Instead of trying to get the canter on my own, Barbara put me on the lunge. The first few times, she asked PJ for the depart so that I could feel how my hips moved when he struck off. Then she had me ask, and I realized that how I thought I should ask was incorrect. I totally was “scooping with my seat” wrong. I was sitting too much on my pubic bone and not enough on my seat bones. Correct felt like I was slipping my butt underneath me instead of pushing with my core to move my hips (that’s the best way I can describe it). How I had been doing it served to tip my upper body forward, blocking PJ from picking up his front end and cantering off. I had to lean back to do the correct scoop but what felt like almost leaning on his rump was just slightly tilted back (and correct). I could feel that I didn’t tip forward.
I couldn’t believe I had been asking for the canter wrong all of this time – probably for years but I had had horses who liked to canter. It will take many more lunge lessons for the correct feeling to be solidified in my brain and in my muscle memory. Until then, I’m not going to canter on my own. If the weather cooperates I’ll have another lesson tomorrow. Don’t they say it takes 10,000 times of doing something for it to become habit? Well, I have 3 times down, 9,997 left to go.