February 11, 2011

Drumroll...balanced canter!

Could it really be? Rose has started using her hind end, reaching under herself, and balancing in the canter!

She made it the whole long side of the arena a few times in a row in both directions bent to the inside, accepting contact, and balanced! I was in disbelief at first and softened my aids as a reward too quickly and she broke to the trot. A quick smack with the whip and we were back to it. She was light, uphill, moving at a comfortable tempo with impulsion!

I knew that eventually we would get here, but I guess that it has been so long that I'm in shock that it finally happened. As a reward she also got to do a little hand gallop along the long side, which she was confused about at first, but then decided she liked. Sometimes you really can see Mr. Seattle Slew in her. After the hand gallop, she listened right away and collected nicely back on the short side of the arena. Given how well she was doing lengthening and collecting, I decided to try some figure eights with simple changes. She got even softer and sat-back more, listening, and anticipating the change after only a couple circles. I love it when she shows just how smart she is! She even cantered, balanced, a couple 10 - 15m circles, and yes it crossed my mind immediately that this means she does indeed have potential to do the jumpers down the road, assuming that she can jump.

It's a small achievement in the grand scheme of things, but it will make our rides so much easier now and in the future, so in my mind this is actually a really big accomplishment.

 *Update: I just realized this was my 100th post! Woo-hoo! Thanks for joining us on this journey.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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  1. Congratulations on your 100th post!

    I was wondering what kind of exercises you feel might have helped you on the road to a balanced canter?

  2. Story: Good question! I had to work on my position, sitting back and deep, opening and lifting through my chest. Rose had to work a lot on accepting contact and bending around my leg, especially to the right (her hard side). Once that all improved I started giving her little half halts and then asking her to give me more impulsion by giving her a little leg. Viola! She started using her hind end. I'd say it took us a month of 4x a week riding to get to this point. She still has room for improvement of course but it is a huge change from her previous throwing her shoulder out, heavy on the forehand, racing around the arena, with nose in the air canter!

  3. Awesome sauce! And congrats on your 100th post. I jut made mine last week :)

  4. Thank you for the excellent answer! Dee can get rather sticky about bending around my leg so maybe this is a point we need to go back to. Very helpful!

  5. Very good. The breakthroughs are always rewarding, aren't they? Since Smokey knows just about everything for me the trick was figuring out his "buttons". I had a quite a few "so that's how to get you to do that" moments. Feels good, doesn't it?



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