I rode this dressage school master yesterday. Since it was my 3rd lesson on him, my instructor agreed to let me canter him. I prepared myself by sitting up straight, adjusting rein length, looking for a good spot to ask for the canter depart. I decided that when I arrived at letter “C” I would ask for the canter from the walk. Before I arrived at my designated spot, he picked up the canter! How in the world did he know that I wanted to canter? It was only my 3rd time riding him and I had not cantered him before so there was no way he could have anticipated it from previous experience. Did he hear the word canter when I asked my instructor about it? Do horses, eves drop on conversation?
I’m used to horses anticipating based on previous experience/classical conditioning, but that wasn’t the case with this horse. Unless perhaps by random chance, his previous rider picked the letter “C” for their canter departs? I’m just blown away by how smart this horse is.