“if you are comfortableyou are not growing”.
“My horse has trouble in canter, (he buck/bolts, spooks etc) but his trot is fine. What can I do?”
- Did you do a little ground work with your horse first? Was he paying attention to you or everything but you? Can you keep his interest? Did you try to get on before he was paying attention to you?
- If you are using a mounting block (or mounting from the ground), was your horse moving around when you tried to get on? Will your horse pick you up at the mounting block and wait for you to get on?
- When you were half-way on, did your horse walk off? Did he stand still and wait for you?
- Could you bend your horse without them moving their feet? In each direction? Did your horse bend easily or did they hang on your hand?
- can you go from walk to halt anytime anywhere?
- Can you go from trot to walk, walk to trot, anywhere anytime?
- Can you go from a fast trot to a slow trot easily anytime?
- Can you get your horse from a trot to an ALMOST canter without actually cantering?
The 8 tests I highlighted above are all TRANSITIONS.
All of this has to do with building confidence.
It is within the transition that confidence gets built or lost.
Think about when you get on your horse and he is walking off with you, what is going through your mind as this is happening?
“Wait! You dang idiot!” or “you’re so impatient!” or “oh crap!” something like that right?
This is what is going through your horse’s mind: “I am not comfortable with this so I have to move” or “my rider says I am supposed to move when she does this”.
Whenever there was something tense going on between a rider and a horse, my mentor, Ed Rothkranz would say,
Remember, each transition is a stepping stone one upon the other. Things that are bad in walk or trot are magnified 10 fold in canter/lope plus it happens a whole lot faster and messier!
Ray Hunt used to say, “Prepare to position for the transition”.
Take the time to get things right and your canters will be just as smooth and effortless as your walk.