Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In the Arena # 118 - Cloud nine...

It was bound to happen sometime.

Actually - it has happened, but only on the beach.

Never in the arena.

(Well, once in the arena at my trainer's farm, in two point riding into the corner, but it was really ugly that time.)

Today we cantered. Yep. I had been reticent to work on the canter with the old saddle - I was getting bucks at the trot with that bad fit. And I have so much work to do on the trot. And I worried about generating a whole new set of issues that I would need to correct. And I totally lacked confidence.

Today I thought - what the hell. The footing was superb after our five inches of rain over the weekend. We were having a great ride. My seat felt even, Val was reaching and using his hind end, transitions were sharp... so I slowed to a walk, reached my inside seat bone forward, put my outside leg back, and asked for the canter...

If Val had a thought bubble over his head it would have said - "FOR REAL?!"

He gave me a strung out stride of canter, and I stopped him. Walked a bit, asked again, and got another stride. It wasn't pretty. It was on the forehand. But he was willing. A few more tries, and then I got a fairly balanced step into the canter and we cantered the whole long side. And that was the end of the session.

Look out flying changes - here we come!

Love.my.horse. ❤

Did you want to see my treat face again?

21 comments:

Terry said...

Love the treat face! Too cute!

jenj said...

YAAAAAAAAAAY!!!! YOU GO GIRL!!!!

Story said...

Right on!!! Val is an awesome boy!

Annette said...

That treat face is tooooo cute! Good for you on the canter. I don't canter that often with Winston -- by the time we get good trot work, we are done. It'll come -- for both of us. Hooray for cloud 9 rides!

Fetlock said...

What a beautiful smile...your post really made my evening--funny how "horse people" know what a big deal this is. Val has a very interesting mouth...I'm just reading Linda Tellington's book about influencing your horse's personality, and she talks quite a bit in there about facial conformation and what it often reveals about a horse's personality. I'm not sure I've got a good handle on it yet (or whether or not it has a ton of value). But I do know that Val looks super contented in just about every photo I've seen of him!

juliette said...

Congratulations!!!! I am so envious of you and Val. Our time is going to come to canter too - I will use you and Val as inspiration! Good for you enjoy cloud nine. His treat face is too cute to resist.

Kate said...

Great going by both of you!

Dom said...

Huzzah!

smazourek said...

Hot Dog! The new saddle is working :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

Wahoooo! A nice canter is always something to be happy about. You two sound like you had a great ride. A lot of people wouldn't understand what a big deal that was but I do. Last time I tried to canter Dusty(last year) she felt like a pogo stick. She doesn't get it yet. Val does. No wonder he needs a treat. How could you resist with the cutest begging face I've ever seen.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Oooh, only a smile that a good canter can bring! :)

Wolfie said...

Yipee!!! How wonderful. Congratulations to both of you. That picture of the two of you says it all.

billie said...

Yay! My two cents is this: cantering will do a LOT to help improve the trot work. :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Fetlock-

Val is sooooo oral too. His upper lip is very versatile. He came to me with a rein / bridle chewing habit that I haven't conquered yet. He also grooms me any chance he can get. (and sometimes bites...)

I looked over that book a while back, checking out some horses I used to ride. Val has symmetrical whorls on either sides of his poll too. I think that's where his devil horns were. ;)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

smazourek-

Yes it is!! New saddle was a good move. :)

Val said...

Hooray! Nothing like it in the world!

That is a really good sign for the new saddle. :)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

billie-


So true! As a matter of fact - we created the most energetic trotting a few times yesterday while asking for the canter. Cat's out of the bag now. ;)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Val-

It was such a relief that he seemed to be comfortable cantering. Big lesson learned about saddle fit for sure. :)

billie said...

I was thinking more of the trot AFTER the canter! :)

Now you can do the Jane Savoie exercise - if you're trotting and not getting energy, give the cue for what I call "big trot" (really just a nice working trot) and if you don't get it immediately, ask for canter. Then come back down to walk, ask for "big trot" and my guess is you'll get it - but if not ask for canter again, and then come back down and re-test that very light, subtle cue for trot. It shouldn't take many times before the big trot will be the default trot you get every time. :)

Victoria Cummings said...

Congratulations! A good canter is like flying. Love the photo with your big smile - it says it all!

allhorsestuff said...

Yea!! You and Val rock!

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