Go In With Your Eyes Open

On Friday I was finally able to have another lunge lesson to help with the canter.  Since riding with my eyes closed helped so much with contact, I thought I might try it to feel the canter depart.  Well, it didn’t work.  I tipped forward a lot.  I don’t know if it was because that’s my natural inclination or if having my eyes closed messed with my balance.  At the end I opened them, which helped a bit with the tipping forward.  So, bottom line, closing my eyes to help with feel may not always work.

On Saturday I tried cantering by myself.  To make sure I didn’t bang PJ in the mouth I held the bucking strap.  I used all of the tools in my toolbox.  I leaned backed, I pushed him over with my inside leg, I swung my inside leg back without spurring him, used and then gave my inside rein. Oh yeah, I also said, ready, and canter.  We cantered.  It wasn’t pretty – he kicked out a little, picked up the wrong lead at first, etc.  But we eventually cantered.

From the outside it seems like cantering would be such a easy thing.  Everyone canters, right?  But we horse people know how much goes into something that sounds so simple.  I was talking to an eventing friend of mine and she was having a similar issue with her downward transitions.  How hard could it be to stop?  Yeah right!   We’re all in this together.

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