I feel like my relationship with Cricket has become a long road stretching for miles in front of me. There is simply no end to what we can accomplish.
As I headed out to the barn I started thinking about cantering. I'm not trying to psych myself up to do something for which I'm truly not prepared. I am trying very hard to get out of my head and to trust my seat and my horse. I'm not in a rush but I am tired of dragging my feet.
Today my plan was to continue our Touch It and Figure 8 and move quickly on to riding. Cricket was much more in-tune with Touch It so I kept it very short with only two touches. I moved to the Figure 8 and asked Cricket to put some energy into it. She offered some fantastic cantering and two FLC from right to left. She was sassy and energetic but quick to relax and offer a L&C when I turned the game off.
Riding was a little more aimless than I would have liked. There were too many people in the arena and not everyone has what I call "arena etiquette." So we moseyed around doing some CS riding at the walk and trot. We followed the rail a bit and did a bit of Figure 8. She pooped in the arena and I used that as an exercise in "we have a job to do." When that was finished I decided to ride with reins - still freestyle but sans stick.
I picked up the bowtie pattern and she was a little rushy but relatively responsive. With a bit of a "now or never" thought, I asked for the canter. She pinned her ears and gave me a rushy trot. No worries, stick to the pattern and ask again. We went through it several times and WE CANTERED. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't anything to win awards. But it was canter and it was freestyle. She gave me two or three decent canters to the right but only some jumpy steps to the left.
That pretty much ended the session. What more could I ask? We finished with some liberty grazing in the lush field.
An unexpected bonus from our riding sessions is she seems more connected to me at liberty. Hmm, how intersting!