Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cholula and the canter.

Some of you may know a lot about horses.

Some of you may know very little.
But I bet each and every one of you knows that horses have different gaits. They walk, they trot, they canter, they gallop.

Cholula is special in that her canter didn't come installed.
Ok, that's not entirely true, but it's what I feel like some days. She's a tank. When I say tank I mean she's built like a brick shithouse. I'd apologize for my mouth but frankly, I swear like a sailor. That's just the way it is. That's the best I can convey to you that my horse is a beast. She has been called "mama elephant" "rhinocerous" and "hippoponemus" before.

So anyway, she's a little taller than your average joe (sits right about 16hh) and weighs approximately 1500 pounds. Refer to phrase above.

She's not a draft horse, but she is built like one. Which is to say that her natural build is very well-suited to pulling with her front end. But I ride dressage, damnit, so horse - you are going to push with your hind end.

Anyway, my horse has all of the gaits she's supposed to, but it's hard for her to canter. It IS getting easier as she's worked properly and builds the muscle in her butt and strengthens her back to be able to sit and push. But it's a process. Without someone on her back, she's starting to look great at the canter - effortless, even. When you add a rider, however, she is not so keen on the canter.

I'm telling you all of this because we had our first schooling show of the season this past weekend. My sister rode Cholula in her first test with the canter.

The left lead went something like this: Cue canter, get super fast trot. Cue canter, reinforce with whip. Tail swish. Lift back end. Smack with whip. Buck. Smack again. Canter. Push to keep canter. Smack. Buck, break into trot. Smack with whip. Buck.

And so on and so forth. The right lead was more successful.

She is pretty adorable, no?

Cholula being a very good pony.

And again.
But then she's asked to canter...

That is Cholula's warning face. The ears go back, the tail swishes, she might kick out. Here she is saying "lay off, I'll do whatever I want! *tantrum*"
We say...dear Cholula, that is not an option.

And she essentially gives us the middle finger.
(she's even cute when she's bucking, isn't she?)

Sigh. Mares.

In between their tests and after expending a lot of energy on bucking instead of just cantering.

In conclusion, that is what I did this weekend. I'm working furiously to catch up in the shop so I can do a polish before the end of the week!


Anonymous said...

Hi Jessi, Looks great, and I know how much blood sweat and tears have gone into that canter! I would love to watch you both ride. I havn't ridden for 7 months and miss it! I love the horsehoe necklace you made and wear it often. I bought small horse errings in Berlin and wear them together. Think of you and your sibs often. Good luck and much love, Martha

Fashionably Adorned said...

well they can be stubborn!!! but you will get there! she is super cute when she bucks though but I wouldn't tell her that!! :)