Friday, April 7, 2017

Canter Work

Last night was another lesson. Amanda worked our butts off and I ended up sweatier than Ashke was. We are focusing a lot on our canter work, primarily a collected, 8 - 10 meter circle. We started with serpentines at the w-t and then added in the canter. Ashke was stiff to the right (I need to schedule him to see Diane) and so we went to work on a circle alternating between shoulder in and haunches in.

It was pretty cool to feel the bend change under my seat as Ashke moved from one to the other and then back again.

Then we set up a grid of cones to practice through. They were set up in a triangle with the points making a figure 8 in the middle. We did the figure 8 at the canter, trying to ride inside the cones set as the outside line of the triangle. Then we worked the drums (three barrel pattern) on the big triangle, then the little triangle. He does better when I remember to use my legs and heel to keep his hip in. I could feel him falling out when I forgot.

Then we rode this pattern:

We rode this at the trot

I rode this with my left hand, right one tucked against my side once I realized that I was pulling him around, instead of turning him with the outside rein. That and my legs. Ashke did really well with the exercise while I worked on sitting upright (instead of leaning into the turn). At some point in the near future, we will try this at the canter, but not last night.

We finished the lesson by working the double slalom pattern, with the pattern being set smaller and tighter than regulation. We did it at the walk, asking Ashke to keep his hip toward the pole, then at the trot and finally the canter. The second to final canter through, I lost his hip, so we tried it one more time. As I lined him up to canter it the final time, he kicked out at my foot and gave a bit of a buck to let me know he was done. We cantered it anyway, because who wants to reward that behavior, but he did give me a really good try. We ended it there.

I think his behavior was due to being asked to do more than he has in the past. We rode for a full hour and the majority of the ride was at the canter. I'm sure he was tired, since I felt his foot slip as we finished our final turn, but we have to push or he won't get any stronger. I'm so pleased with how much we've progressed in the last six months.

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