I can't remember if I wrote a few weeks ago about the pony cantering. I've been working on voice commands on the lunge so that when it is time to canter under saddle, she'll have a voice aid that she'll recognize and it will cue her to canter (since she won't yet know what the leg and seat aids are). Since we started back to work a few weeks ago, her canter has been a bit on the crazy side on the lunge line. Going right she'd canter just fine. Going left, she'd buck and fart and leap in the air. Since I had seen her do a slip and slide in the bad weather, I figured something must be ouchy or out so I called the chiropractor.
Pony had her first chiropractic last week and she was a little out so she had a nice therapy session and then a couple days off.
I rode her on Saturday and she was so great!
I started with my usual pattern. A bit of ground work, some light lunging, some long lining, then ride. During the ground work, I even rubbed her all over with my piece of tarp and she stood there quietly - even while I did her legs, belly, and butt! She was perfect for everything we did. And her canter was easy and quiet and so I was feeling brave when I got on.
We did a bit of walk and trot work in each direction, working on some nice big serpentines and changes of direction. I figured I'd give it a go. We trotted, trotted faster, and I could feel it in there (the willingness to canter), so I gave her the voice command, along with a kissing sound, and she picked up the canter! Going left, she picked up the right lead, so I let her break after a few strides and gave her much, much, much praise (for her first canter, all I care about is that she did it, not what lead she was on). We had a little break and then trotted some to the right, I asked for the canter and she picked it up much more quickly and was on the correct lead, so we held it for almost a lap and we came back down to a trot then walk. Lots and lots more praise. I called it a day at that and we went for a walk in the back on the trail.
When we got back, I was untacking her in the arena and after I pulled her saddle off, she was playing with some training stuff I have up on a ledge. She pulled off the rope (roping rope) and scared herself a little bit, so I picked it up and swung it around. She didn't care. So I played a little more and "roped" her with it. She actually seemed to enjoy the attention and just stood there. I "roped" her again and led her around by her neck and she followed me. We had some nice quiet pony chillin' time.
What a great ride and fun pony day!