Sunday, June 14, 2015

Counter Canter

InterDressage changes the tests that are part of the virtual "show" each month.  Last night the tests for  July were posted.  This gives me about a month to perfect the test.  I like the format -- a different test keeps us from getting bored and focuses us on a different set of skills each month.  Of course, I always start with the basics and don't do anything else unless we are grounded.  The Intermediate test for July includes 10m trot circles (no worries there), walk-canter transitions (we nail that) and counter canter (gulp).

The test requirement is to pick up the canter, half circle at E, return to the rail going the opposite direction and hold the counter canter through the corner, down the short side, through the next corner, and then transition down to trot.  Lucy and I have done some counter canter, but not a lot.  Honestly, we've been focused on canter without tension this past year.  We have that solidly now about 90% of the time.  I've done a bit of counter canter on the long side; going out to the quarter line and then counter canter back to the rail.

I gave the test pattern a try this morning to get a baseline.  I have no expectation of getting this "show-worthy" by July 15, but it will be our focus this next month nonetheless.  We started with the right lead.  Lucy held the counter canter through the first corner, but it was difficult for her.  A stride down the short side and she lost it.  No worries.  All I wanted was try.  We changed direction and picked up the left lead.  She wasn't sure.

This feels wierd.
I know, hang in there.
I want to change.
No, hold it.  You can do it.
Like this?  It still feels strange.
Yes, just like that.  You are the smartest mare ever.
Another corner.  Must concentrate.  Must not break.
You did it Lucy!  You did it!  I am so proud of you!!

We walked around on the buckle for a few minutes and then called it a day.


  1. Counter canter sounds difficult, for sure. Good luck with that and everything else you are practising. About the feather: The morning after we buried Soldier, you may remember him, a dog I loved so much, who suffered a lot of pain, but was so very brave. The morning after we buried him, I found four raptor feathers outside our front door. I knew then he was OK. He had died a horrible death of bloat, so it felt good to know he was now at peace. I didn't know about the Native American belief, but after you told me, it makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

  2. I love your (inner dialogue) conversations with Lucy. It really takes me back to my riding days and makes me miss (and appreciate) times I had with my childhood horse.

    Or would inter dialogue be a better way to describe it.

  3. Good mare, indeed! Love the conversation - it's exactly like that.

  4. Flurry : Counter canter is haaaaaaard mom (as he breaks into trot on the first corner)
    Aero : I haven't tried it with him yet but he used to do it quite nicely with my daughter.
    It's a worthwhile exercise no matter what, it helps improve balance apparently, so it will be on my ToDo list for when we have a rideable arena again.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.