As EC outlined technique and goals for the ride, I was equal parts excited and nervous. ("For the love of everything, it's taken us 2.5 years just to get a decent canter on this pony! Please let's not mess it up now!") Also, my mind drifted to life choices - our lesson mate was on a green baby, but the canter/counter canter thing is perfectly timely for them too. That's certainly an argument for purpose bred, although B always wins for cuteness and I guess I have nothing but time and a love for a good challenge :)
So, if you can't guess from the above thought process, I was determined to own this lesson. Things to prove (in my own mind), and all that.
We started with a recap of our walk/canter/walk transitions. The one where we spiral in for the down transition, and out for the up. Bridget was on it, and was a good girl.
Next, we moved into adding shallow loops to our canter on the long side, changing bend as you come back to the wall. B said this was no big deal, so we increased the loops to come to the centre line and back. Harder, said B, but doable. I could feel her trying so hard, such a good pony.
|Another random assortment of recent photos...B looking for the post ride treats she surely deserves|
Next up, asking her to strike off in counter canter from the walk. Standard baby horse way, wait until you're past the corner,change the bend, ask, ride the counter canter to the next corner or until the balance starts to feel like it might go, and walk. She's straighter on her right lead and can continue through the corners, the left lead is harder and I was asking for a walk transition a stride or two into the corner, before it got too hard for her. Add in some suppling by changing the bend to the inside a stride or two down the long side where you can while still holding the outside lead.
In a funny turn of events, my previously "cant/won't canter" pony has decided canter is the answer to everything and is now prone to bouncing up and down in canter to avoid other things. Renvers in trot? Walk pirouette? Change the bend? Shorten your reins? Go near a corner? Glance at a jump? Definitely the answer is always canter! I'm not too worried, as we all know B is lazy at heart and she'll tire of her new pogo stick pony game soon enough.
|Exhibit A: let's just fall in and throw in a canter stride here|
All in all, yep she was a superstar, and yes, I'm glad we waited. This is legit hard for her and even a few months ago would have blown her mind. It was nice to wait until a point where it was no big deal. I'm excited to have another tool in the toolbox, particularly one that's going to help her build an even stronger canter. I'm also definitely starting to feel a big sense of accomplishment and validation of all the hard work. Also, a huge appreciation for how hard Ms B has been trying for me the last year or so. Shes turning into such a fun ride! But honestly, while I wouldn't trade B for anything, next time I'll probably look for something that knows how to canter, saving both the arena walls and my sanity from years of abuse;)