A picture really is worth a thousand words, isn’t it? Last night’s lesson proved to be…exciting. My sweet instructor conned me into riding the awesome Trakehner mare at our barn so I could feel her lovely gaits and enjoy her high level of experience. What she failed to mention is that all of the mares at the barn seem to be going into heat at the moment. Oh joy…
Truth: her gaits were quite lovely. Her trot was floaty and easy to follow and her canter was very nice… what I got of it anyway. Our lateral work was extremely encouraging and I was able to connect with her for some monster reach on our leg yields. Mini “yay”, for the fun was yet to come.
The canter. Well, we did get a decent transition from the walk into canter on a circle tracking left but she broke prematurely and it took me three tries to collect the trot enough to ask her into canter again…which she broke, again. After that, the whole thing went down hill. With my instructor talking me through it we tried to get her back into canter one more time but every time I set her up for it and asked she would squirt out into a fast trot. I re-balanced her at the trot and asked again, and then I re-balanced and asked with a kiss, and then I re-balanced and asked with a kick, and finally, even though at this point I was almost as out of breath as she was, I asked again. She shot forward and left me way behind, then bucked and I lost a stirrup and almost rode her neck for a moment before I regained my balance and circled. Weeee! Crisis averted, though, and I managed to stay in the saddle. My trainer was miffed (not at me) and got on her immediately to ahem…explain that her behavior was not acceptable and that a cue to canter means canter. She took her up into canter until the transition was prompt and smooth. I watched from the ground visualizing the whiskey mixed drink I certainly must have earned upon my arrival at home. She gave her back to me and told me she was being sluggish and stubborn even for her and that she isn’t usually like that. She said if I felt I needed to, I could get back on her and trot around a bit, but since she was already standing there with her legs splayed in exhaustion and a dejected “I’m sorry” look on her face, I opted just to cool her out. I really didn’t need the whole “get right back up when you fall off” thing because, well, I didn’t actually fall off, plus it certainly won’t make me apprehensive to ride again. I was more worried my instructor would assume I never wanted to ride her again after this. Instead she said it was just because she was going into heat and that she really liked me on her and that our lateral work was excellent. Made me feel better, even if she was just throwing me a bone. 🙂