Here's my confession-I don't allow him and I to practice this gait under saddle nearly enough. It's my own neurosis, I 100% admit this. While cantering, it's much easier for horses to bolt, buck, spook...take your pick. At the trot, a horse only has 2 feet on the ground at any given time. At the canter, there are 3, hence the increased chance for silliness.
Despite this, I have vowed, starting this week, that I'm going to trust my boy and work more at his favorite gait. Previous to now, I really did have a legitimate excuse for not doing so much canter work; cantering well takes balance, and balance takes strength. Strength takes time to build. Now, thanks to lots of lunge work, he has plenty of strength to maintain a nice canter under saddle, and the only way to get MORE of that strength, of course, is to canter!
Blah blah blah, obvious, I know. Today though, after doing several transitions, I finally kept us at the canter for a couple laps around the ring. I know this isn't a huge thing to lots of people, but work with me here.
By the end of the 2nd lap, he felt...amazing. You know how horses just "give" you that place to sit, and it feels effortless? Yeah. It was a combination of his balance, straightness, collection and MY relaxation. He was using himself and not pulling himself along on his forehand. I sat up, but let my seat just GO with my horse, instead of having my constant "heels down hands still back straight elbows bent etc" mantra that runs waaay too often in my head. For those 10 strides or so, we were perfect together. It doesn't get better than that feeling:) It's the feeling I used to dream about (literally) when I stopped riding for a few years. It's a hell of an incentive to continue working on the canter, that's for sure!
Now, onto pictures! Behold, Miles one year ago.
I'll never get tired of that face.
Miles did not enjoy posing for this side. I threatened him with real work, like his pal LaShore was doing behind him, if he didn't stand still. He called my bluff:)
This is his only marking of white, besides a small random white spot on his hindquarter. What would you call this? It looks like a Rorschach blot. I know it's technically a star. I shall dub it Miles Exploding Star:) If I squint I also see a dog walking on his hind legs. Make of that what you will.
He also has two uneven swirls, which I understand may signal a hot horse with an uneven temperament. Hahahaha:)