Sunday, August 3, 2014

Canter Serpentines and Cantering Straight

I had a great, productive lesson today with lots of cantering, even in a straight line for the first time on Chester. Another girl, Anica, was riding with me on her horse, Roxie. Other than not having much go and acting a little bit lazy(I had to push him a lot to get him to canter), Chester was nice today.

 I started with a trot circle to the left at A. As I have been for these past few lessons, I worked on getting Chester to look to the inside and get to all the points on the circle. I did fairly good for just that circle, but when I started a serpentine a little later after trotting around the dressage arena, I didn't always go completely  to the points while keeping his head to the inside. I need to use a lot more inside leg to keep him on the serpentine.
This picture is nice.

  After that, I watched Anica ride a canter serpentine with simple changes of a walk stride in between each part of the serpentine. Then, I gave it a try, except with a trot transition to change leads in between. It took quite a bit of kicking to get Chester going because he wasn't as fresh and energetic as usual. This time I put my outside leg behind the girth and squeezed rather than using mainly my voice to get him to canter. It went well, though I had to do it several times because I couldn't get him to canter for the last circle of the serpentine. The other parts went well though. Finally, I managed to get the full serpentine with cantering in the right places. It was great!
Part of my serpentine
 The next exercise Anica and I worked on went like this: Trot up centerline, leg yield to B, then canter through the corner to H and head across the short diagonal back to B. Next, canter to the corner, turn up centerline, and do a canter leg yield to E. At C, walk.
I'm sitting up in the saddle, but I love this picture. Chester's head position even looks nice.

 I had to practice this pattern quite a few times to get it right. The first two times I looked down at B and ran into the cone, so I focused and started another time. At B I put my leg back and kicked him into the canter. There were a couple times when he just trotted quickly, but the final time I rode the pattern it went as planned. I leg yielded to B by putting my leg behind the girth and pushing him over. Then, I kicked him into the canter, rode around the corner, and crossed the diagonal to B after reaching H. Next, I cantered around the corner and up centerline, pushing Chester over to E while still cantering. Finally, I reached C and walked.
 It's fun cantering straight and off the circle, and I really enjoyed the serpentine and pattern. I watched Annica ride her 2nd level test, then ended the lesson by riding through my Intro level test. The halt at X was nice, the temp was great, but I took a few circles at A to get him to canter, even with putting my leg behind the girth. The circle left went much better; he cantered right away.
Cantering around the corner, heading toward H.

 After ending my test, I rode around the property with Anica to cool out both horses. We went behind the paddocks, passed some trees, which is a way I haven't gone before, then after turning at the barn we went around the arena and towards the dirt track the girls sometimes ride on. We hosed our horses off then put them away. I gave Chester four cookies for working so hard. It was a fun lesson. I can't wait to do more cantering straight and on serpentines like I did.


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