Most people have a mental list of things that they would like to do before they die. I have a list of things that I’d like to do on horses before I die.
1. One tempi changes – These are flying changes of lead every stride. It looks like the horse is skipping across the arena. Right now I’d just like to get my horse cantering civilized. We’ll worry about the fancy stuff later.
2. Canter pirouettes – Start cantering and then pivot around the hindlegs without losing the rhythm. Very cool.
3. Passage – A very collected and elevated trot. I did this once. I took Prize on a trail ride and she had to go up a hill. She didn’t know how to use her hindlegs to push up the hill so she started to collect up. I’m thinking, “She’s going to bolt!” But she started to passage up the hill. Totally inappropriate but very cool. Someday I’d like to do it on purpose.
4. The western trail horse freeze – This one doesn’t have a real name so I made that up. This is on the other end of the spectrum from the three dressage moves above. Open trail classes are obstacle courses for horses. Western horses glide through these courses in slow motion. Their riders can stop them in any position by just sitting back and saying whoa. Growing up I thought that was the coolest thing because I had a horse that required the length of a football field to stop. But now I have a horse who loves the word whoa. Friday I was practicing the freeze. Ok, it was at a walk over one pole but I could sit back say whoa and she would freeze with her front feet over the pole. Then I would giggle because it was just so cool. My trainer thought I was nuts but he makes a living with horses who know the freeze so the thrill is probably gone. I didn’t want to explain that he was watching a dream come true because he would have really thought I’d gone insane. I can’t wait to be able to do it at the trot and canter. She’ll never move slow like a western horse but that will make the freeze just that much more dramatic.