Shoveling in Another Hole

Our canter depart rears its ugly head again.  Because we’ve been having issues, when I ask PJ to canter, I use all my aids to the extreme.  I push with my inside leg while I’m aggressive with my outside leg and the scoop of my seat.  The result is sometimes a canter depart, but always I get tense and balled up.  I do this because I think more subtle aids won’t work from past experience.

Barbara put me on the lunge to help.  She thought that if I could ask nicely, she could be there to back up my aids with the whip if need be.  So I tried to ask nicely by just putting my inside leg on him, sliding my outside leg back, and scooping more softly with my seat. At first it didn’t quite work, so we played around with the half-halting and sending forward before the ask.  Barbara figured out that I needed to let him go forward more than just a stride or even two.  I was asking too quickly after sending him forward.  A couple of times he cantered off because of either something Barbara did or on his own because he thought I was going to ask instead of me actually giving the aids.  But then… I got a beautiful depart.  The process was repeated in the other direction with the same initial troubles and the same end results.  I’m not sure PJ actually got it but I’m going to try and ask for the canter a little more subtly (like it’s supposed to be) when I ride on my own and see what happens.

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