Dually used to have a tendency to 4 beat in the canter sometimes when the work got hard, a bad habit we always lovingly referred to as 'trantering.' Well the Dude can rest easy now in his rehab, because I've found a horse that picks up the tranter where Dually left off and elevates it to new forms of glory. That horse is, of course, my new western friend Chulo. Chulo acts like there is no greater glory on this green earth than achieving that perfect balance between trotting behind and awkwardly loping in front.
(Chulo and I touring the dressage ring... we felt a little out of place)
Unfortunately for him, I do not agree with his lofty views on this subject. I DESPISE trantering, especially because it makes me feel even more awkward in the already strange (but weirdly comforting and secure) confines of a western saddle. So, in my past few rides with Chulo (or, as I like to call him, 'Churro'... mmmm, delicious =D), we've been doing a lot of transitions and big circles in what Chulo has informed me in no uncertain terms is a WILD GALLOP (aka a 3 beat canter). Once I get him forward I can actually work on getting him slower, more collected, and more correct for a rail horse. It's a process, but I'm having so much fun! Plus my thighs are getting an epic workout from trying to keep me with the crazy motion of his tranterlope.
(He's so cute!! Plus every time I pull out my camera he automatically starts posing: good pony)
I've also come to appreciate the beauty of a good jog. At first I thought it was just boring and the equine equivalent of watching paint dry, but now I sort of get the zen enjoyment that it can bring. Yeah, it's never going to be as fun to me as a big extended canter or tempis or going out for a gallop, but it's also a pretty nice way to view the scenery, especially since you spend a lot less time trying to stay with the motion of the horse (or in my case with dressage, hanging on for dear life and trying to survive) and a lot more time thinking or watching the world go by. I'm digging it.
(Yes I know I'm holding the reins wrong - we were hacking out at this point and I was just trying to do whatever I could to not drop one of the split reins on the ground)
In my extremely brief western experience (I think I just broke the barrier yesterday of being able to count my total western rides with two hands) I've only ever ridden WP/rail horses. I was talking to one of the western riders at the barn this morning and she was getting me really excited about the idea of doing cow horses or reining and getting to experience the faster side of the western world.
(I'm looking pretttty English with my GPA, Tailored Sportsmans, and Ariat tall boots, but at least I've got the rowel spurs to play the part with!)
This is what I love most about horses: there are just so many ways to have a great time! The older I get, the more I realize that my experiences with horses touch on just a tiny fraction of the many different disciplines, breeds, and styles of riding that exist out there. I want to experience them all! Maybe some day... =)