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We Are Flying Solo

November 15, 2009

Collecting Thoughts...And Strides

In celebration of the end of the Nor'Easter From Hell, I decided to strip down the horse bay of the trailer and clean it. Which always includes the fun task of dragging out 300-lb trailer mats. Hullo, where are those "space-age" materials??? In the process, I discovered my trailer tires have given up the ghost. One, in a fit of sheer irony, has a horseshoe nail jammed into it and was completely flat. The two on the opposite side had ominous looking cracks through the sidewalls that I could all too easily envision blowing out under my horse at sixty miles an hour. No worries, I'll just gather up the spare sacks of money I have sitting around and buy a new set of tires. *sigh*

In happier news, the sun came out for our afternoon lesson (during which I was mentally worshipping our BO for having perfect all-weather footing so the ring was just dandy despite aforementioned Nor'Easter). The first part of the lesson, I mostly spent in extreme annoyance as Solo was fixated on keeping the Insolent Hussy (aka Pony Lover) in sight. But we stepped up the workload and he came back to focus. We started introducing very deliberate half halts, much more exaggerated than you would normally do, but as P explained, you can't really expect your horse to obey a half halt if you don't first teach him what one is! Then--and this was really exciting--we practiced getting a few steps of collection at the sitting trot using seat! It was cool!

I had expressed to P my dissatisfaction over our canter departs and that I wasn't sure of the best way to approach them in training. She said, as I should have expected, "Don't work on them. The canter depart comes from being able to control the stride within the trot. Learn changes within the gait at the trot and from this will spring a lovely canter depart." And we did a couple canter departures using the collected trot stride. And it was an improvement!

Oh.  So, it looks like schooling will consist of lots more work on the sitting trot, so you will see us shifting back and forth...collected-working-collected-working...and then, hopefully, someday a beautiful canter depart will magically appear!

And as promised, a picture of the Insolent Hussy (who is soon to leave the farm, hurrah!) looking oh-so-innocent at moonrise:


  1. Hhhhmmm, very interesting info about the canter departures. I'll have to keep that one in mind.
    And, whoa, what a cute Fuzzy Hussy -- no wonder Solo <3s her!

  2. Moonlight is flattering on the ladies. I see why Solo is so smitten.

  3. She sashays and winks for ANYone. Totally shameless...

  4. Sounds like a great productive lesson!

  5. Those grey mares, they're all a bit loose. ;)

  6. Don't worry, the canter departures really do come like magic once you get the trot down. Happened to me and Riz. One day she just went from having a 5 canter to having a 9 canter!

  7. What day was that, l.e., I want to put it on my calendar!

  8. Yeah, you have to have the connection and be able to prepare them, ie with the collected steps, in the trot before you can get it in the transition, as well as the canter depart. Good point to bring up and work on.