Thursday, March 31, 2011

Quaterback: recent footage

It's been awhile since we've seen good footage of Quaterback, the stallion I'm so ga-ga over. Here he is in action. The first video is not great quality but shows some upper level movements; the second is better quality but less showing off. The third video is a Dutch stallion by Quaterback, really lovely.

Dutch use of Quaterback

Riley and Harvey: turnout togetherness?

Recall that Riley lost a shoe and a fair amount of hoof in mid-March. If he loses that shoe again we may have to wait for more hoof to grow to reshoe, so he's being worked daily but not turned out -- at least not much. In the past couple of weeks Riley has been turned out twice, maybe three times, on Ace. His herd mate  E--- is a frisky, nudgy sort, which is good (they are two peas in a pod) and bad (I'd rather he not careen around in his current state).

Well, yesterday, on 2ccs of Ace, I turned Riley out with E----. E---- had been so lonely his inner nudge was in full force, and within ten minutes they were careening around, Riley looking unhappy, E---- looking like the pesky little brother. When I brought him in he had lost a shoe nail. Turnout with E---- is not happenin'. Soooo....

What about Harv?
I have secretly longed for them to go out together, for good reasons and sentimental reasons. Harv has a compatible pasturemate, but that horse (S-----) can go out alone.  Should I break them up to put Harv with Riley? My barn manager points out that Harv is not always the quiet old codger, and he and his current mate do run around at times -- but usually Harv doesn't instigate. He's just running to maintain his self-respect. Should I put my boys out together? Help me to figure it out....

  •  Okay, I'm sentimental. I want them to be friends.
  • I'm in charge. It would be nice to have total control over turnout. Because both horses are mine I could handle their turnout at "off" times if I see fit. No one would complain if I modified turnout or changed their routine.
  • Peace and quiet. Harv is likely to stand and eat, or just stand and gaze.
  • Safety. Harv does not injure other horses. He is  GREAT turnout partner, dominant but not a jerk.
  • Chemistry. Riley is a nudge, but he can be put in his place by the right herd-mate (a superb communicator such as Harv).
  • Cost savings. Harv does not play halter tag (fewer replacements) and he does not shred blankets.
  • Senimental counterpoint. Harv loves his current turnout mate and  good buddy S-----.
  • Fairness to Harv. If Riley needs to stay in (e.g., too muddy), Harv would need to stay in unless I could convince the barn manager he could go out with S----- on occasion.  Harv cannot go out by himself. Unlike Harv, Ri's current buddy E---- can go out alone.
  • A quiet thoroughbred? Harv may not run often, he has his moments of crazed nutty behavior. If E---- is more active, he is also more out of shape and he loses steam fast. Harv? He's a thoroughbred.
  • Fairness to my retired boy. Harv may be good for Riley, but Riley may not be good for Harv. He does not suffer nudges gladly. Harv would have to lay ground rules and restate them often, I fear. S---- is malleable. Riley is not.
What do you think?

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Curved Browband Bounty: Pay dirt!!!!

    I love curved browbands but they are shockingly hard to find in the colors/styles I'm looking for. Well, here is the Web site we need, at TWENTY-SEVEN PAGES OF CURVED BROWBANDS!

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Stock ties are a pain in the neck


    Stock ties are a part of the trappings of dressage that needs to go.
    • They bind your neck.
    • They're not even real anymore--like a tacky clip-on tie.
    • You must wear them with a jacket, you can't wear them if jackets are waived. 
    The stock tie shouts, "Hey,  this isn't a sport, this is dressup!" What sport wears pearls? What sport wears satin? Take the ties to the upper left and right.They are aesthetically lovely, but I don't see them as something you'd wear on a horse. And even the most beatifully designed of them makes the wearer look old and stuffy. I think of Bertie in the P.G. Wodehouse books -- Bertie in a smoking jacket.

     But right now we kind of have to wear them, don't we?

    My suggestion? Take advantage of the growing variety of stock ties available from Dressage ConnectionDoverEquilogic, Shoclothes, Dressage Diva, Equestrian Collections, and Dressage Extensions. There are stock ties now with a sleeker design, in addition to the varieties outlined by
    • Traditional
    • European ruffles
    • Tuxedo
    • Pretied
    • Bib
     Read more about stock ties...

