Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Checking in on the canter.

I would love to say that Bobby magically got over his meltdown yesterday, but I can't. He wasn't ready to explosivo as soon as I got on him, and I actually had to work on keeping him going at a steady forward pace, but his head still wanted to remain pointing skyward at all costs. I got off after ten minutes of trot work with zero improvement despite my best efforts and checked his saddle. It was exactly where it was when I had BO check it over Sunday (I measure by how much space there is between his elbow and the girth when he's standing square). I checked his bridle--fine. I checked his legs--fine. I finally took the plunge and retrieved my draw reins.

As stated many times before, I don't have anything against draw reins and I've used them a few times on Bobby before, but I feel like I'm not riding right if I have to put them on and check it off as a fail on my skills as a rider (which are few, but still). As soon as I stuck them on and we walked off, Bobby curled right up behind the bit. I hadn't even gathered my normal reins yet, let alone the draw reins. Fortunately, Red's favorite daily activity was to fall face-down on his forehand and curl under the bit when asked to work, so I knew how to deal with this much better than head in air like a giraffe.

He got going really nicely with just a few wiggles on the draw rein when wanted to revert to giraffe horse and he finally relaxed to where I didn't have to touch them at all. Hopefully he'll remember how fun being chill and going nicely is on Friday.

I got ambitious and decided to see where his canter was. Wooooow. But kind of in a good way! I think the draw reins kind of helped bundle him up more than usual and he wasn't careening around like a camel on crack in iceskates like he is wont to do. Instead, while still a very green and discoordinated canter, I was able to get another peek at what a fancy schmany dressage pony Robert has the potential to be. His whole front end rocks up, levitates for a second, then bounds off again. It's sooo uphill and big and powerful, and even if he can only hold it for a few circles right now, I am so excited for him to be strong and sound enough to flaunt it in the ring. To the left, of course, it was not quite so good as he had a lot of trouble staying straight, but after all the trot and lateral work we've been plugging slooowly away at, it's really starting to come along.

I'm hoping one day I'm going to ask for it and he's just going to produce this amazing gait. Fat chance, but one can dream! Also, one day I hope to walk into the barn and see that his tail has grown longer than two inches.

Bobby's alter ego! For realz.


  1. That sounds like an awesome canter. He will be fabulous when you get him all sorted out.

  2. Sometimes our green horses need assistance so don't feel bad for using the draw reins :)

    We need to see some video of this fancy boy!

  3. If he is carrying his head in the air, he is trying to find balance. They need their neck for balance, and if you work a horse consistently at a nice rhythmic rate and work on straightness - not caring where the head is - they will eventually become strong enough and reach for the contact.

    If your guy is carrying his head up, he is doing it because he is not balanced. I wouldn't recommend putting draw reins on a horse at this stage. I would work him and give him his head and focus on rhthym and straightess until he builds the muscle and balance necessary. Normally, this takes about a month or two - depending on the horse.

    Always ride the body - not the head.

    *****Just my personal opinion - take it for what it is!


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