickly wore off.  I am extremely encouraged by how comfortable and responsive his transitions are getting, though lately he's developed this vexing cross-canter habit unless I'm 100% perfect with my aids.  More incentive to improve myself!

It wasn't all roses though.  I'm afraid that sometimes I make my life with Connor seem like a picturesque rose garden.  This was rough, awkward, tough riding in which I lost my stirrups twice and had the reins pulled out of my hands multiple times as he tripped over poles.  I struggled to rate him and he is STILL stiff as a board to the left, which hopefully our Nancy lesson(/sort of clinic/mostly just a lesson because she comes here so often) tomorrow will help.  All in all, though, after we ended with a few good jumps over the crossrail, I felt pretty good about what he learned today.

Now it's time for him to sleep on it.  And get ready for a hardcore Dressage lesson tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. You know that sounds like fun.
    Those are the rides you will remember later as one of your building blocks.
    If he is like Comrade and Rosemary he will come back better the next time. These cobs do their homework.