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    More live music freestyles

     This is Edward Gal and the stallion Voice perform to the violinist/violist Kim Sjogren.

    Sunday, March 27, 2011

    The walk: some advice from the clinic

    Here Riley is taking a bit of a walk break, and Linda Zang is talking generally about the walk.  I like  what she says about not restricting the head -- now if she only tells us how to collect a walk while allowing this freedom! The walk is often taken for granted so it's good that she mentions it here...

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Thelwell lives! Dylan and Rusty

    This pair was featured in Dressage Daily.
    Rusty is a Shetland Pony a little over 10 hands high.
    Photo by Matthew Cromer

    Pretty cute, and I love how forward Rusty is!

    Thanks to Eliza Sydnor for sharing this.

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    "Slow the shoulders": A interesting concept from the clinic

    Here is an intriguing clip from the clinic. I think I know what the clinician is talking about but I'm not 100% sure. What do you think it means? Notice I'm including the audio portion of the video. Feeling brave I guess, plus it's just a short clip. I may extract a few other main ideas in future posts...

    She mentions a few other techniques that I've seen elsewhere -- alternate sitting and posting, and of course transitions. This is earlier in the session than the previous clip. Riley entered the ring uncharacteristically fearful -- kind of frozen/transfixed -- and with no time for warmup, the initial trotwork was stiff and tense. This represented a huge improvement.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    The Tuffrider winner is...

    Jen of the Cob Jockey blog. Congrats Jen, I need your contact info (behindthebit!

    This was sooo hard
    I read all of the comments at least three times. There were so many compelling stories  -- from divorce to weight loss/gain to illness to job loss to other stuff. In the end, I looked for some specific things in selecting a winning entry. TuffRider is doing a nice thing and I wanted to honor their goal of helping the show competitor gear up. The finalist commenters were the ones who...
    • Talked about their plans for showing in the near future.
    • Explained their need for new breeches (weight loss or gain, worn out old breeches, etc).
    • Captured/described their plight in a creative way. Alexander Pope said, "True wit is nature to advantage dressed; what oft was thought but ne'er so well expressed." Clever writing sealed the deal.
    The semi-finalists were STBEventer, Now That's A Trot, Madman, Faye Jane, Victoria, and rq. I really want to give a thank you to everyone who submitted an entry -- you're all a credit to the sport!

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Riley at the clinic: The Training Level frame

    A lovely arena
    The TuffRider winner will be announced tomorrow, Wednesday, rather than today. There are so many good entries, I need more time for review. Thanks for your patience.

    So what was the clinic like? How did it go? Here's the scoop:

    While videotaping was generally forbidden, I got written permission in advance to videotape Ri-Ri at the clinic. Well... We had permission, but my husband was getting a "the border collie stare"  from one of the barn staff. Believe me we didn't imagine it. I thought about explaining but I didn't want to  miss any of  Riley's session.

    In light of the hairy eyeball incident, I'm nervous about posting a lot of footage here. To be safe, I substituted music for the clinician's narrative -- here you see a good sampling of Riley's ride. In this segment the focus was on getting Riley to move more through his whole body. At about 23-25 seconds the clinician said that this is an "8" training level frame.  Riley looks great to me, but this outline looks a whole lot like a hunter frame, yes? Hunter riders what do you think? This footage makes me want to go out and get a pair of Tailored Sportsmans...

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Riley at the Ritz Carlton

    High point of our trip to Hassler Dressage for the Linda Zang clinic:

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Demi arret: Technique for elevating the neck

    In the video below, Katherine Haddad works with a student on elevating the neck. Lendon Gray and Felicitas Von Neumman-Cosel also talk about this technique for elevating the neck. I've heard it called a demi arret. I'm sure it needs to be done in conjunction with other aids to encourage an honest connection and forward movement.  The rider's gentle correction can be seen on the 36th-37th second of the video...

