Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Snappy Canter Transitions

Summer is zipping by.

This may seem especially true thanks to having a full time job, the garden beckoning on weekends, afternoon thunderstorms, the Beijing 2008 Olympics inviting us all to stay glued to our computers and televisions, and BBQs.

Actually, what more could one want? :-)

Thanks to engine troubles, we failed to get to the University of New Hampshire August dressage show. We were ready. But without wheels, we stayed home. Instead, I weeded the garden.

Meanwhile, Piper's canter work continues to improved in leaps and bounds. (Occasionally including leaps and bounds.) He now transitions into canter immediately upon feeling an outside leg aid. His transitions feel snappy. Whether from the trot, the walk, or a halt, he now fully understands that the canter aid means "canter now". Instead of me giving the aid and thinking, "okay, he'll start cantering... now... or maybe now... or, OH, there's the canter!", we just go into canter. And it's a good canter. Forward, round, obedient.

The difference in Piper's understanding and response is one difference between Training Level (UK Preliminary Level) and First Level (UK Novice Level). Snappy, obedient responsiveness to the aids is expected at First Level.

This little difference is a big step for me, the rider. Instead of feeling like I'm tactfully training & navigating a green horse, I now I feel like I'm in partnership with an up & coming dressage horse.

It's a small thing. It's a big thing.