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Lisa's Blog post # 55
Remember Forest Gump and Bubba? “Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried…”
Cotton and I are having the same exact conversation – about canter transitions!
We have done canter transitions every way I can think of. Canter/trot transitions, canter/walk transitions, canter/halt transitions, canter/walk/turn on the haunches transitions, canter transitions over poles, around poles, between poles, canter transitions while spiraling in, while spiraling out, figure eight transitions, serpentine transitions…
His left lead canter has become consistently amazing – as long as I ride him well. We are doing longer and longer canters and I think we could almost do a stadium course if I could ride the entire thing only on his left lead! I can actually feel his hind feet in my hands this direction. He is bouncy and stoppable and not nearly as swap happy as he was.
And then there’s his right lead. It’s like I switch to a completely different horse. He still can’t go for more than a few strides before he is leaning on his right shoulder, speeding up to catch himself, difficult to steer, difficult to stop. What is nearly effortless going left still requires all my concentration going right.
Cantering over poles is teaching me a lot. I find it more difficult to anticipate his “take off” spot when he’s going right unless we are having one of our moments (literally… a moment) when he is packaged and bouncy. Oftentimes he lunges for the long spot rather than putting in the final stride like he does so easily to the left. Then he’s off to the races and we have to stop and start again.
One thing I’ve learned through all this? Optimism can actually be a very negative trait! Before I came to terms with the severity of Cotton’s problem, every time we had a good ride I would cross that day’s success off my to-do list. I thought his problems were only my fault. I thought once I learned to ride him correctly, he would go correctly and we’d be ready to gallop across a XC field in our first event. Every time I was able to produce a desired result my optimism fooled me into thinking that would be the end of it – problem solved, on to the next! But we’d have to deal with the same exact issue over and over again! I was living in a constant state of perplexity…
The truth will set you free! even if it does hurt a little at first.
Now that I’m good and pessimistic about the reality of Cotton’s situation, I’m actually pretty optimistic that it can eventually be solved - with a lot of time and a whole lot of transitions.
So hey, if you can think of any creative ways to do a canter transition, please let me know!
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