    Well, crap, the video now seems to be private. I'll leave it at the bottom in case it "comes back" but here are some substitutes:

    •  an interesting article on the rider's hands....
    • Sylvia Stoessel clinic describes a demi arret: "The demi-arrĂȘt, explains Sylvia, "Is to lighten a horse or to lift up the head with a vibrating, lifting hand, quickly dropping and returning to a soft and neutral contact, so you're explaining to the horse what you want to have.""
    • Video of Phillipe Karl doing a demi-arret -- much more "gross" than Haddad's in the original video 
    • Phillipe Karl article on the demi-arret: "no, this is not French for a half parade, or half halt. Its purpose is to mobilize the mouth, and to raise the head to achieve a lighter contact. It also changes the balance of the horse and opens the angle of the poll. It is achieved by turning the fingers to face upward and then lifting the hands so that the bit acts on the lips and the corners of the mouth."

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    They clip horses don't they?

    Apprently not -- at least not the ponies and apparently not even for the Shetland Pony shows in the Netherlands (I think).  What on earth can the judges see? But what cuties!

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Imagine a horse on a chaise lounge

    If you go by this video footage, this "Imagine a Horse" trainer is pretty impressive, and the horses look calm/happy. Still, I found myself chuckling at the horses sitting in the beanbags while the Disney-like inspirational music plays!

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Lungeing for losers

    Kids go through stages. They thumb-suck, they bed-wet, they eat glue, but fortunately these are only phases. Riley is in a new annoying phase. It's the I won't lunge phase. He's been lungeing since he was a 2-year-old. I'm baffled.
    Ri is not the kind of horse you need to lunge before riding, so till a few weeks ago he hadn't been lunged in a long time. When we had all the rain here in PA, the horses were all stallbound, and I started lungeing again. Or rather I didn't.

    I'm a lungeline loser
    Ri flat-out refused, and in the battle of wills I was on the losing end. He would not go counter-clockwise at all. The evasions:
    • He would turn into the circle and trot boldly into my space--I had to dodge him.  
    • He would bolt in the opposite direction and canter wildly. 
    Either way, it was dangerous. My trainer worked with him briefly. She pushed him pretty hard for cooperation, working him on  a tight circle. He started kicking out sideways (at her), and I made her stop for her safety.   We wondered if he was lame, or hurting, but he was sound under saddle.

    Rebel Riley
    He was definitely challenging authority and using intimidation to get the upper hand. Now Riley is not a jerk; he's an easy-going horse, but he can be stubborn. I think his "challenging" behavior is more playful dominance than real aggression but when you're standing there and he's trotting into your space that's not much comfort.

    The video below was taken yesterday. He is 80% better after a week or so of working with him, but here you see residual misbehavior--in four minutes he tries his maneuver three times, but at least he complied eventually. How sad is it that this represents progress? Oh well, he's a little better every time I work with him.

    So what did I do?
    I was at a loss, and I had no "strategy." I was scared, especially when he turned into me -- he was moving into my personal space, ears back, and I was never sure if he'd keep coming at me or would turn away. But I put Ri on the lunge every day. While I couldn't quite bring myself to escalate to a flat-out confrontation, I made sure he got no satisfaction from his antics.
    • I kept the circle as small as I safely could  and started carrying the lunge whip butt-end out -- he respected the butt end more. When he came into the circle or tried to change directions, I whacked him HARD on the neck (preferred) or snout (last resort). I tried to whack the left side to drive him back to his original direction. 
    • I stood further behind him than normal, almost as if I was long-lining, and I drove him forward with a sharp whip-crack when I saw his head start to turn inward (a sign he was about to misbehave).   The down-side to this is that if Ri did turn this position put me more in the "line of fire." He turned right into me.
    • If he managed to switch directions, I was too busy gathering the slack line and organizing it to react. But once I was organized I flipped the whip to the butt end, got in front of him, and whacked him on the neck to drive him counterclockwise again. That was a vulnerable moment--but if I did it right, and reacted quickly, he didn't get far in the wrong direction before being swatted back to the right way.
    • When he was going the desired direction I praised, praised, praised. I counted 20 seconds and let him stop (staying in the same direction at the halt) so that he got relief when he behaved correctly. I let more time pass as he got more consistent.
    One look at the video and you'll see that I'm far from the confident authoritative lunger. But somehow we seem to have gotten back on track over the course of 4-5 days.

