I had a fantastic schooling ride on Sydney on Monday afternoon. My pre-ride feeding strategy seems to be working as his Food Alert (coined by Erica) mechanism is not being activated. I hopped right on him and worked for a full 30 minutes without a single evasive maneuver. Except.
You knew there had to be one. Sydney wasn't being naughty. He's trying very hard, but we've finally hit a clog. Sydney's left lead canter is wonderful. He lifts his shoulders nicely (compared to Speedy G anyway), he's prompt, and he easily stays out on the circle. The right lead on the other hand is not so great. I wish I had the vocabulary to explain what he is doing, but since I don't, I am simply going to describe what it feels like. If you can offer a mechanical explanation, I would love to hear it.
When I cue for the right lead canter, inside leg at the girth/outside leg slightly back, Sydney vaults to the right and slams into my inside leg. It feels as though he's pivoting on his inside hind leg. It feels as though if I let him continue, we would simply do an inside roll back and canter off the other way. It feels as though there is no "bend" to his ribcage.
On both Sunday and Monday I was able to work through the resistance and eventually get a bendier canter that moved off my inside leg. It required a massive amount of effort on my part: I literally used my entire body as a swinging weight to heave him off my leg at every stride. We did many, many trot to canter transitions until he got the trot to canter with a "semi-curved" ribcage. Each time we returned to trot I had to rebalance him (to the best of my ability) before I cued for the canter again. This trot to canter work did help, but I'd like a more cognitive explanation so I am not just heaving my weight around to get him off my inside leg.
I have a lesson tonight and hope that JL gets a chance to see what I am feeling. I'll let you know what she describes.