Thursday, March 9, 2017

Building a Canter: Back in the Saddle

Back in January, I talked about how I was working to build a canter for Courage. It was all on the lunge line, because I wasn't cleared to ride.

If you remember the post, I started working towards creating good moments in the canter itself first.

I'm now back in the saddle (if not riding well) (SOB), and I was fascinated to see how all the lunging would turn out. Our first intentional canter was last Sunday. It wasn't brilliant, but it was quiet and obedient and check out this canter moment:
#perchypotato
Interesting similarity there, wouldn't you say?

Next in the lunging progression was to get the transition into canter more balanced and back-to-front, which took weeks of training to get to and then even more time of careful, thoughtful training to solidify.
it's actually gotten better but screenshotting lunging video makes me want to gouge my own eyes out
Of course, this isn't a perfect 1:1 ratio we're talking about here--I was able to control a lot more variables from the ground and if Courage had some "moments", whatever, my feet were on solid ground. Under saddle, I'm leery of "moments" because they make my body mad. Oh and I can't ride for shit. And get tired in like 4 minutes.

But. In my lesson this week, Courage apparently decided to discard the "be perfect and take care of mom" card and throw the "right lead is haaaaaard" card in the mix instead.
um hellooooooo have we met?
There was definitely no sitting down to play dressage queens and lots and lots and lots of my trainer saying "give. don't brace. give. forward. give." while Courage remembered that cantering right is something he actually can do, thought it's admittedly hella hard with a giant, off-balance #perchypotato inhibiting him.

BUT THAT TRANSITION AMIRIGHT

So we had a lot of this in between:
air time!
giant Courage buck!
And it was good, because I do know that right lead is hard for him so I need to not make it harder by bracing my knees and holding with my hands. Also it was fascinating to ride through in draw reins vs the standing martingale--in the standing, I'd grab the neck strap and get super braced in my shoulders and way too involved with my upper body. With the draw reins, I know he can't 100% flip himself inside out and blast off, plus I have nothing to grab, which means I kinda have to listen to my trainer.

Apparently she has some good ideas, too. Weird.

Anyways. I never actually sat down on him because that was too much pressure for his brain that day (plus who are we kidding I suck at riding the canter right now), but after finally making my body do what trainer was suggesting, we ended on this canter:
this i will take
So I guess the answer to "will the lunging work translate to under saddle, since a lot of things change in that process" is yeah pretty much I'm riding a whole new horse.

I mean. My feel is waaaay off right now, so I naturally told my trainer how those were our BEST TRANSITIONS EVER and she was like "yes, you're very smart, shut up" and then I watched the video and realized that perhaps our left lead transitions were less stunning.
feet on ground does = win
Less stunning still means calm and rideable and ready to move forward, all of which are new since last fall. Plus, when I asked for canter, he cantered vs just sort of thinking about it for 10 strides and then maybe or maybe not bolting.

I have a long ways to go in terms of rehab and after this ride I most definitely went home and laid down and took a lot of drugs.
so thrilled with him
AND I just have to share this trotting picture because I super love good trotting pictures.
right?
It's slow going. It's going to stay slow going. But at least it's slow going towards a light on the horizon now. I'm excited to see what we can do as I get more balanced and able to ride and he gets more confirmed in this new "cantering" business.

PS and yes there is video but due to laying down + drugs, I didn't get it edited last night.

26 comments:

  1. It's so awesome that your methodical work from the ground when you were unable to ride is now translating into a more rideable Courage!

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  2. While I don't have any fun transformation videos to share, I've noticed a difference in Miles from just the little bit of lunging I've done with him. He's a lot fitter, and works much more easily over his back. He stretches down more willingly regardless of bit, and overall is so much stronger.

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    1. I guess the SRS is on to something. Who knew?

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  3. Daggon that's a fancy lookin' horse you got.

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  4. It is so fascinating to watch how the lunging work is now changing his under saddle work

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  5. so awesome that even tho you were sidelined from the saddle, Courage has still been able to continue progressing so well!

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    1. Yes for sure. Now if I could just get my act together.

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  6. Yay!!! He looks awesome and you'll get your strength back. Sorry you're still going through this shit

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  7. I love lunge/in hand work for getting them through the hard concepts. Now, if only I could get my idiot to lunge like a non-feral creature. You both look great, though.... You're way ahead of me and Jack!

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    1. I'll grant you C is probably ahead of Jack. Other part less true. ;-)

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  8. This is SO COOL!!! I need to keep working with Katai on this with the lunge now that I see how much success you've been having.

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    1. I have never lunged any horse this much in my life, so I{ have no idea how well it cross-applies generally, but it's making a huge difference for him.

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  9. It is really interesting to see how he has changed his way of going. Hopefully you will keep healing and things will keep improving.

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  10. It's wonderful to see him putting the pieces together

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    1. He's really made some big strides. :-)

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  11. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to have this much more rideable horse but limited energy and strength to ride him.
    BUT that's SO EXCITING that things are coming together. I'm sure if you keep going as you are, you'll both be feeling great soon!

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    1. One of us feels great already. Hence the leaping. ;-)

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  12. And we're back! It's funny how quickly the body forgets (and then remembers) - you'll be back to your old self in no time!

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    1. It's a little annoying how fast the forgetting process is.

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  13. EEE! He's looking so great, though! Remember, USEF only tests the horse for drugs. You'll be fiiiiiiine. ;)

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