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Forget animal communicators! DIY with the Linden flower

    Last week I met a few folks for dinner (work-related) in the center city of Bethlehem PA. Parking was easier than anticipated and I arrived a few minutes early. I popped into the only open store, which was Ostara-A Witches Cauldron. Yep, a witchcraft store. It's a charming store in a charming neighborhood, and I especially enjoyed going through their great variety of Wiccan herbs, each with its own special properties. The unique properties were written on each bag. Most had to do with love and sex but one bag was labelled "horse magic."


    Linden flower is an aid to animal communications. The sales lady indicated that most of her customers were communicating with spirit animals but she had suggestions for my question about how it would work with an actual horse (Riley). Her suggestion was to:
    • Put it in a linen or cheesecloth bag.
    • Add some of Riley's hair to bring him close to it.
    • Wear it somewhere on the saddle while riding.
    Hey, I'm all for trying it. And I'll tell you why next time around. My special thanks to the lady at Ostara; she was helpful and didn't laugh at my intended use. Also, she supports the Bethlehem Mounted Police, so I will be going back there when they restock the Linden Flower. Great gift idea don't you think?

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Harv: the Warhol Years

    Well, Harv's name is now linked with yet another legendary icon.  His past is littered with Big Name affiliations and liaisons:  Noam Chomsky, Steve Jobs,  Henry Kissinger, Carl Sagan, Cher, the William Buckleys (senior and junior), and embarrassingly, BeyoncĂ© (she still texts him). And now, posthumously, Andy Warhol.

    What'dya think?

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    No divas here: the TuffRider giveaway!

    If I know one thing about BTB readers it's that you're not divas. You guys often care for your own horses, and if not, you're involved in their care; you're knowledgable and always learning; and your horses are an integral part of your life. Many of you have riding/competing goals, you  have the challenge of competing without breaking the bank. I'm so pleased to be able to offer this great opportunity from a great company, TuffRider.TM

    Zoe Coolmax Dressage Show Shirt $54

    The Not-A-Diva Giveaway, courtesy TuffRider!
    Recently Tuff RiderTM contacted me with an offer to do a show clothes giveaway for the summer 2011 show season. Manna from heaven for the competitive rider! Here's how the giveaway works:
    • Decide you are going to show and that you will use the show shirt and breeches (one winner, two items).
    • Leave a comment with an identifying name/pseudonym or your email. The comment should: 
      • Describe what you think are the most important characteristics/traits of show attire. 
      • Make a case for why you are the most worthy recipient. "Worthy" is interpreted broadly here. Worthy could be related to financial straits, but don't limit yourself. A funny, creative, insightful, off-the-wall answer will get noticed too.
    • Check back on Tuesday, March 22 to find out the winner.
     About TuffRider
    Kashmere Full Seat $79
    Here's a little bit about TuffRider. Let me mention that I have never purchased TuffRider (they offer selected breeches in Long, but not the kind I usually wear). However, just this winter a friend gave me an old pair of her TuffRider winter breeches that no longer fit her. They fit beautifully -- not really that short -- and they are very comfortable and durable. I blog a lot about pricey stuff, like Mattes pads and Pikeur breeches, so it's a pleasure to endorse a product that offers great quality and comfort at an affordable price. And looking at the breeches to the right I totally love the waistband -- it looks very comfortable
     Here are some details about the clothes...

    Zoe CoolmaxTM Dressage Show Shirt
    The Zoe CoolmaxTM Dressage Show Shirt will keep you cool in the show ring, even when the sun is blazing down your black coat. This stylish show shirt features flattering pleating in the front and back for a modern fit.

    KashmereTM Full Seats
    KashmereTM is a one-of-a kind super combed-cotton and Lycra woven fabric made with fine, 2-ply cotton yarns for superior softness. Our KashmereTM is Teflon treated to give you a high-performance, stain resistant, full seat breech with perfect stretch, fit, and a superb look in the ring. Additionally, the full seat is made with SILX, a stretch imitation leather that gives you an upscale look.

