Cantering: No Longer a Can’t

I had a lesson last night. I wasn’t sure how it would go; I woke up way early to drop my husband off to go out of town, worked all day (and work is a new job, ergo totally overwhelming), then finally got out to the barn. I managed to get a 20 minute nap in, though, and I was good to go when I arrived.

The flies were crazy last night; Hook was stomping up a storm until I got some fly spray on him, poor guy. He’d thrown a shoe, too, but was deemed OK to ride. I brought out the Tom Thumb (very short-shanked) spurs I’d bought, since my instructor wants me to work with spurs but the long Western spurs with rowels were terrifying me. I don’t have enough control over my feet yet, thank you very much; I wouldn’t like to endure another fall just yet.

Hook was ridden hard this weekend, in a youth horse show, so he was on the tired side. It was hot and humid, too. It took a while for us to get going, but once we did, he was responding fairly well to me. I have difficulty keeping him on the rail still, since his way of testing incompetent riders is to head for the middle. Hey, at least it’s not bucking, right? This is especially a problem when we’re riding to the right, for some reason. We didn’t do very well at making deep corners, but I’m working on it.

We did some work at the trot (Hook’s trot is like a freaking jackhammer), over ground poles and over a 6″ pole as well. I had considerable difficulty keeping him going over the ground poles but got it eventually. Sometimes I just feel really uncoordinated (because I am), but I’m getting better.

Finally it was time to canter. Another student started, and her good direction is my bad direction, plus she was cantering over ground poles, so I just kind of waited in the middle. I did try a few times to transition to the canter going to the right, but with Hook trying to head for the middle and those poles there, I was super uncomfortable. Once we got going to the left, though, things were great. I made it all the way around the arena for the first time, and didn’t go bouncing out of my seat too much in the corners. I didn’t windmill my arms around or pick my heels way up or any of the other stupid things I’ve been doing.

It felt great. I’m really happy with my progress right now, and I had a great ride last night. I can’t wait to get back out there again. No pictures, sadly.

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