Finally, proof that patience and hard work do pay off… eventually!
Liam’s natural canter is rather flat and lateral, and he strongly prefers running (racehorse style) to any sort of dressage cantering. We worked and worked and worked, and first I fixed the lateral canter, teaching him to stay in a three beat rhythm. I still had big problems lengthening and returning to a working canter, much less asking for a collected or medium canter. Any small suggestion to go more forward resulted in a strung out, on-the-forehand, ugly gait that had no hope of returning to a quality working canter. Again, it slowly got better until we had a passable (but not great) difference in the gait and a (cross your fingers style!) transition between the two.
But the absolute most challenging canter issue to date has been the simple change. The walk-canter part is no problem. But the canter walk transition was a BIG problem, especially if followed by cantering off in the other direction. Liam thought it was a silly transition and found a flying change much more convenient. The anticipation made him crazy. The transition itself left him baffled, he couldn’t seem to coordinate his legs and hold any sort of balance as he braced against me when I tried to get him to do the transition, and as soon as he “sort of” walked he was ready to race off again.
So we’ve done a million canter-walk(walk, walk, walk, walk)-canter transitions on a circle, and I worked on improving the quality of the canter (again) so that he is better connected and keeps his hind legs more under himself. And finally, it’s paying off… we have simple changes!
Such a simple thing makes me SOOO happy!!!