Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cantering on another Horse

Golly and I are continuing our work on the canter and its coming along.  Most canter departs are without a buck and are  starting to look what I call a "real" depart.  Even the transitions to trot are coming along.    However, I think I am still giving him mixed signals.   "Canter.   But don't canter too much... certainly not enough to buck.   Canter.... or don't.... I mean we can do it next time around if you think it will bring a buck."

Not too good for him.   How can I expect him to believe he can canter well if I don't believe he can?

Picture from Claddagh Equestrian Center
We have been working on this canter for a LONG time.  First he wasn't strong enough.  Then as our training progressed and he should have been able to canter he seemed very unwilling and then eventually started doing massive bucks each time I asked.   I eventually got his hocks injected with the suspicion of being about twelve years old that his hocks could be in the process of fusing.  That was a major turning point.  The bucks started decreasing.    Unfortunately, then MY knees started having issues.   I had a knee replacement last fall and started riding again in mid January slowly.  So we we've had a few setbacks in our cantering but I think we are heading in a good direction.  The problem now is that I have not cantered for so long that we have the situation where a newbie is teaching a newbie.  Not a good situation.

So I visited a local farm to take a lesson on a horse that canters with no issue.  I forgot to take pictures but snagged this photo of the horse I rode, Goodie, from their Facbook page.  Goodie's regular job is a hunt horse and she is quite a gem.    Canters off with no issues and has good brakes too!

This picture is a good example too of what they were trying to teach me -- to stand up in the stirrups (more straight up than in two point) in a balanced position.  In my case, she wanted me to put my hands midway up on the horses neck for balance.   This was hard for me -- both physcially and menally.  Mentally because I felt vulnerable in the event that Goodie was going to buck (she never even hinted at bucking though) and physically because I just wasn't used to that position.  Physically it also pointed out that I wasn't as balanced as I thought I was.

During the lesson I also realized that I was cocking my hands inward rather than having my thumbs up and pointing forward.  A habit I will have to work on  for sure.

I was able to work past the fear though and got Goodie into a good rolling canter multiple times, staying up in my stirrups and remaining pretty balanced.  While I held mane at times, I don't think I ever pulled on her mouth so I was glad of that.

Now just need to keep at it!

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