Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Calm and not so calm

Last Thursday, I had a double session with my trainer: a lunging session with Rondo (which went over time), and a lesson on Panama (somewhat shortened).

Rondo did pretty well.  He was being a bit lazy and not as interested in moving forward as he was the previous Sunday when I lunged him.  He also seems to have a hard time translating the difference in body language between me and my trainer.  It makes sense, since I'd started lunging him a little over the summer on my own, and she's only lunged him four times now, but he seems to respond better to my body language, especially when I'm asking for a whoa.  Not when she's present, unfortunately, which is exactly what used to happen when Panama was at this stage of his training.  I must be nervous when I lunge my horses in front of my trainer, or maybe they are plotting to make me look bad, because it never fails: I tell my trainer how well so-and-so did with something during the week, and with her there they act like they have no clue, and I end up looking like I don't know what I'm talking about.

Panama was a bit lazy too, but with him it's a good thing.  We walked, trotted, and cantered in the outdoor arena (where he is usually quite fast and distracted), and he never so much as quickened his pace.  He was practically half asleep, and I didn't dare ask him for more trot, in case it woke him up!  It was a perfect, if somewhat abbreviated, ride, and I joked that he was kissing my ass to make me rethink the second horse.

Then Sunday evening I rode Panama again, and it was anything but relaxed.  We walked, trotted, and cantered then, too, and in the indoor arena, where he is usually a little less prone to rushing.  Not Sunday night!  At first he wouldn't transition into a canter with me sitting, and then once he did (perhaps because I had to use a kissing sound to get him to do it, a sound I normally only use for turnout), he was fast and spastic, at the trot too.  He shied away from a stool that had been in the corner of the arena the entire time, rushed, cut the corners, and let his inside shoulder fall into all of the turns.  We worked for a little bit until he stopped acting quite so much like a wing nut, but it was a very different ride than the one I'd gotten from him on Thursday.

Michael took some video of me riding Sunday evening, and when I watched it I was horrified by how bad my sitting canter was.  I've been riding bareback a lot on my own (I'm still not cantering bareback yet), and my trainer has been having me canter in two-point a lot, so my sitting canter hasn't had much work lately.  So I've decided that two things Panama and I need to work on are our upward transitions into the canter (him on being quicker to pick up the canter, me on getting my cues a little better), and my sitting canter.  I feel pretty confident in my two-point canter, but I really want to improve that sitting canter.  I also need to get him to stop trotting faster for half a dozen strides before he picks up his canter, because that is not going to go over well if I am bareback!

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