Knickers In A Twist? It Might Be Affecting Your Ride

The canter has always been a... "thing" for Dino and I.

It started back when he was my project pony in college, and he would buck violently every time I even suggested that he canter. He would buck violently most of the time, actually. But most of all when I tried to get him to pick up the canter. And even though he's made HUGE improvements over the past year, the canter is still a bit of a "thing."

I've figured out it's a "thing" mostly because I EXPECT it to be a "thing." I anticipate that he's going to be cranky about it, so he is. And in that anticipation, instead of relaxing my body and allowing Dino's body to move forward into the canter, I get stiff, clench up my butt, and effectively BLOCK forward motion. So instead of following him softly into the faster gait, I ask for the faster gait, and then block his body with my clenching buttcheeks. Dino finds this extremely irritating, and I don't blame him.

Once I realized this, I spent most of yesterday's ride focused on relaxing my seat, wrapping my legs down and around his barrel, and not making the canter a "thing." I tried to simply sit tall, stretch my legs down, squeeze with my calf, and expect Dino to transition softly up to the canter, all the while keeping my glutes relaxed and allowing myself to follow his back.

It worked.

It worked so well that Dino actually performed two lovely walk-canter transitions without much effort on my part. It's amazing how correct riding produces good results, isn't it?


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