It seems that no sooner have I made some progress in my cantering, when something happens, and I find myself right back at square one. No, I didn’t fall off or get hurt. It’s worse. Shaking my head. So, much worse than that. Still shaking my head. I rode a different lesson horse. Shiver. The sensitive one. Now, I don’t know about you, but I suffer from New Horse Syndrome. It’s an affliction that can render me incapable of cantering. Walk, trot, no problem. Bucking, piece of cake. Canter? I don’t think so.

Fast Forward

Pick up a 20-meter circle at C. Make sure she’s connected and moving forward. Okay

Canter when you’re ready. Can’t, er, what?….not ready.

Take a deep breathe and ground your feet in the stirrups. Tense. Stretching inside leg downwards.

Asking for canter. Yuck! Bad.

You may need to very lightly touch her with your whip. WHAT! whip???…nu-huh…not happening.

Okay, sit and canter when you’re ready. Trying. Squeezing with legs…death grip…can’t…open hips…can’t, er, what?


Remember use talking, breathing legs. Don’t grip! Ha…can’t…control…it.

Asking again. Falling forward. Deep breathe. Push her into it. Breaking stride. Lost it!

Trust yourself and your balance! Don’t…trust…her.

Asking again. Sit back. Move hips.

Hips to hand! Lost it. Aaaaaargh! What’s wrong with me!

Don’t worry about it. This is your first lesson on this horse. You have the same cantering issues every time. You don’t know her or trust her. This is the best riding I’ve seen you do, ever, or in a long time. In a trot you kept her connected on a circle, around the arena, and across the diagonal! (More on this later.) You should be happy! How do you feel?

I’m frustrated and on the verge of tears!

What?! Why? What are you frustrated about?

I can’t control my body! My arms. My legs. Sniff.

For what it’s worth you looked great!


I need to push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to become a real dressage rider. Only then will I be able to canter up to the next level. No one ever said that this journey would be an easy one.

One canter stride forward and two strides back.

(Disclaimer: In my defense I seem to have carried some emotional baggage into this lesson. I was very emotional before it even started and in a blue funk all week. Don’t know why so I’m blaming it all on menopause. Thanks for the pep talk Mom!)