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She's Not a Baby Anymore!

Early spring saw some immediate changes in how Ellie carried herself and our dressage work started to truly improve.  There had been times last year where flat work felt like a fight and I wondered to myself if she was ever going to just relax and listen to me haha.

Thankfully, as the title suggests, Ellie has suddenly grown up in front of my eyes.  We have had some really stellar lessons lately, where I feel like I am suddenly able to make things click.  We also had an incredibly frustrating dressage lesson a few weeks ago where Ellie was in rip-roaring peeing heat (not normal for her) and we worked through 45 minutes of her refusing to bend right.  So, ya know, as much as she is improving, she is still an opinionated redheaded mare!  ;-)

But, I have to give her credit because she is really working her little butt off for me!  Sadly, I had not been able to schedule in a jump lesson before our first three-phase, which led to me riding her ridiculously backward at a slow trot the entire …

Canter Progress

Like any Standardbred, it has taken time and patience with Snappy to develop her canter.  She is physically able to canter but what is holding her back is her mental block about the gait.  She raced until she was twelve years old, and I even trained and raced her under saddle (at a trot), so it was quite ingrained in her mind to never canter, just trot as fast as possible, even under saddle. She is honestly scared of the canter, as she was trained as a young horse that any time she moved into that gait, she was hit in the mouth hard with the reins/bit.  

Last summer I wrote about her current canter, which wasn't much as I wasn't really pushing the issue.  Back then, her left lead was stronger, her upwards transitions were horrid, and she could barely hold her right lead to go an almost full 2o m. circle.  After the canter, she forgot how to trot, bend, or relax and I had to go directly from a canter to a walk for her brain to settle down.




Thankfully, much has changed so far this year.  While her left lead is still stronger, she can canter 3-5 times around a 20 m. circle now in both directions without issue.  I would say her transitions are still pretty explosive, but she can now come back to a trot without losing her shit.  And her trot afterwards is pretty decent.  I just need to clean up the transitions and the first 2-3 strides and I think we could handle an Intro C test for sure, maybe a Training 1.  

The following three photos are an accurate representation of our current trot-canter transitions.  She throws her head, leaps into the gait, and then relaxes.



Current upwards explosion, errr, transition



 Then she decides to trust me and to trust herself, and she settles down into this.
Ohhhh, I CAN canter like a normal horse!


Her trot work after the canter is improving in quality as well.  Hopefully, it will only be a matter of more time, more patience, and more confidence before her canter comes together into a dressage worthy gait!  I'd like to think we could try an Intro C test this fall, but maybe I will wait until next spring.  It all depends on Snappy.  We shall see!  :-)





Comments

  1. Aw what a good girl! It must fee great to see her finally trusting herself to reach out and try!

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