Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Training 2:We can Get the Canter, we just can't Hold the Canter

Happy moment in T2
By the time our second class rolled around, Riley was his usual self, and much more the "familiar ride" that I'd worked with previously. In many respects this test went a little better:
  • 8 on our stretchy walk, the movement that had tanked so badly in T1
  •  8 on our final halt 
  • 8 on one trot circle left 
  • 7 on trot circle right
  • 7 on my position
  • 7 on gaits, and the rest of the collectives were 6s 

And then there was...
The canter work. Brace yourselves, we got 5s. Notice, in the footage, that we lose the canter in BOTH directions. On the bright side we do pick it up again, but on the sad side he looks pretty nappy about the canter in general. If I wanted to make an excuse I'd say Ri was getting tired at that point, but that's not the real reason we stank.

Resuming our canter left
Post game analysis
In my prepwork, I had focused a lot on getting the canter consistently, and for the most part I did my canter work  on the circle.  I'm still a little chicken about cantering Ri outside in our unfenced outdoor ring, surrounded by inviting green rolling hills. faaar from the barn. Going down the long side he  still picks up speed and throws his shoulders around. I had not given much thought to Training 2, where the canter starts in a corner and goes down the long side. Not a lot of thought, and zero practice. The canter work in T2, is, I think, pretty unattractive. We need to work on energy and balance.


  1. What was the final score?

    Aside from the canter breaks that test was better than the first one. I'd have given you a "9" on that walk!

    You'll need to get Riley more ahead of your leg at the canter. You might need to carry a whip and tap whim when he "feels" as if he's on the brink of breaking. Again, no biggie. You will have to be bolder in your schooling. He does not look as if he will get out of control if you demand more. Really push him into that outside rein to help him balance and sink your seat into the saddle. Sitting forward will make the balance issue worse, so sit up.

    By the by, your seat and position look really nice. Hope you got good scores for yourself.

  2. I think Riley bowed his head to the judge too at the end of the test!

    WRT the canter, I am betting that when you feel comfortable cantering him out you will see a big improvement in the arena canter.

  3. The two of you have come a long ways in the past few months! It's clear that your hard work has paid off and once you start working on the canter it will come along too!

  4. I agree with you about the canter work in T2 being unattractive. My horse had the opposite problem though. Not enough cantering for his taste. ;)

    You looked great!

  5. Once when I was having a lesson on my young Arabian in a an indoor and the door was a temptation, the teacher told me to lift that inside rein, and you know, it worked. That same horse would sometimes want to canter sideways back to the gate when I was in the field, and I'd lift the inside rein. One wants to "pull" them back to the proper direction, but that doesn't work, just gives them something to brace against. I also taught a one rein stop. I think if you had to, you could stop Riley, but it's hard to imagine him having a brain fart like that.

  6. The breaks from canter to trot look so nice and balanced, it's almost as if he thought that was what you wanted! Except for the canter work, the rest of the test was lovely and flowed well. Nicely done!

  7. Louise McGillivrayJuly 20, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    I'm impressed and think you've done a fabulous job. The trot work is beautiful. Really the problems you had were all to do with ringcraft which is best dealt with by getting out and about more often. I see in the next post you plan to do that very thing.

    I noticed in your videos recently on the canter work, you barely let him canter more than half a circle without a transition, with no long canters around the ring. It's only natural that he anticipates and puts in regular downward transitions in a pressure situation because that's what you practice.

    I reckon if that's what you call a tense horse, you've got nothing at all to worry about! He looks so relaxed and casual about the whole thing. What a cool customer!

  8. Looks really good. Such lovely lift in the trot. He also looks beautifully muscled and mature.

    I'm at the same spot with my horse--trying to get and keep the canter, and being a bit intimidated by a unfenced outdoor ring. We're working--more and more canter, more and more often.

    One thing I noticed in this video was that your left leg (I think) keep raising up at the knee when you cued, almost to the point of being in front of the flap. Don't work that hard--that's what the whip is for. I sometimes raise my leg, too, and I've found that habit hurts my canterwork, since it changes my seatbones/evenness.


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.