Friday, September 12, 2008

I've made it to the barn three times already this week—Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. It just keeps getting better and better with Cheerios. I LOVE CANTERING!!! It has moved from fear and trepidation to fun and anticipation. How can this be? Since I made the complete commitment to a life as a Parelli Instructor, everything is shifting. What amazes me is how fast things are progressing now. It is speeding up. We went from L1 Purgatory to full-speed ahead and we now LOOK like intermediate L2 on most things—even L3 on a couple of things! (OK so Figure 8 Online still bites it at L1, but it will come).

Then on Wednesday, I had ANOTHER breakthrough. MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR, after the break...

We cantered...


It was my first time EVER cantering bareback on any horse. I almost did it with Wildflower once. I wanted to. My friend had her online and we were in the round pen. I think perhaps we needed to be on the 22' line because she wouldn't pick up the canter at all, just trotted faster and faster and faster.

But this time, ON CHEERIOS, we cantered bareback. Not online—nope. I was riding for real. It was the most amazing experience. We were doing Follow The Rail/Million Transitions. I'd decided to ride bareback for a change and again, told myself I do not have to canter unless I want to. Trotting toward the gate. I'm debating about trying it. Cheerios must have "heard" me. He lifted into three beautiful cantering steps, then transitioned back to the trot nice as you please.

I was over the moon.

It took a few tries before I could do it again "on purpose". At first I was nervous. I'd ask, then tense up, pull back, and grab the handle on the bareback pad. Finally, with the barn manager as my witness, we did it. Probably 12 whole steps of a luscious canter.

No bucks. No problems. Smooth as silk.

It's as if Cheerios has been waiting for me to move past this issue and trust him. Now that I do, we're doing all sorts of things.

Yesterday, saddled, I got a Sideways! That was after doing it with the fence on the 22' several times. Going around to my left then Sideways right is great. Going the other way... argh. I think it's because I'm right-handed, so the stick is in my right hand going to the right and is more natural. In my left hand it feels very... awkward. My new goal, then, would be to switch hands and be more left-sided for awhile until it evens out, right?

Posting is getting easier. So is collecting his trot. FTR is going well. Million Transitions is going REALLY well. The transitions part is L3; what I'm using to communicate is still L1 (casual rein). When I can do it with one stick or two, that's what moves us up. But yes, we have a lovely communication now with walk-canter, canter-halt, canter-walk, walk-trot, trot-canter, trot-walk, halt-backup—all the transitions are getting there. I'm also developing a much lighter feel and using my legs better. Amazing how well he understands me when MY body does what I want HIM to do. :-)

What I'm having trouble with is Figure 8 online. It's drive and draw. But he'll do the next pattern, Weave, just fine. Head scratching, because the Weave is just an expansion on Figure 8... right? Hmmm. Well, now that I've conquered cantering saddled and bareback, I guess I do need something to get help with in the clinic in a month—so I'm thinking right now it's looking like drive and draw, and my own energy. Or maybe we can do a little finesse? I haven't gotten near that yet.

I swear I am almost ready to start cantering the Question Box. We're trotting it better. I'm grasping the concepts of what I need to do. He's getting more relaxed in the pattern. Since I've figured out that he'll pick up the lead I want, I think we can do it.

Flying Lead Changes, here we come!

No comments: