"Be careful, it's a bit windy, he will be very lively; and he's just been clipped so he'll be even worse."
Of course, as usual Master Kai wasn't listening, he was his normal self, slow and plodding! You see Master Kai knows that I can't really ride so he takes over, he knows he can pretty much get away with anything when I'm on him, taking odd mouthfuls of long grass and whatever bush he can reach, whenever I give him even half a chance.
I'm getting better, I'm starting to learn how to read the signs and I'm ready to stop him before his mouth gets anywhere near something tasty. Yesterday, that still didn't stop him grabbing a mouthful of overhead branch, pulling it down, and bashing me over the head with it three times, within a few minutes of setting out.
However I was rather pleased with myself yesterday because I've almost mastered the canter! Well, what I mean is I'm feeling much more comfortable and less "out of control", it's all relative.
I've had a few lessons in the past but have only really cantered for what seemed like a few yards so by the time I'd regained my balance from the transition from trot to canter, it always had been time to stop; yesterday was different. We were heading home through a field that Master Kai knew well; he knew it was on the route home, and he knew that's where he normally cantered, so needed no further encouragement from me!
With Joanna on Sovereign up front, Master Kai was like a coiled spring, there was no transition from trot, he just went from walk to flat out canter in one stride. I didn't have to worry about anything except keeping my balance and getting used to the movement.
I'm still having slight issues banging my crotch on the saddle and would be interested to know if other men have similar problems. Joanna finds it hysterical but can't offer any practical advice but I think I'm getting there. I've just got to keep practicing.
When we were almost home Joanna cantered up a bridleway, thinking that Master Kai with his long stride would only trot behind her, but he broke straight into a very comfortable canter that put me completely at ease. Maybe I really have mastered the canter. Next hurdle will be the gallop, after lots more practicing the canter of course!
Last night I found a site with a good article about Learning to Canter, if you click on this posts title it will take you straight there, the site is http://lorienstable.com and it's really worth a visit.