Thursday, November 10, 2016

Giant leap forward for Odin-kind

Last week a funny thing happened.  I was doing our usual evening post work ride and we moved up into the left lead canter and Odin just cantered around, holding his own body weight up, not diving down onto the bit, not speeding up as we went.....he just cantered.  After multiple laps and circles I came back to trot and wasn't huffing and puffing from the workout keeping him together at the canter usually it.
Downhill cantering over the summer

Huh, I thought, that was a bit unexpected.

So we turned the right and went into the canter again.  And again, he just cantered around like a semi trained creature.  He did not lay on my right leg and counterbend.  He did not fall onto his forehand and hope I would be there to save him (don't worry buddy, I still got you).  He just loped.  After about two laps he did start to lean on my right leg a smidge so I went back to trot.

But the canter has been - and will be for quite some time - a work in progress.  Odin is the most willing horse but his body's ability to execute has been so slow to come along.  We have just been trudging along with lots of transitions and very minute progress for nearly a year.  Then all of a sudden we have this?
Not the same point in time, but lighter cantering from last week

I figured it was a fluke.  But then he repeated it on the next ride.  And the next.  And up to last night when we were stuck in the indoor with 6 other horses and he was still great, even when distracted (he tends to feel the need to protect his space a bit more in the indoor, at least based on last winter).

It would appear we just had a big step forward in our development.  Not that the canter is done by any stretch of the imagination.  Loping on a loose rein is a most excellent development but then we will have to learn to use our back in the canter more, get contact going, and one day actually be able to sit down.

There are also changes in his trot.  Not really the quality, but more the rhythm and effort level from the rider.  Suddenly he seems to find it possible to get into this really lovely trot where he is using himself and holding his own head more than before (not always though, you have to keep the human engaged, otherwise life would be boring!).  I have had 5 or 6 people in the last week be like, WOW he looks amazing.

So it would appear that we had a large increase in strength recently.  Maybe he is finally laying down some muscle instead of throwing calories at just getting bigger.  Maybe it is something else entirely, hell if I know.  But hopefully it is here to stay.

And now we can canter in longer stretches and maybe defeat our lead swapping demons.  Trainer R was like, nice job Odie, you have successfully trained your human to not touch her outside rein in canter.  But that is not going to last!  And in more fun news, the canter upgrade has been long awaited in order to start loping more jumps.  This hopefully means there is going to be some more legit jumping in our future.  He has been jumping the snot out of most everything lately, he must have seen the embarrassing photo we took of him last week.
Really embarrassing.  Trotting jumps away from the gate is the hards

This horse, I am so happy that he is mine.


  1. Go Odie!!! He is so cute and I'm glad all the time and effort is paying off.

  2. Yay for the canter breakthrough!! I just LOVE that feeling of cantering around effortlessly :D

  3. Sometimes they just need to get strong enough! :)