Saturday, February 6, 2010


Some of my readers who have been with me for a while may remember back to when I was afraid to canter. I got over it when I cantered by accident, asking for a faster trot and getting a canter instead.

That was at the old barn, though. Panama has been so goosey about the "go" button since we moved that my trainer has only cantered him a little, and I haven't at all. The last time I cantered on Panama was the time I fell after he slipped in the mud.

We started talking about cantering again during Wednesday's lesson. My trainer wants me to practice on another horse first, so that I have some recent experience (i.e., more recent than when I was 12) at the canter before trying it on Panama again. (I've only cantered on Panama a handful of times, so I'm not so sure that counts as recent experience.)

At first I was skeptical. For one thing, Panama seemed to be calming down a bit in the last week or two, which made me think maybe I'd be able to canter him again soon. Also, it has been two years since I've ridden a horse other than Panama, and I'm not sure I really want to. I ride because I love Panama, not because I particularly love riding. I guess I could say I love riding Panama, but I don't get as excited at the thought of riding another horse.

Yesterday convinced me, though. My trainer cantered Panama for a while today, pretending she was me — riding with a more uncertain seat, grabbing mane in the two-point, etc. Not only did he do his usual of getting really excited and wanting to do nothing but canter, but he was kind of freaked out by the mane-grabbing and the uncertain seat coming from my usually very competent trainer. She said she doesn't want me cantering on him until he gets a little bit more practice himself, and I (somewhat reluctantly) agreed.

So she's going to talk to one of her students about letting me try some cantering on their horse — not necessarily a full lesson every time, but just a half a dozen or so short rides, so that I become more confident at the canter. At the same time, she's going to start cantering him regularly during her training sessions with him and after my lessons, so that it stops being a Really Exciting Thing. She says as he gets used to cantering more often, he'll stop getting so revved up every time.

I'm disappointed not to be able to start out on Panama, but perhaps this will be better for the both of us in the long run. Either way, I'm looking forward to starting to canter — AGAIN!



At February 6, 2010 at 3:03 PM, Blogger Sydney said...

Thats a smart move since both of you are "green" at the canter.

At February 6, 2010 at 3:14 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Green-ish. :o) My trainer used to canter Panama more, but he seems to have left his brain at the old barn, and we've been waiting for him to adjust to the new place before we do too much on him. Unfortunately it's been almost 4 months and he still seems to be getting it back in stages!

I did canter quite a bit when I was a kid -- but that was a long time ago, and I've cantered very little since then. I definitely don't remember feeling so unbalanced at the canter as I do now!

By the way, your remark reminded me of a joke my friend (who is in a similar predicament, inexperienced with a young horse) likes to make:


At February 6, 2010 at 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a good idea - cantering on a more experienced horse where you can relax and just practice will really benefit you - and therefore Panama as well!


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