I took a lesson last night. It was hot and steamy, but Tonka worked hard. He’s giving me gorgeous elastic trot strides, but his canter is still flat. To teach him how to push off his hind end, my trainer, Kim Litwinczak, had us do leg yield at the canter. (For this, Tonka goes sideways and forward at the same time, which requires him to engage his hocks.) Within that exercise, at the moment that Tonka did an elevated canter stride, Kim marked it with a click (she uses one of
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Except last night, when I literally dropped the ball.
Tonka caught sight of it heading into the dirt.
My horse gave me a look and I swear he said, I can put jump into my canter, and you’re not coordinated enough to hand me the peppermint? Well, what are you waiting for, get off and get it!
Fortunately for me, I could stay in the saddle while Kim retrieved the treat and fed Tonka.
All was forgiven.
We then repeated the canter leg yield a few more times and Tonka, now knowing what I was after, gave even bigger and better canter strides. At that point, drilling the exercise over and over can dull the enthusiasm. So, after Kim clicked for an especially good canter stride, I decided to end on a good note. We stopped, I jumped off, and I carefully handed Tonka a peppermint. Lesson over. Satisfied horse.
Here’s a video of that. As we move away from the wall in the leg yield, Tonka’s shoulder frees up and his hocks have more articulation. I could feel the good stride, and Kim could see it. Can you? It’s subtle!
That ‘what in tarnation’ look on his face in the 2nd photo! I feel you, Tonka. haha
“Get off and get it” it exactly what he is saying in the third picture! Took me a few times of watching the video, but I did see the change in stride.
The video is taken at a difficult angle to see it. Notice the super trot to canter transition. That was helped by first trotting over poles.