Sunday, November 30, 2014

Canter Part 3 and Photos Galore!

I wound up traveling over Thanksgiving to see my family - it was wonderful, but it means I haven't ridden or written since Wednesday - YIKES!

I've been abandoned!
I had a really good ride on Wednesday.  I decided ahead of time that I was going to work on the canter transition on the lunge line with my willing and helpful riding partner, Laura.  We warmed up on our own, walk/trot/canter, and I have to admit - he was pretty good with transitions, but since my main focus right now is sharpening the transition between trot and canter, I don't want it to be "pretty good" I want it good, or even great!

I also bought a new lens for my camera, and so we got some pictures of our warm up and lunging.
Check out that left hind!  
What does this picture say to me?  To me he's pretty engaged and working from his butt, but he isn't really through.  I feel like I'm blocking his motion right at his shoulders.  I need to bend my elbows, pull my shoulders back (which I think would help me pull my chin back), and put my heels down!


I like this picture of Gavin and I.  I'm not screwing so much with his front shoulder action in this one, and you can tell!  He's extending more and appears more connected from back to front.  I still need to put my heels down, but my elbows look much better!

Nice heels baby!
We got to work cantering.  I made it my mission to prep him.  I'd say 1, 2, 3 and then kiss while asking for the canter.  While I was saying 1, 2, 3 I was bumping him with my inside leg.  He picked up the canter easily both directions.  In the picture you can see that my heels are down and I'm holding the whip in both hands.  I couldn't figure out what to do with my hands, but I wanted to work on bending my elbows and keeping those damn heels down!  The hands still need to be a smidge higher in my opinion, but I think it's an improvement to what you see in the first riding pic.

Chicken wings! ;) - Whatev! I like how hard Gavin is trying in this, look at his ears!!
I didn't want to drill him in the canter, but I wanted to make sure he picked up the canter easily and didn't break to the trot.  Gavin believes it's my job to keep his engine revved in the canter.  And it's not, and I don't want it to be - he's not a baby horse anymore, and I'm lazy! ;)  So while lunging I stopped asking every four strides for the canter.  I went along like a happy passenger with my seat, but I allowed him to break to the trot.  When he broke (which he did twice), I'd swat him and kiss.  Then I'd do a few more circles and then ask for the trot.  All of this was done with tons of petting and praise when he was doing a good job, which was the majority of the time.

Documenting the foam on his chest!
I need to clip this beastie!  :)

I just want to say thank you to all of you who have given me such thoughtful and useful advice for the canter.  I have tried everything everyone has suggested with definite success.  Just trying new things has helped me immensely.  Jodi from Racing to Ride suggested I leg yield and then ask when I hit the wall - this has been a very successful technique and also taught me how important it is for him to be soft to the inside aids to pick-up the canter.

Gavin watching his partner in crime getting lunged
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, or a great weekend (in case you don't live in the states - Aoife!)

13 comments:

  1. He looks good in those pictures! Yay for improvement :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I ended the day very proud :)

      Delete
  2. Yay i am glad the canter work is improving. Practice and patience are our best friends as riders.
    Aw & thanks for the shout out, am jealous of all the tasty food & long weekend you guys got. Hope ye had a ball ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That should be my motto - Practice and Patience! ;)

      Delete
  3. you guys look phenomenal!! it's easy to pick pick pick on our positions in photos, but the big picture looks really great! clever idea about the lunge lesson and holding the whip to work on hand position. sounds like nice progress :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well thank you! And you're right, it is easy to pick on position, but it's another thing to coordinate your whole body and your horse's body!

      Delete
  4. Glad it's going better, and those are wonderful pictures! Looking great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! :) I'm excited by the progress we've made recently

      Delete
  5. He looks really good! I've never thought about asking for a lunge lesson with Con, maybe I should. To answer your question from my blog, YES I am still totally in love with my Listers! If you are thinking about clipping him and buying your own, I wouldn't recommend anything else for that thick Cob coat. I am very familiar with that foamy mess you pictured there. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I'm going to buy them today! (end of the 15% sale and all!).

      You should try a lunge lesson! It helps me identify and work on problem areas with my own body.

      Delete
  6. You two look great! I love that second trotting picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! That's my favorite picture and his breeder's favorite picture of the bunch as well. :)

      Delete