Monday, September 16, 2013

Lesson #51: Indoor Canter Success Story

September 13, 2013

Finally, a vacation. I took Friday off from work to make my way out to Caledon for the weekend. But, I'll get into that later. My friday lesson was the third lesson ADW and I were riding in a single day. I rode Trinket this cool fall evening and as I mentioned last time, it is indoors. Sheri is back this Friday and we have her one more lesson before the end of September and while I am really looking forward to having Sheri again, I'm also sad that it would mean it'd be the last lesson we'd have with her at Greyden. But, as lessons with horses has taught me, things change and you just have to adapt... because you don't always have control over what happens.

We warm up with a good trot and Sheri asks me if I'm comfortable to get Trinket into a canter in the indoor arena. This is not a light question... this pony has a tendency to be heavy on the forehand and speedy while doing it. So, while you're being pulled further and further forward (this is terrible for a rider because you lose balance), she's getting faster and faster and also drifting into the circle so you're not only off-balance now (remember, riding is all about balance!) but you're losing control because you're falling inwards or struggling to not fall into the circle. I just say yes and figure if I'm not comfortable, I just pull back on the reins--not the most graceful but at least I can get accustomed to her gait.

We complete some balance exercises with the double post: up-up-down and 2-point while trotting to get our bodies into the right balance. We're reminded that the best way to determine the proper alignment is to get into a 2-point while walking. Doing this gets your weight in the right place over the saddle and to return to a full seat, all you need to do is keep your legs where they are and then sit down. Ta-da! Perfect alignment. Keeping it is a whole other story ;) In addition to this exercise, we do out-of-stirrup work. Ouch. Seated trot and posting trot. While both are more steady now, and I am able to stay on without too much jossoling around it still isn't my idea of fun. However, this is perfect to get me understanding the long leg position.

Anyways, because I already had two lessons at Cadogan Farms (more on that later!), I got quite a bit of practice cantering around and understanding how to mitigate the typical "issues" that come with cantering within an arena. To go deep into the corners and reduce the drifting in, I have to remember to apply the bending aids. So, when we're asked to get into a canter, I decide to go for it and hooray! Off I goooooo! I felt Trinket get faster and knew that I had to slow her down but didn't want her to get so slow that she'd break her canter into a trot. I sort of got Trinket under control and had her stop but my god... she stops on a dime and my body is still moving and I have an uncomfortable jam forward into the pommel *.*

Our final exercise for the evening is an x-jump that we had the option to take in a trot or canter. For some reason, I couldn't get Trinket into a canter during the turn into the jump so took it in trot. I think my frustration made things worse because it didn't matter how many times I tried it but the more frustrated I became, the less cooperative she became and she did her fast pony trot which discombobulated me too much to get through the jump.

But, my highlight of the lesson was certainly the indoor canter on Trinket! It's a first with this mare and I'm very proud that I managed to keep enough control around the corners and push her into the corners too.


  1. three lessons in one day sure helps. I think you're looking better with canter on trinket

    1. it sure does! it's like your body is in the perfect position. mostly because you're stuck that way :P hooray for canter with trinket! :D

  2. Three lessons in a day - sounds like bliss! Good for you on your indoor cantering. Isn't it such a great feeling?

    1. it was complete bliss! i don't think i could have been happier. sore or not, i was still excited to ride. indoor cantering is a scary experience when you're just starting out and still trying to get the controls down... b/c while a horse probably won't go running into a wall, balancing to stay on is indeed a tricky endeavour!