I have been working with Lic on cantering. Just as it was with the walk, jog, and trot, she has been throwing hissy fits about cantering... she'll be going just fine at a trot and when you ask for the canter, she will balk and snarl, and if you hit her with the crop, she will buck. She pulled this a week or so ago at my trainer's house, and finally I put on some blunt spurs and used that to get a canter out of her... I know people say not to use spurs for forward, but we were at the point where nothing else was working.
Since then, I have been working her in a canter, some days she is wonderful, some days she is a cow. Last Friday was one of those days. It's my own fault, really... she cantered several laps both ways, nicely... I brought her down and let her trot, and tried to canter her again... and she just shut down. She started rearing up on me (this is a new habit, my trainer thinks she is trying new evasive maneuvers since bucking no longer works) and reverted back to her nice habit of trying to turn and bite... I was not pleased. At one point, she actually, in one swift motion, reared and turned her head to bite my leg. I'm ashamed to say she got me, too, since I was so focused on not falling or throwing her off balance (I am really not liking the idea of being flipped over on).
So, I called my trainer, and she started again today with another 30 days. Lic was great for her today, willingly cantered both ways, although the left lead is a bit harder for her. She threw a bit of attitude but no bucking. One thing I noticed is that my trainer worked her at an extended trot for quite some time. She explained to me that she wanted a willing, forward trot out of her before the canter, and didn't want to her to always associate trotting with cantering. This makes sense- I need to be more patient and work her longer before I try to canter her. I also am going to take a few English lessons while Lic is in training again- I need to develop my leg strength. Whenever Lic tried to die out or balk on the trainer, she just put a lot of leg on her to drive her forward. When I try to do that, the mare just bucks or rears! (Not all the time, it's getting better, but obviously I still need to work on my riding).
I am very glad the trainer is putting another 30 days on her... I figure we can get her into some good habits at the canter, and then I can take over and work on my position and cues. The trainer thinks Lic can still sense I'm not quite as confident a rider as she is, and is taking advantage of that situation to pull some of her stunts. Hopefully we will get her out of that habit.
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