Friday, 8 June 2018

Kiss for Canter

Faithful readers may have noticed that I haven't spent a lot of time in the canter with Cisco. This has been a conscious decision on my part. Cisco has carried a lot of tension through the majority of his rides. Partly because he has a busy brain that gets easily distracted and there are so many things that might kill him in the riding area (killer kitties, land sharks, birds of prey). Outside sources make it hard to relax.

Another part is that I think that his bit isn't the right one for him and he is fussy in his mouth. That is where he exhibits all his tension. I'm working on it - hopefully a new bit will arrive within the next couple of weeks.

Such a goober.

I have been super inconsistent with my rides. After a stressful move to a new location after his first week under saddle, I had two and a half months of working nights with no riding, and then we hit the latest ice age aka. spring. There were many times that I would ride for 3 days, then not ride for another 10.

And the last reason that I haven't done much canter with Cisco - because I'm on no timeline but my own. I don't have show plans and have to have him going a certain level by a certain time. So I can take my time and do things when I think we are ready for it. Because you know what is really hard to teach a horse to do? Relax when they are worried. And when it becomes a habit that they are worried as soon as you get on them on every single ride? That takes years to fix.

I dealt with tension with Phantom for the first few years because of the way she was started. I don't want to deal with that again.

But now the time has come. We're ready to get serious about the canter.

I have cantered him under saddle before. About 4 times this spring. And it was no biggie. He's fairly balanced and comfortable to sit. Of course the steering sucks, but hey, our steering still sucks at a trot half the time.

On Wednesday's ride, we added some canter to our ride. He was very good and picked it up each time that I asked for it. He kept the canter (with much kissing and clucking on my part) until I asked him to come back to trot. And we managed a turn across the arena without running into the wall on each rein.

Steering - well, let's just say there's lots of room for improvement.

He was a bit worried after the canter, but settled fairly quickly. I will start adding the canter in at random times over the next few rides so that he doesn't anticipate too much and has a chance to relax a bit in between.

Hopefully the slow work that I've put in will show a payoff!

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