We've been working on Cici's right lead canter. I can see she really thinks about it. The left lead is right there, but when she starts to canter right lead there is a momentary hesitation - she even skips sometimes if she starts to strike off with the left front. Clearly it has become a mental issue more than physical. I've been posting daily on PC but want to collect my thoughts here.
And each day we've been playing with it it has become better. She still seems to exaggerate - over reaching with her right leg - but she is putting the pieces together. And I am getting better at setting her up for success by paying careful attention to my send and making sure she crosses over in front when going to the right and not falling forward. Proper preparation in the correct position - guess that goes for both of us.
Today we play in the outdoor ring. It is finally clear of snow, ice and trailers (parking lot for most of the winter). And the weather is in the 40s. I take it nice and easy as the outdoor ring is where Cici likes to blow off steam. She can quickly turn into a RBE and race around leaping in the air, snorting like a dragon.
Yo-yo for a while. Want to improve her backing. Her draw is fine. Its those feet of hers. Although when Avery was on the end of the line I noticed that Cici backed up very nicely. Hmmm. Well then send her out on the circle. She is a bit dragging so changes of direction to get her thinking about me. Then changes of direction as her head starts to get high and she starts to trot faster.
When I think she is ready I ask for right lead canter. I watch her collect, round her back, and go into a right lead gallop. A beautiful right lead it is indeed. Find myself just admiring her as she is galloping around, okay with a few leaps in the air thrown in for good measure. But her movement is fabulous. And she is keeping that right leg out front beautifully as she settles in. Also she is not pulling on the rope. Right lead gallop on the circle with slack in the line. Go figure.
I'm just admiring her as she goes around - no thoughts of RB or LB or if I should ask for change direction or bring her in or ask her to keep going. Just admiring my golden girl. She looks so different outside (as opposed to in the indoor under artificial light) in the soft defuse light (its going to start snowing soon).
When I reengage my thinking mind I ask for change of direction and as she listens to me finally bring her in. Her head is up but her nostrils are only slightly contracted. Hmmm means she is more LB than RB that this was more exuberance than unconfidence. Also she is not hyperventilating. As she does whenever Avery is around LOL.
I wait for a lick and chew. She lowers her head a bit but its not happening. I ask her to back. I just wiggle my finger and she shakes her head at me. I wiggle my finger and she blows her nose at me, shakes her head again, licks chews lowers her head and snorts several times.
Falling leaf and Ss patterns for a while. Sideways. More backing. Then back to the circle. Few changes of direction to keep her head down and when she is going to the right and trotting around softly I ask for the upward transition into a beautiful relaxed flowing right lead canter. No hesitation. No thought. It is right there.
I love this program. Thank you Pat and Linda. I love it when I can see what is going on, know what to do about it, do what needs to be done and Cici turns into my Princess.