I learned to trust my horse a little more today. My coach had us focus on two exercises.
She had us trot a figure eight through some empty jump standards and over poles. (Today, I learned that they are called standards)
She also had us trot around the arena and do a twenty-meter circle in each corner. Something about that last exercise — or it could have been the four hours of YouTube that I binged on before our lesson — gave me a huge aha moment. I developed the trust that his body was going where I told it. I felt his shoulders leading, and the tension that I’ve kept in his neck finally release. We did circles, and that’s a big deal! Once I had that moment, I felt so much tension slough away.
My coach asked if I was ready to canter him yet.
I told her that I wanted to canter him on the longe line first and develop a strong voice command, so I didn’t have the half an arena super trot while he tries to figure out what I want (while I’m scared out of my mind and not really wanting it, especially the more super his trot becomes). I told her how I’ve been trying to get him to canter, but he just speeds up his trot. A smart coach, she gets out the longe line and sees if she can get him to canter.
Guess who cantered with one little kiss sound? Today I learned you’re supposed to ask for a canter with a kiss. Shouting “CANTER” means absolutely nothing, but a tiny little kiss sound means CANTER. I didn’t make the rules! I’m not sure how I never learned the kiss command before, but at least I know it now.
When will I be ready to canter him? Probably soon. My priorities this week are to:
- Practice riding with a crop under my thumbs to keep my hands from waving around like an idiot.
- Trot over poles until I get over it. (haha)
- Trot between standards until they become less scary. (Yea, they scare me.)
- Learn how to make amazing kissing noises at Max while he’s on the longe line.