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Riding, Roman

[Riding] Cantering!

I didn't get around to posting last week, for which I am sorry. There wasn't much to tell, though: I rode Roman, and it was cold, so Roman was a real pill. Wouldn't turn, etc. I managed to get him going and keep him going -- which was something that would have been impossible five months ago! -- but he just didn't want to steer properly, generally being contrarian. So we did some course-trotting exercises, and we did fine. Roman definitely made me work for it, though!

This week, I was back on Banjo again, because Kara wanted to start me on cantering! One thing I like about this stable is that each student's course is tailored to them; they find which horses work for you, and what you feel comfortable with and what you need to work on. In my case, I'm two weeks away from having been riding for a year, and only just starting cantering. But the horses I've meshed best with are ones who are troublesome to cue for steering, so we've been working on courses and jumping. Now, after months and months, I've gotten to the point where I can steer the horses reliably even without reins if I need to, and two-point for several laps without stopping, and so on. And all that came together today.

We did some warm-up and steering exercises, and then it was time to give this a try. Now, I've cantered before by mistake, when a horse got excited, but this was going to be the first time Kara was having me try to /deliberately/ canter. We went over the cues, and the concept of leads, and so on. She explained that Banjo is a little stiff going to the left and is often on the wrong lead, so she wanted me to start on the right.

I thought it was going to be tricky, but... he broke right into the canter when I told him to. It took me a lap to get my seat where it should be, and then we were just going. All that work on steering came in handy, since we went precisely where I wanted to go; Kara actually complimented me on the second lap, saying we were doing excellent. That was good to know, but my main thought was just that wow, this was *fun*. Went around several more laps, then stopped for a breather (and to let someone across the ring to shortcut into the pony pens), and then it was time to try him to the left. I admit I thought it would be easy, after how smoothly it went to the right.

Wow. 'A little stiff' is an understatement. He didn't want to bend into turns at ALL and would slow to a walk at the corners, he definitely took off on the wrong lead -- it took three tries to get him on the right one -- and wouldn't canter right away on signal. Le sigh. We /did/ canter a full lap successfully to the left, but it felt a little like a letdown after how easily we did to the right.

Banjo's been trimmed, so he wasn't sweat-soaked; grooming him and putting him away didn't take any longer than any other horse tonight. (Thank god, since I'd left the puppy home alone!) Roman was mildly reproachful, but as he had quite a bit of hay in his stall he was more or less mollified by the presence of food. Plus, I gave him an apple and a carrot as always, when feeding the usual suspects.

Alas, no riding next week because of the holiday. Clearly, I need to own a horse so I can still ride on such occasions!


(Hi. Wandered in through one of the writing communities)

Clearly, I need to own a horse so I can still ride on such occasions!


That's what they want you to believe.

It doesn't work that way...