Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Inadvertent Canter and Two on the Trailer

Drift and I had an interesting ride today.  He was very calm leading in and calm on the cross ties.  His walk was pretty good from the beginning - fairly cadenced and relaxed with some stretching down to the contact.  But when I asked him to trot - I got that "I'm really full of myself" trot - not that forward and, how shall I say, "ready for action".  The day was pretty chilly - barely 50F with some fog and drizzle and he was feeling a bit feisty.  Then, whenever I asked for trot from the walk - and all I was doing was thinking the new rhythm and breathing out with the slightest whisper of leg - he would try to spring into the canter.  I'm not sure what he was thinking - maybe it was the chill and feeling frisky, maybe it was that trotting is hard work and cantering is easier, maybe it's that he's a little sore behind from all the work we've been doing and cantering is more comfortable.  There were a couple of springy, "fishtail" moments - not bucks exactly but fairly leapy and springy.  We had one "bring nose to boot, push him around in a tight circle with inside leg" when he did something more like a buck, and then kept right on working.

Since he wanted to canter so much, I decided to use what he was offering.  My objective was for him to trot when I said trot, and keep trotting, and canter only when I said canter.  So we did some canter at my initiative - I haven't cantered him before and he's really not ready to do it yet (although close) since our trot work isn't stable and reliable yet.  He's got a really nice canter but not much in the way of brakes - the bracing showed up again as is typical as the energy level increases, although a verbal whoa works fairly well and when he got too excited I turned him towards the fence. Finally, after some more "springing", he was able to work through it and give me what I want - consistent trot when I wanted trot, and canter when I asked.  Since his canter isn't very controlled yet, we didn't canter far - a big half circle or so before I asked him to slow.  We did a number of trot and then canter sets until I was satisfied with the trot and the canter was when I asked.

I took Dawn out and lunged her briefly - both my daughter (who rode her for a bit yesterday - Dawn was very mellow) and I felt that she was the slightest bit off/stiff. It's pretty subtle, but there was a little something, so I didn't ride her today.

And then Drift and Dawn went for a ride in the trailer.  I loaded Drift first in slot number 2 (I like to use slot 1 for hay - there's a stud barrier between slot 1 and slot 2).  Then I loaded Dawn in slot number 4 - the back slot.  They were both nervous but loaded well.  I closed everyone up and we went for a quick drive - about 5 minutes - around my development.  When we unloaded, both Dawn and Drift exited a bit too fast for my taste - and at first Drift tried to turn around - I stopped that - there really isn't room for him to do it safely.  So Drift got to load again and back out when I asked - he wasn't thrilled by the idea but did it, again too fast but at least at my request.

We may do another load-and-ride tomorrow.

5 comments:

  1. It sounds like the weather may be a factor in Drift's behavior. I know this past weekend I had the same thing with Blue. He wanted to spring into the canter when I only cued for the trot. Trailer lessons seem to be going well and I'm sure with more practice they'll be just where you want them.

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  2. Sounds like you were able to make the best of a feisty Drift. Glad you didn't let the springy cool temperatures get the best of both of you. One wonders when it will warm up!

    I am trying to catch up on all your horse adventures - I hope Pie is doing better now! I missed that whole story.

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  3. Canter is a definite evasion to forward, but I always hate to make a big issue of it. Glad you made use of it as an exercise.

    Good job, too, on the trailering. It's nice to be able to prepare the horses for the upcoming events.

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  4. Sounds like a good day overall in spite of the weather making Drift a bit flighty. Glad to hear the trailer loading is going so well too.

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  5. I love that you practice loading and riding in the trailer on days when you don't have anywhere to be. Everyone should do that.

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