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Linda Zang Clinic? Maybe. Crossing fingers and toes

    The good news is first.  We sent an application and video footage of my trainer on Riley to the Hassler Dressage folks to be a demo rider for the Linda Zang clinic. I heard from them on Wednesday --we're in! To the left is the Web page describing the clinic and you see Ri-Ri's name as the first horse in the order of go.

    Bad news follows soon after. On Thursday, Riley lost his left front shoe. It was muddy, but he's been in worse mud. I don't know quite what happened; I'm told he wasn't running, and the shoe was found in a relatively un-muddy part of the pasture. His turnout buddy lost a shoe -- found  within ten feet of Riley's. Those two boys are quite the active pair in the pasture. They act like two weanlings.

    My farrier was in Florida but another reputable farrier was coming out to the barn Friday. I knew Ri's foot was torn up, but when I saw the look on the farrier's face I knew it was bad. He initially told me he preferred my regular farrier reshoe him.

    I don't know guys. I hope this stays on. I'm not sure if you can see in these photos, but the area below the nails is pretty much gone -- the area under the clip is sort of gone. Riley is not being turned out till after the clinic, and his days of mud/wet turnout are over. He'll be ridden in the morning and I'll lunge him lightly in the evening. My regular farrier will check it before we leave. Cross your fingers.

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Little girl with big girl pants

    Between the braids and the ribbons and the cute face, you might not think this little rider would be such a tough gal. She's got on her big girl pants here...

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Haflingers in the dressage ring

    I've always loved palomino coloring, so Haflingers are like a European palomino. Who wouldn't like a handsome blond Austrian hunk of horse? There are lots of them in the dressage ring these days. I've always felt their gaits were pretty unique -- powerful with a lot of knee action, and sometimes just a little quick. From the smidgen I know of their history, that quick sure-footedness was part of their value as a mountain horse -- they originated in the Southern Tyrolean Mountains of Alps (present day Austria, Northern Italy). The first Haflinger was registered in 1874 in Hafling, Austria.

    Well, take a look at Natiello, an outstanding Haflinger stallion -- he has a bit more fluidity and lightness than some I've seen here in the States,  so there's a double whammy of color and movement!

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Dressage to (Live) Music

    Really nice concept! Live music brings a freshness to the whole freestyle experience, and  I like the rider's casual/dancelike attire. Thanks to Mike Matson for pointing it out on COTH.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Catherine Haddad on rein contact

    "Remember, it's a piece of metal in your horse's mouth. The bit is not there for you to play with!"

    Haddad helps this rider create more neutral rein contact -- some good exercises and food for thought. Thanks to the rider for sharing this on Youtube...

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    A word about Riveredge

    Riveredge, the Hassler training facility in Chesapeake, MD  was the perfect setting for the rewarding/educational Bo Jena clinic. It's owned by John and Leslie Malone. I knew it would be nice, and I saw myself tip-toeing around the place trying not to gawk. I felt like I was going to visit the equestrian version of the Biltmore Estate.

    We have arrived...
    As we drove through the main entrance and along the treelined drive, our van was filled with "ooohs" and "ahhhs." I marveled that a mere $45 not only got me admittance to a clinic, but also the chance to spend the day at a premier facility. We walked into the courtyard toward the entrance doors.  I coached myself a little. "Act like you belong here, and don't snoop!" 

    As we walked into the barn, a greeter welcomed us. We were given a program of the day's events, a pen, and a notebook for notes. I was feeling less like an interloper now. As I walked down the aisle to the restroom, a blonde woman was walking the opposite direction. She nodded at us and smiled. "Are you enjoying youselves?" We told her we were, and my friend Nancy told me I had just met Suzanne Hassler. Throughout the day the Hasslers and the staff were so gracious--I just can't say enough about how beautiful it was, yet also homey. No one is holding their breath as they walk around.

    I took a few videos and some pix. Here is my video of the entrance to the barn, and I'll annotate the photos below...

    Laundry room with washer/dryers. 
    Here's where I wanted to snoop around.
    Blanket bin, confirming even at a top facility there is
    nothing you can do to make dirty blankets elegant.
    14X14 stall, see my video of the exterior view of the stall window (leaded glass!)
    Stall door nameplate/halter
    Tackup stall. Apparatus in middle is saddle/bridle rack, sold for $850.

