Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Learned to Canter Today

Trot work, including lateral work, extensions, collection etceteras comes very easy for both Delphi and me. We have historically struggled however with canter work, both separately and together. I had a canter breakthrough in our lesson with Karen today. At the beginning of the lesson Karen gave me some insider theory concerning how best to ride the canter. Karen's seat at all gaits is impeccable, and particularly so at canter-- other top trainers such as Lurena Bell and Jeff Moore have noted this also. So, in considering the way that she-Karen- rides the canter, she came up with a simplified version of how she sits for canter:

by pressing your elbows down toward your thighs, keeping your elbows firmly and stably attached to your torso, you create and maintain the rhythm of the canter from the balls of the feet upward by sitting in such a way that you let yourself get pulled into the saddle. Be sure to maintain the canter rhythm to prevent your seat from popping out of the saddle, and you can give and take the reins while still maintaining your elbows pressing firmly down.

Note how firmly my elbows are attached to my core:

Here we see Delphi's relative elevation improve and though my elbows remain firmly down I could sit more securely by letting myself get pulled into the saddle:

Delphi maintaining self carriage and collection and me maintaining upright posture, core, and elbows down; a true feat for us in canter!
Photos, theory, and training courtesy Karen Brown.