Monday, June 20, 2011

When he was good, he was very, very good...

... and when he was bad, he was horrible!*

Yesterday I had another ride on Taran. We took a nice ride over to the old arena, making sure to step on Every. Manhole. Cover. on the street on our way there (Taran tends to give them the old hairy eyeball). Once we arrive, MC and my SIL went to walk around for a bit while I got some actual work out of Taran. We went off at a rather fast trot, but I let him go forward since he wasn't inclined to be silly.

Having seen my awful eq pics from last week, I concentrated on keeping my upper body forward, elbows in, and hands together. I was feeling pretty solid with my position but of course don't have any pics to prove it!

Eventually I asked Taran to balance and slow a bit, and he was responsive to my requests. Once again we worked on stretching his neck and topline out and forward without snatching the reins or carrying his head in a fake frame. I asked for slow steps and big steps, and lots of changes of direction. He tended to want to pop his right shoulder until I noticed I was floating my right hand, so easily corrected. It was very nice trot work and I was happy with the way he was going.

After a walk break, I got him back together into the trot and then asked for the canter, right lead... and then the horrible side came out. He did a big buck, and then went around bucking with pretty much ever canter stride. Well not exactly bucking, but you know how they hop around with their head up? Fun times. I was yelling at him "No! NO! BAD TARAN! BAD!" and am pretty sure I woke up the neighbors. He broke to the trot and I asked for another canter with the same result, minus the big buck to start with. I pushed him through it but he was almost non-stop with the hopping crap. That's very unlike him, so I brought him down to a walk and checked him over to make sure he didn't have a burr on his leg or something else annoying him - nothing. We went back to the trot and it was once again very nice, but as soon as I asked for a canter (other direction), same hopping issue. I rode through it for half a circle, then decided I didn't want to get dumped in the dirt and went back to a trot. We finished with some so-so trot work and then called it a day.

I checked him over back home and he was fine, so I'm at a loss as to what caused the canter issue. I even took him out last night to longe him (saddle-free) and he was pretty good. He did throw in a few half-hearted hops at the beginning but then settled down to nice canter work, both directions. Maybe I had the saddle too far forward? I'm not sure. We'll try again tonight or tomorrow (if it's not 105 at 7 pm) and see if the issue resurfaces. I sure hope not - I have no desire to get myself bucked off. I'm too old for that stuff!

* Pardon the poetic license.

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