    Heaters installed in the arena.
    I'm sure they're used sparingly but we enjoyed the warmth.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Harv and I: The 24th B-day shots

    Photographer was Bob :-)

    Enjoying his cake!
    Not bad for 24 years coming off a hard winter!

    Gusts up to 25MPH. Looks like we're in front of a wind machine...

    Such a nice eye...
    He wanted to stare at a trail rider.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Harv's logo: Survey says...

    For shirts
    For the Web

    Well, there wasn't a clear winner, and in fact each image got an equal amount of likes/dislikes. At least as many of you like the original Harv "classic" the best, so I'll keep that one on the blog. The "Andy Warhol
     foursquare idea is genius. I'm mulling it over. 

    I have become a bit partial to these two, and both were fairly well liked by y'all.

    So, I'll be using one for the Web and one for shirts that I hope to use as giveaways. Here's the prototype. Would you wear this? Be honest! If it were a giveaway, would you care?

     Also I may try the foursquare with just one of these in different colors. 
    Thanks All!

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    The Cake: Harv's folk primitive year

    Half sheet cake for Harv!

    This may be my favorite cake ever, and what a happy accident! I had planned an elaborate, gold-flake carrot cake from an artisan bakery. But then another boarder brought a carrot cake for her mare's birthday last week. I ate it all weekend, till I was tired of carrot cake (albeit temporarily). Others probably were too. The artisan shop offered a few other flavors but not anything to Harv's liking.

    Thursday morning at 10am I realized I needed to act, so I called Connie's Cakes (she did Harv's 20th birthday cake). Her cake portfolio included some horse-themed cakes and I asked her to whip something up for a bay horse and a red barn. Friday afternoon it was ready.
    Love the 3-D effect
    Almost a quarter century!
    I appreciate that Connie even agreed to do this on short notice, and I think the result is charming--like a folk primitive, don't you think? I just love the grass tufts, the clouds, and the little road. I'm not sure you can tell here, but this cake has very unfolkish sparkles :-).  Connie probably envisioned a child's birthday party as she was working.

    When I talk to non-horse people, they sometimes ask me "how long does a horse live?" It's an uncomfortable question, both because I don't really know the answer, and because I don't like to think about it. Recently it occurred to me that the only response to that question is, "Every day is a gift." The average lifespan of a horse doesn't matter. Too much can happen. Every day is a gift that Harv gives.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    GGT: German Geotextile Footing

    I think this was in the Hassler Dressage footing. It did look a little odd -- like cotton candy tossed with arena footing. But the footing sure felt nice. This video shows how you apply it to a ring. If you bought it, hope you have a team of helpers and some pretty hefty equipment!

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Fluffy: A show jumper

    A Facebook friend shared this Youtube link a few days ago. I know some of you have seen it but what a hoot! I have to wonder what motivates this little fluffball, who doesn't look like a high energy kind of feline

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    I. just. don't. get. it.

    Who would do this to a broom? Who would put it in a muck bucket upside down.

    Even wearing glove I don't want to grab a broom handle that's been sitting in  a muck bucket.

    Someone give me a rationale for this behavior. Please.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Back to beginner level: Afraid to canter

    Riley and I are moving into a new phase of our partnership. We have a problem with the canter, and Jerry Seinfeld explains it best...

      You see, I know how to GET the canter, I just can't HOLD the canter. My heart's just not in the canter. There are 3 issues...
      • Limited turnout. When Ri canters these days, he's a hair too strong in the bridle. Our ring has some slick spots, and while my head says forward, my heart says WHHOOOOAAAA. 
      • Strange shift in the "energy" of the indoor. A powerful magnetic force is sucking Riley's outside shoulder to the exit door. It's not so bad going right, but going left if I'm not super-vigilant, we end up fighting about what direction we going and we run into the wall. 
      • Trainer's diminishing influence. As I ride more, my trainer is riding less (two Stacey lessons, one trainer ride a week). Riley senses a power vacuum.
      So the canter is a scary place to be for a forty-something amateur. That said, I need to suck it up and get full mastery of the canter. Trot canter-trot-transitions are in my game plan for every ride. I'll get it straightened out.