A short and sweet post after last night’s lesson but I am pretty chuffed so I felt the need to write down (also so that I can remind myself in a few weeks when I am feeling down about being unable to do a circle). Well I finally got it! I managed to canter with my seat correct and keeping Tx moving in a forwards motion. Now I think I have mentioned often enough my tendency to lean forward (still) and that sometimes I just don’t understand the phrase “sit down into the canter” – I thought I did, I thought I was getting better and do you know what last night I actually felt it!
We spent a lot of the lesson getting Tx on the aids for me. He is used a lot for the first canter for people and he is very good at making sure he doesn’t go too fast and pulls up before the corners. In order to get him to listen to me I have to work quite hard initially but it always pays off as once he is listening then he is incredibly responsive. We did walk-halt-walk transitions, trying to get him warmed up and focusing on good walk immediately. Then we were weaving around imaginary barrels, doing shallow loops, leg yielding and plenty of circles and bends trying to keep his attention. My instructor was also focusing on getting me to rise on the balls of my feet rather than pushing my heels down, a small detail but it was quite difficult and I have to say I really had to think about it.
Next we moved onto trot-halt-trot transitions before the canter exercises this was the point my instructor told me he had entirely relaxed and was submissive to me. His ears were relaxed and flicked backwards often, apparently listening to me. Just after telling me that she shouted for me to pick up the canter and he responded like a trooper when I asked. We didn’t manage a whole lap but our transition downwards was good too, however my instructor wanted better. She asked me to kick on coming up to the corners to push him out of his “safe canter” zone, so on the 2nd go I did and that’s when I felt it. I was sitting down and back, breathing normally, in full control and we had beautiful curves around the school with Tx in correct bend throughout. My instructor was cheerily shouting “come on, that’s beautiful” as we flew round. It just felt right and we managed it again. Unfortunately it slightly fell apart on the right rein, neither Tx or I are strong on the right rein, but we did after a few attempts get a good canter although it didn’t feel as good as on the left rein.
All in all a really satisfying lesson, I feel I am improving. I like trying to feel what is right now rather than trying to work it out in my head – does that make sense? – but the most important thing I need to do is take is forward. I need to replicate that feeling on different horses and in different situations e.g. a group lesson. But I am going to be happy about this for a bit, pleased that this canter was on Tx – one of my favourite wee dudes did me proud as always!