For the past couple of weeks McKenna and I have had problems cantering. She either gets hoppy in the trot and tries to canter when I don't want her to, or won't go when I ask. When I can get her into it, especially to the left, she braces against my inside aids and twists her head to the outside.
Yesterday our ride was one of our worst yet. I had lunged her for a while, then set out some trot poles. When I got on she was distracted and antsy. We started with some walk trot transitions and every time I would ask for the trot she'd flip her head up and jump forward. So we did many, many transitions. Once she would go forward nicely we went back to the 10 posting 10 sitting exercise we did in our last lesson. When I went to sit, she'd get hoppy and try to jump into the canter. I also did lots of circles and changes of direction to keep her guessing but she never really settled.
We took a walk break and as we came around a corner she took off across the diagonal bucking. She's given me some mini bucks before, but this was way different. I thought I was coming off, but managed to yank her head up and get her stopped. I immediately asked her to back and I could tell that she knew she was in trouble. I walked her forward until she kind of relaxed then got off and lunged her. She ran, and bucked, and ran some more. Once she finally was dragging her head I got back on her. We finished with more trot transitions and some sitting trot.
I sent a somewhat desperate text to my trainer last night asking for a lesson this week as well as making a chiropractic appointment for both McKenna and Buddy for Tuesday. I want to make sure that she's not acting out because she's in pain.
Today when I rode, after a lot of lunging, I had no expectations. There was a horse being lunged at one end of the ring and another being ridden. A lot of activity for the baby horse to deal with, but I figured we would just do some walk trot and keep it low key. McKenna was a rock star. Almost no fussing in our sitting trot, coming on the bit, bending well, and best of all, not caring about the other horses. Once the one horse was done lunging I even braved the canter. She picked it up well, and was almost balanced. She still wants to brace against me but not nearly as bad as before. We were even able to canter while the other horse being ridden was cantering! I think my new plan for our rides is to not have any expectations and assume the worst.