Saturday, March 13, 2010


Not long ago, I wrote about how I wasn't able to canter on Panama because he was acting so — well — green. I'm happy to report though that yesterday's lesson turned CAN'T-ering into CAN-tering.

Initially I was thinking that Panama was going to be a real pill to ride. He was acting antsy in the cross ties, and when he pooped, his manure was pretty loose — nervous manure. Uh-oh, I thought.

But under saddle he turned out to be fine. Better than fine. We rode indoors, and as we've been doing lately, I got a nice walk and trot out of him almost right away. My trainer had me practice trotting a lot, alternating between posting and doing my two-point.

Then she announced that she wanted me to canter in a few minutes. Predictably, I started to get a bit nervous, but she said that since he and I were both very controlled, she wanted to take advantage of our good day.

I was nervous, but when it came time I "just did it" — something I wouldn't have been able to do 9 months ago, I can tell you that. And she was right! Panama was a little hesitant at first, not really believing we were actually going to canter, but the result was a nice, slow, controlled canter. My trainer counted out three strides and asked me to bring him down, and I thought, Already? I would have been happy to keep going.

We took a walk break, and that's when the adrenaline started to kick in. I was trembling ever so slightly and feeling quite giddy. We walked and trotted a bit more, so that he'd stop anticipating the canter so much, and then we cantered again.

This time the canter wasn't quite so good. He was a bit more forward — he was still anticipating it, obviously — and I felt my two-point falter a bit. It took a stride to get back to where I was supposed to be. Once I was balanced, my trainer counted out three strides, and had me pull him up again.

Although it was a short lesson by about ten minutes, cantering twice really wore me out. Luckily, my trainer said she was happy to stop on that note. She had me trot him around a little more, and we worked on keeping him from spooking by the gate (he tends to cat-jump sideways when he suddenly sees down the hall that leads to the indoor barn, particularly when there's a lot going on there).

I'm so happy to be able to canter on my own horse after all, and not have to learn it on someone else's! And of course I'm so proud of Panama for being good for me, despite the fact that he's still a little bit green at the canter! Hopefully we'll be able to have many more lessons like this, so that soon I can start cantering on my own — without my trainer present!



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