As I mentioned yesterday, we are in the middle of an on-and-off tropical storm (for Canada, we’re probably the warmest place in the whole country right now at 13-17 degrees!) so it’s definitely wet and windy.
I was kind of dreading my lesson yesterday- I wasn’t sure about Oats behaving himself in dressage, and our canter in these lessons leaves a LOT to be desired. Ie- I have no desire to get bucked off again…
So, I told Karen straight out that it makes me anxious, that I feel like I don’t know how to handle it (the canter, transitions, his naughtiness) when things go sideways. She listened and was like there are many different roads to Rome, per se, so we can work the issues you have at the canter at different gaits (ie- walk/trot) and set those ‘rules’ in place, so when you do canter, you’re not suddenly faced with trying to fix problems, or running into ‘scary’ situations where you’re set up to fail- get bucked off.
One such issue- him balking, getting light in front at the canter, and either launching into a buck, or swapping his leads. This is caused by him being behind my leg, bigtime. And the cure is more leg, and/or crop…Which can also equal a buck. So what to do?
Well a big clue is that he also does this at the trot. So….We worked on getting the ‘rules’ in place at the walk, then at the trot, and then increasing my ‘ask’ from the trot by 5%, and 10% more. It was tough, not gonna lie. We STILL ran into the ‘balking, pissy, wanting to get light’ issue at the trot when I asked for bend and forward. The forward got lost in his ‘balk’ and lightness in front.
But, a bonus was that he did seem quite interested in moving up to canter on his own- ie, the trot work was challenging, so cantering was starting to look like the easier option, rather than the canter BEING the hard option.
I was sweating, got a mega leg cramp (ouch!) and worked pretty darn hard at the trot, harder than I can recall in recent memory. We really put the screws to him, and challenged him at the trot, to set up a better response for when I start asking for more canter work without getting scared off or intimidated by him.
I felt a bit cranky, like why haven’t we progressed beyond this? Why do I still have this dressage-fear with him?
Funny, but I guess we ARE making progress. It’s just incremental, not linear, but it’s there.
Ah well, horses.