Trotting is nice. It beats walking (and, of course, hand walking) any day. Cantering, however, is fantastic.
Dr. B came out today to x-ray Kaswyn's knee again to see how the injury was doing. I had to work, but I got a report from my trainer. She said that there was new bone growth in the area, which means that it's filling in and healing like it should. I was given the green light to canter, but only two laps in each direction.
Our work at the trot has been pretty good the last few rides. My horse is harder to ride than I remember... either that or I'm just really out of shape. It's not as tiring physically as it is mentally. With Kaswyn, any unblanced moments in my seat translate into his uneven strides. So I have to concentrate on being balanced and even in my riding at all times. Which is not easy at all, espeically since I've been out of serious riding and training for longer than he's been out of work due to the birth of my second daughter. Last week I had a terrible ride on Kaswyn and my trainer was trying to help me by telling me that I was collapsing my left side. Try as I might, I couldn't fix it that day. But since then I've added "stretch left side longer" and "left leg long and down" to my constant mental soundtrack while riding. Some of the others are "loosen the poll", "slow the posting", "more push from behind", and the list goes on.
Kaswyn has always had problems with an unblanced trot. We discovered early on that the balance issues, along with stiffness through the left side and longitudinal suppleness issues, were improved greatly by cantering. It seemed to help my horse loosen areas of his pelvis and neck, and also built his body up without having to struggle with balance issues in the trot. Suffice it to say I was looking forward to cantering for many reasons.
Even though it was only four laps of the arena, it was wonderful. Nice canter departs both directions, steady rhythm, plus a bonus of Kaswyn sitting and carrying a little bit on his own without being asked. He tired quickly, but I don't think it was too much.
Now starts the slow uphill climb of adding more work each week. What will stay the same is going into Kaswyn's stall before grooming him and checking that left front for swelling. And holding my breath those first few trot strides of the day, anxious about the lameness returning.