dancing horses

dancing horses

Thursday, August 6, 2015


I love homework.
I know I know. It makes me sound really nerdy (which is probably the truth anyway).

But I love taking a few things away from a lesson and the working on them. It gives me a chance to figure out how to do it by myself.

Carmen and I have been working on a few things:

1. Bending- this is to help her release tension and supple her body. The issue is that she likes to look to the outside (watching for trolls). But as soon as I get her bending inside she softens and relaxes. I find with our rides she bending more and more easily.

2. slowing down- Carmen tends to rush her gaits when she's tense. This puts her over tempo and and makes #1 hard. This is coming along as well. But she's now quite slow. I'm letting that go as long as she's relaxed and simply giving a series of light squeezes to encourage her forward.

3. steady contact- not in a frame but more about maintaining a steady acceptance of the bit. She had the tendency to grab at the bit and root down. Roz had me give a soft squeeze with my legs and tighten my core so that she pulling against herself and not pulling me out of the saddle. this is working - however, she is now going above the bit (which is way better than behind the bit). I'm doing the same thing- gentle squeeze and keeping my hands steady so she can find me.

We're working on transitions and keeping the pace steady. Yesterday I was riding her and it was going pretty well. I asked her to canter and she gave a bit of  buck and then continued trotting. Probably I missed the timing but I thought I was pretty close. I made sure that my hands weren't holding her and that our trot was nice and forward.
Me: and Caaaanter
Carmen: no. *buck*
Me: canter 
Carmen: no * canter 2 strides, buck, switch behind. * See I can't.
Me: let's regroup.
I steadied the trot, this time as I asked her to canter and when she picked it up and I did a series of soft squeezes to keep her leaping forward. This worked and she carried on.

Good girl.
We cantered a few circles and I brought her back to trot. I steadied the trot and asked again. She picked it right up. A few circles and I brought her back and gave lots of pats and praise. We walked and I gave her a long rein.
We changed direction. After a break I took contact back.
Carmen: you're going to ask me to canter
Me: not yet
Carmen: well I won't. 
Me: I'm not asking right now
Carmen: I know you're going to ask me and I'm telling you I won't. 
Me: don't worry about it. 

I did a number of walk-trot-walk transitions until she relaxed and stopped anticipating an argument. Then instead of trot-walk I asked her to canter. She picked it right up and carried on. I think she surprised herself. I gave a ton of praise and after a few circles we trotted, walked and I hopped off.

We were supposed to have our lesson today but it had to be cancelled due to car troubles. I hope that we can reschedule soon so that she can tell me how we did on our homework.

On a sad note, Simon has disappeared. You may recall that we got him over Christmas and he was very helpful in bringing joy back to my life after Steele died. He is so cuddly and loveable.  I hate to think that his life was so short and I'm trying to hang on to the idea that he's gone for a wander.

My beautiful Simon. Please send good vibes that he finds his way home


  1. Good thoughts for Simon! Hoping he shows up soon.

  2. Cats do like the wander. I hope he comes back to you. I also like and ask for homework, though I'm not great at doing a lot of it before the next lesson.

  3. I'm so sorry to hear Simon is missing, I hope he comes home soon. <3
    Sounds like things are going very well with Carmen, I like homework too!

  4. I've been wondering about Simon. We had a cat who disappeared -- for months -- then reappeared one day very well fed and brushed. He promptly disappeared again and never came back. I like to think he found a home with a cushy lifestyle that he liked better than the barn cat life with us. Maybe Simon is exploring alternative lodgings... Much of your work with Carmen sounds familiar. I spent a year, almost, working on relaxation with Lucy. Rushing still pops up now and then... I allow myself to change my mind a lot. Lucy anticipates canter and starts rushing -- so we don't. Very much what you are doing with Carmen. Always reserve the right to change your mind -- best advice Sandy ever gave me about riding Lucy.

  5. Carmen sounds like she is going so well! :)
    Good luck, I hope Simon returns soon.

  6. Both our barn cats are neutered; one wanders & travels til I sometimes wonder where he's gotten to (that's when he usually shows up) & the other never leaves home. I hope Simon comes home hungry SOON!


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