- You'll use the same long side for both canter leads. We used H-X-K.
- Pick up the left lead canter.
- Ride the shallow loop from First 3 (H-X-K).
- In the corner at K, do a canter pirouette and head towards X.
- From X, head back to H on a counter canter, doing the flying change on the quarter line.
- In the corner at H, do a canter pirouette and head towards X again.
- From X, head back to K on a counter canter, doing the flying change on the quarter line.
- And again, repeat the canter pirouette in the corner at K and head towards X.
When Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, came out for a lesson on Sunday, I was just expecting to keep chipping away at the movements we struggle with at Third Level, namely the half passes. Along with that though, Chemaine challenged us in the canter with a new exercise to soften our flying lead changes.
Speedy struggles with the right lead canter more than with the left. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that he wants to fall in on his right shoulder and swing his haunches out. When he does that, he doesn't have to cary so much weight behind. Chemaine has really hammered it home that he has to be in self-carriage all of the time. And now that I know that, I am insisting on it.
While we struggle with the trot half pass, we also struggle with the canter half pass, particularly to the right. Until Speedy is fully willing to carry himself, the work done in the canter - the half passes and the flying changes, will be harder for both of us. Fortunately for me, Chemaine always has a new exercise up her sleeve.
To help Speedy sit down in the canter so that I can prepare for the half passes and flying changes, she had us do a brand new exercise. Be prepared for your brain to hurt a bit.
This exercise could probably be used for a lot of different things, but what Chemaine was helping me do was get control after the flying change. Speedy loves to bolt forward after the change in a big yeehaw moment. After using some big half halts in those corners to really rock him back on his end, he quit pulling some much after the changes. I am surprised you can't really see it on the video, but I was using what felt like big, powerful half halts to get him rocked back off my hands.
So instead of a keep working on it post lesson chat, we were suddenly talking about a USDF show next weekend. in some ways, going way sooner than I had planned makes it easier because I have a lot less time to worry about it.
And really, it's not like we're starting a new level, we showed Third last year, it's just that I am desperate to get that one last score ...