We’ve been working a lot on Liam’s canter. At the beginning of the summer, it was all sorts of crooked and lateral and unbalanced, and sometimes borderline out of control. Mid summer we fixed the lateral canter and the out of control part. Late summer we fixed the unbalanced part. Early fall we improved the transitions into and out of the canter. And now we are working on rocking Liam back onto his haunches to put the canter together a little more. We are really working the half halts at the canter, we are slowing it down more and making it smaller, and we are insisting on good transitions every time.
Lately the canter has felt different. I have felt his back up firmly under me, carrying me. It lost the “rolling” feeling and become steadier, with a gentle rock to it. It became easier to sit on, easier to influence, easier to hold together.
Today was another new feeling at the canter. Instead of feeling like I was sitting on his raised back muscles, I felt like I was sitting on his haunches. It felt like right under my seat were his back legs. As they moved, I could feel them in my seat and hips. And by softly breathing my lower leg against his barrel, I could move those back legs. It was a totally new experience, and I was amazed as I sat there, soaking in the sensation, trying to memorize it in all my muscles so we can do it again. The canter was so easy to ride, so light in my hands, so maneuverable, so easy to transition into and out of, so easy to speed up and slow down. My half halts flowed straight from my body into his as if we were one. His canter became my canter.
Hopefully tomorrow we can go there again.