Thursday, July 17, 2008

Something new in canter

Wow. I've had some really great rides the past two nights. What a relief. I should mention that I've been poised to try the double bridle under saddle for the first time, but when Willow started resisting the higher frame to such an extreme, I decided to delay the double until we had worked through the new problems. I don't want the double to mask any throughness issues. My new target date for the double is a week from Sunday, if all continues to go well.

I'm having a bit of puzzlement in the canter--something I've never felt before. Willow is cantering reliably in the new higher frame, and most of the time the canter feels really good. We're reliably achieving 12-meter circles, and half pass is starting to come (Yay! She's really listening to the outside leg!). Sometimes, though, she'll give me a few strides of something that almost feels like a series of little bucks, but not exactly. It's like the canter energy is escaping upwards through her croup, as if sometimes she doesn't know what to do with all her new found springiness, and it escapes before traveling over her back. It's really hard to explain.

It's not a big deal--when I feel it, I just send her forward with a good bump from both legs, and the feeling goes away. But I would like to know exactly what is happening. I'm big on theory! If anyone has felt this and had it explained to them, I'm all ears.


Dressage Princess said...

I think I know exactly what you mean, although I'm not sure I really understand it either. I've felt it most often in horses that are learning flying changes and counter canter—sometimes that'll happen when they anticipate a change. It feels like they are jumping up with their hind end instead of forward.

halfpassgirl said...

"It feels like they are jumping up with their hind end instead of forward."

That's it exactly! It probably has something to do with the horse not fully grasping how to "sit down" behind in collected canter.

dressagemom said...

Kaswyn used to give me that feeling, and I he was just coming down with his back legs too close together. I mean two things by this - that the back feet are landing too narrow and not as wide as his hips as they should be, and that he was bringing the two feet down almost at the same time instead of placing one down an then the other. The end result is that hopping feeling. If you get it on the circle I think that might be coming from inside leg fatigue, and to relieve that she's beinging the inside hind farther under her belly and putting it down along with the outisde hind in order to take the pressure off the inside. If you think about those small canter circles with collection you're putting more pressure on the inside hind and requiring it to reach farther under, but ideally towards the shoulder and not the midline.

I agree with both observations that it came come from flying change anticipation and also from learning very collected canter on a circle. I think sending her forawrd is exactly the right thing to do, preferably in a straight line. If you keep her on a circle it will be easier for her to narrow her stance behind and you don't want to encourage that.

If you notice it in one direction then doing halfpass out of the circle will ask her to reach out with the inside hind. Could be a fun exercise and will probbly really help with suppleness.