Canter Transitions

We stopped working on the canter in the week before the show, and truth be told have never focused on it. We usually get one short canter each way just to keep him remembering the aid and leave it at that. He just doesn't have his balance and resists if you push too hard. We've been getting him to carry the canter longer on the longe, to increase his balance, and it seems to be working.
Joan was here this morning working with Doug and she is very much against forcing anything (good!), so wasn't enthusiastic about me joining in her work with Doug on canter transitions. But - I really think it's time to bring a little focus to it. He IS getting a bit more balanced and developing a bit of carrying power. So I convinced her that we should give it a try ("Joan, he's 5!") and voila - he was great! (To be clear, it wasn't his age but his lack of balance that made her conservative on this.)
I know many people would think we're too far behind, but we had one major set back that caused us to basically start over from scratch last Christmas and a couple of other month long ones. Also, in keeping with Joan's classical philosophy, we didn't really start training him until then anyway (I sat on him  at the walk and trot before then, but no real getting down to business and work.)
Anyway, back to today - soft, easy transitions both ways from a gentle trot, 100% of the time. We did five from the right and seven from the left (his weaker side). Joan seemed to be very pleased with him. Next we'll ask him to hold it a little longer. Maybe we will get in Training Level this season? In looking at our training goals this is our weakest area, but I'm not worried because it's coming and I think it's going to be very solid when he gets it. His canter is lovely.
It was very hot, even though we started at 9, so I only worked for about 20 / 25 minutes and then brought him inside and sponged him for awhile with cold water. Doug hosed Savanah, but that's another thing Rogo has to learn :)
Now off to get them some hay.


Anonymous said…
I very much like that you're willing to take the time to get things right, rather than forcing the pace - and it's great that Joan thinks the same way. Too many people are in too much of a hurry with their horses, and if the foundations are not built correctly, nothing else will be right either.
Carol said…
Thanks for following!
I really appreciate your comment - I agree, so many people are in a hurry (at least they seem that way to me sometimes). It's nice to get positive feedback for taking our time. I told Joan and it made her happy :) Your words echo hers re the foundation.