Izzy doesn't always come out of his stall ready to work on my agenda; he sometimes has an agenda of his own. That's what happened last Tuesday. I really wanted to work on the right lead canter since I hadn't been able to work on it since our lesson three weeks ago (we were out of town the weekend before last). He was simply too distracted. Instead we schooled the left lead and worked on changes of direction.
On Thursday, I was on a totally different horse. He was actually feeling a bit lazy and required a pony club kick to get a trot.
If you haven't been following our struggle with the right lead canter, you can watch the video that I shared last week.
We didn't make any kind of circle, and my half halts weren't getting through, so we ended up careening around the arena a few times as I vainly tried to get his neck to move. As long as I kept him counter bent, he held the lead, but that's not a long term solution. We picked up the lead several times and held it, but he was stuck on his forehand.
I brought him back to a walk and told him how awesome he is. We then worked on the left lead canter of which he is quite proud. That gave him some confidence and made him feel like he was pretty hot stuff. We tok another walk break and then went back to the right. To my delight, he easily picked up a right lead canter that actually had a bend. We even made a 20 meter circle or two and both lived to tell about it.
I brought him back to walk and praised him like he'd just won gold. I called it a day with that. I use a chronometer when I ride to keep myself from riding too long. A 30 minute ride means we got the job done. Longer, and I know we struggled. This ride took us 24 minutes - I was thrilled with how quickly he settled and got the job done.
I am hoping that switch clicked - maybe we've installed a right lead canter!