Had my dressage lesson last night and it definitely came with some frustrations.
Item 1: Oats, not wanting contact at the trot, hops into canter. Repeatedly.
Item 2: This makes our exercise, going over trot poles, hazardous and irritating.
Item 3: I was tired!! It was a very physical lesson. They always seem to be right now.
So…We attempted the exercise- a good, bouncy trot over poles in a circle. Many times. To the left, he was actually getting it and I had some connection through my right/outside rein. To the right? Trot-CANTER-trot-CANTER-trot-CANTER
We bumbled up/over/through/crashing/rolling/jumping over the poles.
We’d go large, attempt to establish some sort of semblance of connection and even then, it just wasn’t happening. It was still trot-HOP-trot-HOP.
So, the next time he went to canter w/o me asking, I hauled his pony butt into a very firm hand gallop of a canter. VERY firm. A ‘no joking, no hanging out, no easy-going lope’ canter. A hell of a canter. And I had to repeat this little message more than once. It was tough! I wanted to trot! I wanted to take a break!
We went back to the poles, and wonder of wonders, after oh, the third time of really spanking him into a correct canter, he ‘gasp’ trotted~nicely too! I was too slow to let him stretch, which Karen reminded me was important. So, I tried to be quicker about rewarding his efforts in the trot, which were very nice when he did give them to me.
This work- particularly on the right rein- exposes a lot of my and Oats’ weaknesses. It’s pretty ugly sometimes and I was complaining about the hop-canter ‘phase’ we seem to be in, and Karen was saying well, it’s part of the process and it will take you as long as it takes you to get over it, eh?
Also- he is getting much better about a nice forward canter when I am in the canter, something that we really struggled to achieve last year.
And the non-genius part- I was grabbing my water bottle and drinking from it, when Oats gave a very vigorous shake…Shaking half my water bottle all over the both of us and almost dislodging ME! ARGH.