Why am I clearing out the arena you might ask? Because now jumps are out and the flat work is in! As you may know, team All American Pony is relatively early on in the training process. While Comfort and I have know each other for a while, this year is a lot more focused than last. It is now April of 2016, and my birthday is on Monday (YAY!!). I have always considered my birthday to be far more of a new year’s celebration than Jan.1, so, as a sort of personal new year’s resolution, I am going to finish this week strong focusing on the trot, and we are going to kick off the canter for my 25th birthday, next week! Whoop whoop!! (I may get an early start over the weekend, though)!
A little grazing ride yesterday afternoon!
Before I get into the canter plan, though, I need to take a second to explain why I persevere so hard with massive quantities of optimism: my family and my boyfriend. These guys. Oh man!! I am so grateful for these amazing forces of happiness in my life! I call them or text them almost every single day about how my ride went or to unload all my latest ideas about equestrianism. Even my boyfriend’s mother will let me ramble her ear off! And my sister is amazing. I can send her 10,000 photos of my pony and every time she replies with three times that many exclamation points. I am so lucky and so thankful for their support!! To anyone reading this who is a horsey girl, let me tell you, it is so worth it to find someone who loves you and loves your passion. Now back to cantering!
Let’s Talk about the “Everything Canter” Plan
Trainer-bestie had already cantered Comfort about 20 times before I got her, but since that time, I have cantered Comfort maybe 6 times on purpose (not really sure, but the number is small), and have had a few extra canters on accident.
So… why are we ready, now?
(Because I have had lots of super-obsessive texting conversation with trainer-bestie to reassure me exactly how me asking for the canter is going to play out)
I am feeling really good about digging into the canter, because Comfort has good strength, we have a great foundation at the walk and trot, and we have developed nice ground manners and trust.
Since Comfort’s been getting the free pass regarding cantering under saddle, this may be an awkward, bumpy start, but it’s nothing we can’t handle! So diving right in, here. I need to make a short term and long term plan. I don’t know about other people, but personally, I can’t make a detailed long term plan until I execute the smaller manageable plan and see how it goes. That will inform what I need my focus/es to be.
Awesome gif from Huffington Post
So, cheers to the short term plan! Here we go:
My mounted mission this week (trotting week) is to tune into her back legs as best as I can. I am trying to do all I can to get completely in tune, so that I can be as helpful as possible with letting Comfort strike off with that hind leg and begin the canter successfully.
My mission when at home is to study slow motion videos of horses cantering and crossfiring. That way *hopefully* I will be able to identify if she’s crossfiring while I am riding.
Comfort will rush into a canter if you let her, so trainer-bestie and I agreed that it would be best to try to ask for the canter from a walk. I’ve also been watching a ton of people doing canter departures from the walk, and I really hope it all pans out for me!
Selfie leaning on Comfort’s booty 🙂
My ride today was less than ideal, but sometimes you and your pony simply aren’t having a good day for riding. It took one looooong phone call with my boyfriend to decide we were having an off day, and it wasn’t the end of the world after all. Sometimes when you love something so much, it’s just crushing to feel a regression, and in my case, it’s really important to have a buddy on the outside who can help you talk through it all. Here’s some conclusions I came to.
#1 I think clearing out the arena actually terrified Comfort!
#2 Not to mention there was a massive tractor working behind her
#3 Four wheelers driving in front of her
#4 A herd of very nervous horses cantering around across the street from her.
#5 And, honestly, I think that I was a little bit nervous today. I am not sure why, though.
The ride wasn’t that bad, but I lost a stirrup, which hasn’t happened in a really long time, and I felt like every time I tried to turn Comfort, she wasn’t listening to me. I could feel her trying to separate from my seat, and in turn I wasn’t as balanced. I tried EVERYTHING to get us back on track, I can’t even get into it, here. It was pretty depressing, but I know that we just weren’t having the best day, and there were quite a few distractions.
I know our next ride will be better, and at the end of the day, once I turned out Comfort, she still came up to me in the pasture and let me love all over her – relationship not destroyed, after all!! I tend to always assume our relationship is obliterated after the smallest issue. I think I have too much love to handle!