Don't get me wrong. I learn best by applying new learning to situations on my own. It's not necessarily the best way to learn, it's just how I learn.
I gave Carmen friday off and contented myself with just grooming her.
Saturday Cynthia came out and we worked both horses in the ring. I kept focussing on the key points of Johanna:
- slow even breaths
- clear intention
- be sure of what you want
We did some lunge work up and down the ring. There were a few spots that she was a bit hinky about- by the mounting block and the corner right across from the mounting block. I didn't make a big deal about it, I just kept breathing and being sure. She relaxed more and more. When she seemed very calm I allowed her to check out the block and then we headed over to the spooky corner to rest and graze. We then returned to work.
Overall I was quite pleased with both of us. But I knew that the true test was sunday: on that day we were loading up both Irish and Carmen and going to see the saddle fitter.
Sunday dawned gray and bit rainy. I fed the horses and let them out for a bit. Once the truck and trailer were parked up we got the two of them and brought to the trailer.
Now Irish has always been a fabulous loader- I throw the lead line over his neck and he walks on calmly. Except for today. Today he went on half way and then 'nope, not gonna' and he backed off.
'what the heck?" I put the lead line back on and sent him back. He tried to back off and I slapped him on the butt and then closed the butt bar. He then began to fuss and throw himself about.
Carmen was not at all convinced that she wanted to get on if Irish was so upset. I focussed on being calm and breathing just bringing her on. For the me, the trick on trailer loading is to have all the time in the world. She was getting a bit upset so I stopped and gently stroked her nose.
It'll be fine. Don't worry.
And with that she hopped on and stood like a mature horse.
The trailer ride was just over 2 hours but they were fine the whole trip. We took them off and into the indoor arena. Carmen was quite excited and was very nervous about the opening that was halfway up the arena- it was a small observation room. I hooked on her lunge line and just kept working her. And breathing.
Seriously- I slowed my breathing so much I was starting to get lightheaded. Slowly and surely she began to come back to me. I gave her opportunities to come to me and gradually she settled. I had her and I slowly walked off while she followed like a puppy. She then stood at the scary opening with all the calmness of a seasoned horse. I love how quick she learns.
I won't go into all the details but her saddle was adjusted and I rode in it. At first she expected it to hurt and fussed but settled very quickly. I was thrilled with the outcome. I also bought a new bit and she got a new browband- a V-shaped one with bling (heaven help me - I have realized that my fashion choices are much broader with a mare).
We left her and Irish to relax in the indoor for a bit before heading home. they were having fun cavorting around. It was also clear that Carmen was in heat. Nothing like having a stallion visit to jumpstart things.
When it was time to come home Irish walked on and tried to back off again. I broke all the rules but I stood behind him saying 'I don't think so. You keep your ass on that trailer or you have to go over me.' He made the right decision and stayed on. I closed the butt bar.
Carmen was again uncertain and fussed about it for a few minutes. I stopped and took a deep breath. I stood beside and spoke to her. To be honest I don't remember what I said but it was along the lines 'we're going home. I need you to hop on and it will all be fine. Let me know when you're ready'. I then walked on and she followed right behind.
Again both horses were good coming home and the trip was uneventful. So Carmen has learned that she can get on a trailer and go somewhere and it's all fine.
Once home they unloaded quietly and calmly. I let them out into the grass paddock and they dove into the grass.
I was thrilled for my day and can't wait until tomorrow.
|She's filling out nicely too!|