Friday, December 7, 2012

Canter

I rode Ashke tonight. He was pretty tense. I think it was primarily because he was the only horse in the big arena, which is the first time that has happened since we moved him out. A secondary reason might be because there is a storm moving into Colorado and the barometer has fallen. It was pretty cold moving from the barn to the indoor arena and Ashke made the trip snorting at everything.

I really like the indoor. It's not dusty and the footing is pretty good. When I first got on, Ashke was very energetic. I changed the reins and took off the martingale. I have been using a set of reins that are very thick rope and tonight I tried a pair of leather reins. There was a huge difference in what I could feel from his mouth. Going to go to Murdocks tomorrow and get a pair of leather reins. J will be so pleased. I also rode him without the martingale. I could feel every time he moved his mouth on the bit. It was nice and I plan on continuing with that set up for a while.

What wasn't nice was his behavior. He would settle into a nice long walk, with his head down and relaxed. At the trot, he kept trying to jump out from under me. It got bad enough that I tried a one rein stop, which doesn't work if you have a horse that can canter in a small circle. Which mine can. Just for the record. I tried working him in small figure eights, giving him changes of direction to redirect him, but finally just jumped off and turned him loose. He galloped in a big circle around me for five minutes or so and then seemed ready to be ridden. He did try to bolt a couple of times after that, but everytime he jumped and tried to take off, I lowered my hands and asked him to walk. The whole ride was a struggle. After about forty minutes of riding the rail at the walk and trot, we did two circuits in both directions at the canter. Clockwise was good. Counter clockwise was a struggle. It's been that way since his adjustment. I think it's a hip thing and I just have to give it time.

One of the biggest issues at the canter is me. I am not balanced. I can't seem to find my comfort zone or riding ability when we go at that gait. It's such a bitch to get old. I know I am still building muscle in my abdomen and back and trying to regain my seat, but sometimes it just sucks. I rode bareback from the time I was eight until I was sixteen and was given my first saddle. I broke and trained a BLM mustang bareback. Riding the canter bareback was my favorite thing ever. It was something I did without thinking about it. My body knew exactly what to do. We aren't there yet.

I have gotten so much better at the trot and am no longer bouncing or flopping around the saddle. I can sit the trot with him without throwing him off balance or out of whack. I know I just need to give myself some more time. And put my subconscious to work on reawakening that part of my body. The canter will come with additional practice and more opportunity. It's not like we are spending a ton of time cantering. We aren't. Mostly, because I want to bring him along slow and give his butt time to develop.

On another note, he isn't eating his grass hay from Christensen's. He refuses. He is leaving it in his bin. This is kind of good, since it tells me he is getting enough to eat. However, I want him to have plenty of fuel for the winter.

2 comments:

  1. I would say, if you aren't afraid he might try to pitch you off, let him just do his cantering thing around the arena--without direction, while you sit on him and just feel what his canter feels like. (Instead of letting him run it off without you on him--if you feel safe enough about it.) If you also feel safe, close your eyes and just feel the way he's moving. I think that will do a lot to wake up your natural sense of the canter.

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  2. Heather - my biggest issue is fear. That toss I experienced in June comes back to haunt me and although he doesn't buck, or rear or act up, I feel like I lose a lot of control at the canter. And I stop riding to ride and start riding to not fall off. I get tense. I'm not sitting him well. My legs draw up. I need to relax and keep my legs down by his side. I need to ride him, not struggle to stay on. I'm slowly getting there, but part of the problem is the lack of time I have to ride. I don't want to wear him out while we are both still healing, and I have limited time during any given week to be on him. The final thing I think is throwing me is him. He moves like an Arabian (which is expected) but my body is used to riding anything but a well bred Arabian. My body has relearned to sit the trot, to relax and ride. It will relearn this as well. It's just going to take some time.

    One of these days I will feel comfortable enough and trust him enough to ride him with my eyes closed. Right now, I'm afraid he's going to suddenly go south and I will continue west and that wouldn't be good.

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