Today Tia and I worked on the counter canter off of the half turn. She has been getting anxious about the canter departures because I have been insisting that she do them from the walk. She gets extremely flustered and picks up the wrong lead from the walk – which almost never happens from the trot. This video shows us struggling to pick up the left lead canter – lots of fast trotting and trying to calm her down to start again. I noticed that my legs are REALLY REALLY far in front of me, my right leg is actually, fully in front of the girth! This is a big no no. I feel as though I never had this problem during my junior showing years, and I haven’t had a trainer comment on it when I was showing on the IHSA circuit. The only thing that has changed recently is the saddle. I am grateful that the saddle fits Tia so well, but I’m hoping that I will be able to afford one that fits us both once I sell my Beval.
For now I guess I won’t beat myself up about it – because as much as I try to bring my leg back, that spot is the narrowest and it’s where the saddle wants my leg. I also noticed that my upper body is too far forward in the downward transitions, and my hands are too close to my lap. Time to shorten those reins a bit!
Once Tia counter cantered around the whole ring in each direction I let her be done and trot out on a long rein. She did her job well and while it would have been nice to work on the haunches in while she was a little hotter than usual, I wanted her to know that she did the right thing and she was being rewarded for it. I had a feeling that she would pick up the counter canter quickly – I never guessed that we would be able to do it around the whole ring after only a few times of trying it.
I’m working towards our first event next month. I have always been a hunter/jumper gal – but I’m willing to try something new, and I think that working on dressage and x-c as well as stadium can only help us towards our long term goals. The trainer at the eventing barn where I board Tia has suggested that we do the maiden division. The jumps will be very small (2′ – 2’3″) and the dressage test will be simple so I hope that it will be an easy outing that will give Tia confidence and give us a chance to jump a new course.