Sunday, May 5, 2013

Teaching Cantering through our Trail Ride

Golly has a tendency to get worried when we work on something hard for too long.  When he does, he starts to shut down and while he continue to learn, the progress slows.  For that reason, I try to mix up his training with some trail rides and other fun days.   

So last week we went on a trail ride with a friend and her lovely Percheron stallion.   The weather was great and the facility, Maxwell Hall in Benedict, has great footing and varied terrains ranging from wooded hills to wide paths surrounding fields.   It also has has a nice beach entry where you can take your horse into the river.   

Golly LOVES the river and as soon as he sees it, runs in up to his belly.   He would go further but I turn him so my saddle doesn't get soaked.  Of course, he also uses his massive hooves to splash so we end up getting at least partially wet anyway.  I enjoy watching his joy in playing in the water.
We were able to throw in a couple trotting and cantering sets and he did well.  No bucking at the canter transition.  Good relaxed canter and was able to vary his speed at the canter when needed.

His endurance was good too.   Some light sweating but no "shaving cream marks" and no heavy breathing.   Also never really asked to break his gaits to the lower one.  

This is all good news as one of my fears is that he will not be able to maintain his soundness while learning the  canter.  With him its a fine grey line between working him enough to keep the lesson fresh in his head and not working him so much that he loses it mentally or physically.    With my volunteer and work commitments though, we usually err strongly on the side of not enough work.

So some good progress.....  I need to set up some lessons this month so we can continue this canter work.  I'm determined to get this.

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