Houston, We Have a (Really Nice) Canter…

April 9, 2008 at 11:40 am 1 comment

Klondike is cute.  I’ve said it before, but he’s just really adorable.  Yesterday when I went out to get him, he actually came running in, and came straight to me.  Talk about your warm fuzzies- while my brain tells me this is a sign he is spoiled rotten and knows he’s going to get food, it feels nice anyway, and I like to think he’s just really enjoying attention and work and learning.

Yesterday was my first ride on Klondike since he had his chiro/acupunture session, and he felt pretty darn good.  The “teen driver” feeling is going away a little bit, it was easier to keep him in a nice forward trot that was more consistent.  He was still quite wiggly, wanting to drift in off the rail (particularly to the right), but he’s getting better about accepting leg as a “move over” cue, so we were able to negotiate a busy ring without too much difficulty (though Klon would like to say that he’s not entirely sure that little grey fuzzy thing everyone was cooing over was actually an equine, he seemed convinced that the pony was some sort of alien).

He still doesn’t really enjoy the idea of contact at the trot.  He spent most of this time practicing his giraffe impression, sucking me into letting the reins slip through my fingers, and being generally disorganized (it probably doesn’t help that I am generally disorganized to begin with, I suppose).  I think at this point, I have to be a little more consistent with my hands, for us to progress there- I need to work on relaxing the arms and keeping a following contact at all times, so he learns to… well, to deal with it (that and he needs his teeth done, which will be happening soon as well). 

A couple times, I attempted to add leg to try to get a little more walk, or a little more trot.  To a point, he gets this, but I may have goosed him a little, because he broke into a trot or canter (respectively).  The first canter was sort of sewing-machine-ish… probably because I hadn’t actually asked for the canter and he was just reacting to more leg than he usually gets.  Whenever this happened, I let him go for a few strides- I really want to avoid confusing him too much, and want to reward the forward reaction to leg.  I mean, forward is always good- it’s a nice basic response to have (forward is usually the answer for most stuff that goes wrong, it seems- spooky horse? forward. nervous horse? forward. horse that wants to buck/rear/be a pain? forward).  So for the moment, if he breaks into a trot while I’m trying to get a better quality walk, that’s OK.  If I was a more brilliant rider, I might try for more subtlety now, since Klondike is clearly quite smart.  But I’m not.  So happy/pleasant moving forward from leg, for now, is fine with me.  We have plenty of time for more subtle stuff, after all.

Once we got to working at the canter things improved drastically.  This horse just has an AWESOME canter.  It’s comfortable, easy to sit, and after the initial “whee! I’m cantering!” thing, is just wonderfully relaxed and easy.  He makes my own horse feel like a Mac Truck. We worked a little bit on a circle, and the worst thing I can say about it is that he likes to suck back and try to stop when he’s near the gate.  Adding strong leg at key points in the circle helps, though his response is to give a stride or two of a more “leaping” canter (which amused me greatly, to be honest). 

After the canter, we came back to doing trot work, and lo and behold, he actually started reaching down and out a little bit, into the bit, instead of giraffing.  Unfortunately we did not get video documentation of this, but it felt like a big victory.  He might have just been tired, but it felt nice, and when he started stretching, I made sure to make a big fuss over him and how awesome he was.  He’s funny, when you really make a big deal over him, he sort of arches his neck and looks all proud of himself. 



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Back Cracking Day Here’s That Cute Canter

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. jessica  |  April 9, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I like to add a bit of canter in the beginning of the workout because I do think it helps them relax and stretch down. Take it however you can get it right 🙂 Contact never was his favorite thing and he’s a chestnut so he can be stubborn about giving in. Your doing a great job with him and I’m happy he has several people giving him love..no wonder he’s feeling so good lately. I love reading your blog because it makes me feel like I am riding him all over again. I will have to stop down and see him one of these days. I miss that cute little face and his cocky attitude.


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