Posted by: forgingahead | September 3, 2008

Canter Departs

Warning to my readers who’ve gotten used to triathlon related ramblings…this one is 100 percent horsey.

Now Voyager nailed two canter departs today! From the walk no less! And each time he picked up the correct lead! I was floored. Well, not literally floored as I was on his back and quite a ways up from the floor of the sand filled arena. But you get my drift.

Ok, so what’s all the big hooha about? It takes a great deal of balance and strength for a horse to pick up the canter from the walk. Not when he’s turned out in his big green pasture and playing around of course. Then he could do canter departs all day long. I think it does it to taunt me 🙂

But seriously, the trick in this situation is that I’m ON HIS BACK. Messing with his balance. Asking him to do something that is not his idea. And more than likely I’m asking him in a way that comes through a little garbled. Remember I’m still learning and fine tuning too, so it’s a bit of the blind leading the blind.

It was a beautiful morning. The air was still and slightly warm. The arena was freshly watered and dragged. Our warmup was going well. Lots of trot walk trot transitions. I just discovered that when Now Voyager is feeling draggy that these transitions help wake him up.

So I was feeling a little optimistic. You might even say cocky. As we walked along at a good clip heading into the corner and nicely on the bit I just asked. And he complied! I patted his neck as we cantered around and said lots of “good boy” and he just ate it up. He does so love to please.

This from the horse that a year ago couldn’t even hold the canter together for more than a few strides. Not to mention the rider would get tired too. We’re both in MUCH better shape!

happy horsewoman,
Kathleen

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