Cooper – Canter Doldrums

It wasn’t long ago…

That we’d trot a 20 m at A, trot into the corner and do a 10 m trot circle (that alone was a challenge), transition to canter once back on the track on the long side, then canter down the long side.

Transition down to trot in the corner into a 10 m trot circle (SO proud of him once he could do that!) and continue to a 20 m trot circle at C, repeating all down there.  – 20 meter trot at C, 10 meter trot in corner, canter the long side, 10 meter trot in corner, 20 meter trot at A.

The less scrambling the better.  This is NOT coming easy for Cooper.

Let me illustrate just one of the many issues we have – leaning in, and over bending the neck, even on a 20 meter volte.  (Well, really, doesn’t matter even if it’s on some sort of 30 meter egg-shaped thingy.  He’ll still want to fall in like this.  Or, just as tasty; barrel around – braced, demon speed, propelled by the front legs.)

Leaning on inside shoulder in canter

Then starting over on the other lead.  I’d have to regroup sometimes between canter sessions with a 2 x 10 m circle in the corner to sort of “pull things together again.”  Ever humble, admitting it was mainly to pull myself together.

Well, we’ve talked about counseling.  But he refuses to go.  Says it’s me, not him.

So, may the “half halts within canter” begin!  Yes, that is correct – all this time, and no touching the canter gait within itself.  For a reason.

Instead of a lengthy explanation, which I will probably not define correctly anyway, let’s just say he really needed to gain confidence within this gait.  Hold his own balance at least a bit, or consider it.  He had to feel as if he could keep thinking canter.  You may not agree.

Barrel horse to dressage

In the middle of these canter doldrums, I’ll be showing him at 1st Level this weekend!  Extremely grateful to be able to go.  Can’t believe we’ll attempt 1st Level, at his 3rd show ever!  Oh dear.

Please cheer us on.  And come back early next week, if only to snicker about it all.  The laugh’s all on me.





30 thoughts on “Cooper – Canter Doldrums

  1. Your last canter picture looks pretty good – nice and uphill! Good luck on your First Level test. I look forward to hearing about it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and good for you for continuing to take chances and push yourself!


    1. Thank you – this is all so new for Cooper, his 3rd show ever.
      Fairly certain he’s not ready, but we’ll have so much fun trying!
      Today he bucked coming back from the extended canter – ummm, we’ll call it spirit 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Spirit – or maybe “expression”! As for showing when you’re not ready, if you wait until you’re totally ready, you’ll never do it (that’s my theory). Setting the deadline of the show kicks you into gear and makes you work on the stuff you’ve been avoiding. Sometimes there is failure, but sometimes we have some surprising successes. Regardless, let’s compact to go out there and have fun and give our horses a good and positive experience!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yey! Just what I think too! Will we ever be ready…? And how would we know if we didn’t try!?
          It would be very cool to run into you at a show venue, who knows, maybe one day 🙂


          1. I’m sure we will! We are not that far away, after all. By the way, our foray into 4th level went surprisingly well today, hooray!!! Sending good wishes for your show with Cooper!


  2. Held og lykke i weekenden!
    – virkelig godt indlæg, det lyder som om du virkelig forstår at træne på hestens premisser 🙂


  3. Good luck! Personally, I love seeing people with their baby horses at shows- they all seem to have a great sense of humor about introducing their pony to new things and having fun with it. Hope you have a day full of smiles!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, thank you! I hope to be able to “roll with it” when things get dicey and tense, and then, yes, have LOTS of fun!


    1. Yes, the circle is an enigma. Sometimes, not that I would ever admit it here, I almost daze out for a few steps while practicing at home, and the of course, it’s ALL my fault… 😉


    1. Loved reading your Friday/Saturday show experience! Can’t wait to check out the last day’s report too.
      It always feels great when it’s over, doesn’t it 😉


  4. I’m sure you did great at the show! No laughing from me.

    I totally agree with how you handled the canter. I’m doing the same thing with Chrome. Loose rein, let him carry himself, etc. Because of his stifles the canter is hard for him. I want him confident in it and moving forward before we ever try to do circles or anything on the aids.


    1. I’ll be very interested to hear how things work out for him with his stifles. It’s my hope it’s something that he may work out of, as he matures and gains more muscle etc. Let us know how he comes along!


      1. I think it is just a lack of fitness thing because he didn’t have any problems when he was on the thirty acres. When I ride a lot he picks up the canter easily and doesn’t lock up at all. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s just in then! The fitness. I’ve started to allow Valiosa to canter longer now, not just a couple of circles on the lunge line, and it’s helping. Granted, best if the canter is balanced first, which they get to by doing several transitions into it, but now I trust that she can hold it without hurting her self. Good luck with Chrome on this!


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