Thursday, July 16, 2015

Trot Canter Trot

I've been putting off posting because I'm so far behind, I have videos and pictures from the Arthur Kottas clinic to edit, etc. But... I just don't get there so I'm jumping in with where we are right now.
Rogo and I are schooling level three and some of four. It isn't show ready but we're making respectable progress for the most part.
Want to know where my biggest challenge is right now? I guess the title gave it away - trot / canter, a training level requirement.
Unless Rogo is on a circle we're picking up the wrong lead (from trot) much too often. We have walk / canter nailed; I'd even go so far as to say 100%. He gets canter and counter canter from walk anywhere in the arena.
I haven't worked on this with my instructor  because she assumed it was something I could fix myself, but I'm going to be asking for help. We get it, but then I forget to practice it and it's gone again. I can feel that he feels easily blocked on the inside shoulder from trot to canter, so it seems to help a bit if I slightly raise the inside hand. Also if I collect his trot A LOT before I ask, that helps too.
However, an easy and fluid transition from trot to canter mid long side eludes us. He is 100% on a circle or corner, but if I try putting him in that position on the long side it doesn't help get the correct lead.
Any suggestions are welcome. For now I think we'll practice it on the circle much more and then start 'stretching' the circle down the long side.

6 comments:

Annette Mickelson said...

Good luck - it must be frustrating. I don't have any advice. I've only encountered the issue on green or Training Level horses who just don't know/understand or who are not straight in their bodies. With Jackson, I had to counter-bend him to get him straight first -- he was sooooo crooked in his body (our vet told me he was as straight as a potato chip, LOL). You and Rogo are way past where I've experienced that issue; I'm sure he's straight (or straight enough) if he's getting it from walk and doing everything else at levels 3 & 4. Good luck; keep us posted. Its good to hear from you again!

Kate said...

I'm going to give you a "feel" comment. There are also things you can do to time your canter departure cue correctly - so that you're cuing when the outside hind leg is leaving the ground and available to do the canter depart - basically as you would be just coming down into sitting position as you're doing rising trot. That works well, but there's a feel-based way that I think even works better.

Feel yourself down to the horse's feet - so the horse's legs and feet are your own - change the rhythm in yourself (mentally only) to 1-2-3 and simultaneously feel the outside hind striking off flowing to the diagonal pair and then the inside front - it's the feel of the outside hind leading and transmitting energy diagonally that does the trick, I think. Works really well for flying changes, too. In teaching him to read what you're transmitting, don't rush things and expect too much precision of place/timing - give him a chance to organize his feet and join into it with you. Once he's got it, the departures and flying changes will be pretty much instantaneous - if you communicate the feel at the exact moment his feet are in position to strike off, it'll be perfect. And it will look really nice, since you won't be moving your body at all to get the departure.

Carol said...

Hi Annette,
So nice to hear from you! Thanks for the feedback. You may be on to something about the straightness. He's going through a phase where he starts anticipating lateral work and gets crooked. I hadn't thought of it, but it may be confusing to him at this point. Hmmm. Thanks!

Carol said...

Hi Kate,
So nice to hear from you! Thanks very much for the thoughtful feedback. I tried it, and it worked! Now if I can just sustain it :). I tend to forget sometimes that less (aid) is more. Thanks!

Carol said...

Hi Kate,
So nice to hear from you! Thanks very much for the thoughtful feedback. I tried it, and it worked! Now if I can just sustain it :). I tend to forget sometimes that less (aid) is more. Thanks!

Carol said...

Hi Annette,
So nice to hear from you! Thanks for the feedback. You may be on to something about the straightness. He's going through a phase where he starts anticipating lateral work and gets crooked. I hadn't thought of it, but it may be confusing to him at this point. Hmmm. Thanks!