Harley was longed Thursday, and he absolutely let me know how he felt about the cool-er evening after three days off. I had at least 3/4 of a circle each way a combination of bucking, kicking up, and galloping off. He threw quite the little hissy fit. He didn't tug hard on the longe line, he didn't run off with me, but he sure let me know he felt happy go lucky with the break and the return to work. Total, about 40 minutes, 20 of it on the longe line.
Friday, Jen came over to offer ideas on our less than successful left lead canter work. I was a little anxious about the whole thing. I expected to hear, "heels down, shoulders up, quit hunching over his front end, he'll never get the left lead if you don't ask for it correctly".
Instead, it's Harley. He isn't confident in picking it up, and let us know that by nearly a dozen requests heading left. I tried it on a circle in the corner, I tried it going straight, I tried it tilting his head inward, I tried it tilting his head outward, I tried asking with both legs evenly, I tried asking it with outside leg back. Finally, probably on a stroke of luck, he gave me the left lead on a squeeze and a long kiss. Goodness. At that point, I probably rode the canter 7 circles long. Lots and lots of canter left.
Our homework? Canter Left. Pure, simple, plain. The minute he gets the correct left lead, keep him in it, don't let him break gait, and force him to keep moving. Doesn't matter if I sit, two point, no issues. I'm asking him correctly, and while my heels aren't perfect down, I am sitting back and pushing from my seat without leaning on his shoulders. I'm not the problem, his lack of practice is. The only thing I've done wrong, is not ask for it often enough, and not keep him in it long enough when he does pick up the left lead.
I was frustrated he got it incorrect so many times, but at the same time, a bit delighted with myself. Previously, I have been the problem. I've hesitated, I've gotten nervous, anxious, curled up into a saddled fetal position, kissed under my breath, and while a little bit of my body said "Canter, please", the rest of me said, "Oh goodness, please don't kill me when you launch into it". Absolutely satisfying to know I'm confident enough to get him through this.
Canter right? Short, sweet, pretty. Trot work? A little stiff, not as much bend at the poll as he's had. Cause? Probably stiff and a tad sore from his hissy fit Thursday evening.
as I drifted to sleep Friday night, I had a sad moment, missing sweet Ransom... grateful that old man taught me how to correctly canter, enduring all those curled up requests with a steady rhythm, and still a part of me longing for those big canters all around the arena with his toosh pushing us all the way