Saturday, January 11, 2014

Canter, Canter, Canter - I'm Tired and We're All Happy

Today was a day with much cantering.  And since I participated in all that cantering, whereas each horse had only their share, I can perhaps claim to be more tired that they are - though, of course, they did all the work.

My day started early this morning.  The horses had not been turned out due to ice - we got a lot of rain last night on top of a lot of snow - not nice.  But I took Pie and Red out to the paddocks to spend the day.  Then Dawn and I had a lovely ride, with lots of forward trotting so she'd get some exercise.  At the end of our ride, we did just a bit of cantering on both leads.  Her canter felt very round, and it was lovely.  We didn't canter long, as she's still rebuilding her fitness.  Then she went out for some paddock time, too.

In the afternoon, I had wonderful rides on both Red and Pie.  And there was lots and lots of cantering.  Now that I have my new saddle, Red and I can work on some real, sustained cantering, and he's also much more happy to move out with the better fitting saddle.  His canter is already feeling more even and cadenced, even on the right lead which was always rougher.  We did trot/canter and walk/canter transitions and he seemed to really be enjoying himself.  There was also a lot of very nice, forward trot work, and some more collected trot work.  Although cantering that much got him fairly revved up, we worked on him not anticipating the canter and there was a big change from the past - he used to start bracing upwards when anticipating canter - there was none of that today, he just stayed soft.

Pie and I also did lots and lots of cantering.  We've been working on him sustaining the canter and maintaining good engagement and not falling out of the canter.  So we went around and around and around - if he started to think about trotting, I asked him to continue.  There was at certain points some rushing and some speed, but my objective today was just for him to keep cantering, the best he could.  His canter has already come a very long way - he balances well, including around the corners, even without any support from my hands. I was also looking for him to breath every stride, so he can let go and relax - his canter, which is now fairly rough, should improve substantially when that milestone is achieved.  We're not 100% there on that yet, but we're close.  A session or two more of sustained canter should get us there.   We took some standing still breaks, did some side pass, turn on the forehand and haunches, and also did some long trotting.  When we briefly went back to canter at the end of our ride, his canter was relaxed and cadenced on both leads.

Canter, canter, canter - who could ask for anything more?


3 comments:

  1. sounds like great work! glad the new saddle is working out so well

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  2. Apologies if this is a duplicate message! Just saying how the canter is my favorite gait, even if it is one that I do not ride very often. Out on the trail we meander and in the ring my mare prefers the Tanter (half canter, half tantrum). It's the one gait where I feel like I am flying! It's always nice to hear about how other riders handle it and make it into a nice rocking chair.

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