Saturday, August 24, 2013


I was impressed with Soon on our very first ride, where we walk/trot/cantered in both directions, super quietly and happily.  I've cantered on a couple of other rides as well, but for the most part I've spent our time at the walk and trot trying to introduce and emphasize new lessons for him.  This works, because tonight proved why he's not going to need much work at the canter.

I said earlier that he was naturally balanced.  His walk is fabulous, he's got a very nice trot, and his canter I just haven't "seen" much of from the ground (looks nice on the lunge?).  But holy cow - not cantering him on every ride makes me forget just how nice that gait is!  While he is still sticky picking up his right lead, he is eventually getting it.  He used to play for a couple of strides once he did pick it up right (kind of a "Hey look at me!  Whee!  I don't usually canter on this lead!"), but always settled.  I didn't mind because it was harmless and didn't affect me much (just stay in the center and stay soft).  So tonight we had a string of several incorrect leads to the right.  My bad.  I bring him back down and am careful to not get him upset or flustered.  He did get it on probably the fifth try, and I think I need to keep my right leg back a little further on him. Anyway, he settled right into a lovely canter.

And I do mean lovely.  He is very balanced, soft, and round in the canter, in both directions.  Whether I'm out of the saddle or sitting, he stays soft and relaxed.  His natural rhythm is very apparent, and I cantered a good couple of laps each way, just enjoying how athletic he felt.  I know horses with several years of showing under their belt that don't have that natural, soft, balanced feel.  You can build a good trot; some people are of the opinion that you can't build a good canter.  Well, Soon has it for sure.  And tonight, when we were cantering to the right, I almost forgot I was on a horse that was fresh off the track.  Can't wait to get this boy out on a cross country course to see what he can do!
Proud of himself after one of our rides

His trot is pretty good on its own, and getting better undersaddle.  He's still working on forward, rhythm, and straightness in addition to the lateral work we're practicing.  I also taught him stretchy trot, which we always end the routine with.  I'll do more of that tomorrow, as today was a refresher ride.  It's nice to feel him stretch down across his topline and bring his back up.  Such a fun, easy, and athletic horse.  I am incredibly lucky.  :)

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