Right now, everyone is cantering! Sydney is cantering to the right, sort of, and Speedy is counter cantering. Somehow, both my boys ended up needing canter work at the same time. Speedy's canter work is proving to be way more fun, though!
Thanksgiving break, all four and a half days of it, was filled with the most perfect riding weather possible. And that's what I did, ride. Both boys (plus my BO's boy) were out every day for rides. We haven't been that consistent since summer. Normally, both boys get ridden three days a week, but five days straight (including Wednesday) was like boot camp!
Knowing that Speedy can get a bit ring sour if worked too many days in a row, I changed up his work each day so that it was fun and exciting. We did lots of 10-meter figure eights, figure eights on a large rectangle, and lots of other changes of direction. During all of that, I worked on the counter canter as it is the one exercise that has really seemed to improve the quality of Speedy's canter work.
On Saturday, he gave me some of his best work ever. I am so pleased with how he is holding the counter canter for longer and longer. I started a couple of weeks ago with a very shallow loop down the long side. Each ride, I made the loop bigger and bigger until it was a full serpentine.
I love how he has figured out that when we return to the "correct" bend he needs to rebalance. I can feel him really rock back and lift his front end to return to the correct bend. None of this work is perfect, of course, but he's learning how to hold the canter lead AND bend in the direction of travel without falling on his forehand. His "try" has been amazing!
I am really looking forward to the 2014 show season. Our scores might not wow! anyone at First Level next year, but I know he's trying. That's worth a lot to me!