This was some great advice from my trainer in our last lesson.
Horses can be lazy in different ways. Some are obviously lazy as in you have to push, push, push to get them moving faster than a crawl. This is not how Loki is lazy but I am discovering that he does have a bit of a lazy streak in him. Loki has somehow sucked me into the fine art of carrying his front end around half the time!! The little rascal.
Seriously, I have been sucked in to holding Loki up way too much. This is how it works. We are going along at a nice trot we're even rounding a bit and stepping through when I notice that my reins get a bit heavy so I give a little half-halt and then let go a bit and Loki speeds up. Basically it is hold me up or I will get fast. Same thing with the canter.
So during my last lesson my trainer had me just completely drop him when he sped up from trot to canter. I let him keep cantering until all the sudden he realized, hey this is a lot of work and wanted to slow down at which point I said "no way Jose!" I made him canter a little bit longer and then asked him to come back down to the trot and got him at the pace I wanted and asked him to stay there. We repeated this exercise a few times before he finally started to get it.
I rode him again today and he was much much better at the canter. I am getting much better at not letting myself get sucked into holding him up. I just let him go and at the canter he just stayed at a very nice rhythm. The trot still not so much. We will continue to work on that.
Also just a thank you to everyone who offered advice on the saddle searching. I told my trainer I was not going to buy her saddle and I am back to riding in my old saddle. Having ridden in the other saddle for a while I was more aware of my saddle's shortcomings. But, now that I am more aware of them I am more able to counteract them. Basically I have to constantly remind myself not to grip with my knees or "knees off!" I think we will be okay in it for a while longer, at least until I finally find something better.
Anyways, We had a great week for the 4th but I've gotten very behind in emails, blogs and life in general. Hopefully I'll catch back up here soon!