Warning: really lacking in media until the very end
I had a lesson this Monday with my instructor and told her about our awesomely delicious post-warmup trot that we've been getting, and also told her about our horrendous-trainwreck canter.
She decided we'd skip canter work for the bulk of the ride and just work in the trot. I've been doing a lot of two-point practice and it came in handy this time! She actually set up a small cross-rail and then converted it to a small vertical (I'm talking reallllly small, but baby steps!). We were to trot to it, myself in two point. Right before the jump she asked me to do a crest release (a phrase I've often read, but never myself learned or performed). It was a bit robotic feeling, but she said timing comes with lots and lots of practice, and given this was our first official crest release - she was going along for the ride with us ;) We did that both ways at both jump configurations about 3 times. It felt good! He was interested, but not rushy or pushy. In fact, I'd say he was a super good boy. She actually said multiple times how good he was, and to "never sell that horse". Yeh --- I won't. Not ever. :) <3
Eventually, the time came to show her the canter. I bemoaned her having to see such an ugly sight, but she pushed it "I'm here to see the ugliest thing you have to offer!". She's right, I know, but ya know... my pride. ;)
She watched for about 1/2 of the arena and told me to stop him. She think he's out behind and could do with an adjustment and massage (he has one scheduled for this coming Monday). She also mentioned him being due for a trim, which yes, he was! He actually got trimmed on Tuesday, so hopefully that helps as well. Annnnd - she mentioned that the narrowness of the arena might be making him a bit sore and backed off (sound familiar, Emma?).
She mentioned if she hadn't seen his canter look differently than the way it looked now, she'd just think it was a sticky, pony canter, but since she's seen him cantering in his full canter-glory, she knows that isn't the issue. She said he looks stiff and sticky behind, which is exactly how he feels. We cantered both directions, not to torture him, but just to get a baseline for both directions. She said I rode the canter about as well as I could given he clearly wasn't feeling good about it. Suggested lots and lots of trot work before any canter work and that when I canter let him just go along on a loose rein, make sure to let go with the inside rein, and for only short amounts of time.
So, Gavin is getting a little mini-break. I've been busy at work, so it's perfect timing. I'm going to ride him lightly Friday and Saturday, bathe him on Saturday (what, whaaaaaaaat?!?!?! 70 and sunny in February?!?), and do a very late clipping on Sunday (the heavy pony coat + the unusually high temps = hot and sweaty mess).
And just to throw some pics in - here are some of me in my show duds. I have a pretty much full show outfit now - having bought two VERY discounted Asmar Equestrian shirts (thanks for the tip, T!). Now I just need to get to showing! (don't mind the messy room, I know I don't!)
Jacket - Horseware Competition Jacket, Breeches - Kerrits, Boots - Tredstep Raphael (my calves are too fat, but you can't tell that here), Shirt in first two pics - Asmar Equestrian show shirt, Shirt in last pic - Ariat short sleeve show shirt, Belt - Hunt Club. Weeeee! All the horsey things!