Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cantering breakthrough

So tonight was lesson night for me and Kieran. It was also my first ride in my new jointed stirrups from horseloverz that I got for like $16.90 during their dollar days a little while ago. They're heavier than my other stirrup irons but I think I like them. They also seemed to help my leg. Christina mentioned it seemed to move a lot less tonight than I've had a tendency to do before and asked if I'd been riding more since the last lesson but really? I haven't ridden all that much recently (argh). So I'm attributing it to the stirrups (and leathers that are even).

Anyway, when the lesson started, Kieran's brains had flown off somewhere. Didn't want to stand quietly for mounting. Didn't want to stand once I was on so I could get myself together and get both feet in the stirrups. Just plain wasn't as cooperative as he normally is. Which...Christina pointed out something I tend to forget because he usually is so good: he's still a young(ish) horse. He's still pretty green. He's going to have these moments.

So we spent the first several minutes of the lesson walking then halting. Walk, halt. Walk, halt, back up, halt. Walk, halt. Walk halt, back up, halt, walk. You get the idea. Once he was listening again and his brains were back in his head, we started the lesson proper.

Trotting was mostly in big figure eights through the ring and trotting over poles set in the center. Nothing terribly exciting that needs writing about or terribly different from things we've done before. He did fine.

Then Christina hands me a crop. And tells me we're going to try cantering. Remember how excited I was just to get a few strides out of him in there? Yeah. So anyway, I've only carried a crop when asking him to canter so right away he knew something was up and his energy level went up (I think, for a while at least, I'm going to start carrying a crop all the time so he doesn't anticipate "oh, she's going to tell me to go faster! I'll go faster!"). He also knows which corner he's typically been asked to canter in so even just on our first trot around, he tried to go turbo trot there and then had to bring him back down, etc.

Anyway, our first several tries weren't pretty. I probably got in his way a bit and we're starting to think that going to the left is his weaker side. Got a few canter strides out of him but then coming into the next turn he'd drop back down into a trot (Christina says he kept stopping because instead of looking up through the turn my gaze was getting drawn downward for God-only-knows-why). So then we tried going right, which....we hadn't actually done before. Still took a couple of attempts but then he got it and we managed to continue the canter for one and a half times around the ring. I'm pretty sure he would have kept going, really, but I figured by that point he had it and asked him to trot. Good lord, he's so amazing. I really love his canter and once we got it that last time it felt really good (previously the turns were a little scary). Of course it probably helped I had it together too, sitting up straight, leg on, looking up, and so on. :)

Anyway, Christina says he has no excuse to not canter in there now. ;)

After that we did a couple more of the trot-over-the-poles thing just so he doesn't get the idea that once he's cantered it's the end of the lesson. Or that once we start cantering we're going to keep asking for it.

Then Christina went to help the next student get ready and I spent a while walking him around cooling off (he was steaming in the night air, kinda cool looking). I may have sung to him while we walked (the acoustics in there are pretty good!).

He also got plenty of treats for being such a good boy.

I think I'm going to go treat myself now (fudge!).

Night, all!

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