dancing horses

dancing horses

Monday, August 17, 2015

Our Second Riding Lesson

We were able to reschedule our cancelled lesson for Saturday. I was excited because we'd been working on our homework diligently and I wanted to carry on. My friend Cindy came to watch and take pictures/video.  Irish and Cynthia went first which left Carmen alone in the barn. She protested a bit but not too badly and when I brought her out to get ready she was steady and calm.

 *disclaimer- this blog is my interpretation of what I thought Roz meant. I could be completely wrong or, more likely, a bit wrong so please take the remainder of the post as what I took from the lesson not necessarily what was taught*

In the ring Roz commented that she seemed to be very calm and quiet and that stayed in our lunge work even after Irish left. I discussed that I had been working on getting us around the ring. Roz pointed out that the key is having her on the aids and the goal should not be to get into different parts of the ring but that was the test as to whether she was on the aids. That made sense although it seemed to me that I often think I have Carmen on the aids when she suddenly loses focus so logic dictates that you only know if your horse is off the aids and thinking that she is on the aids is really just a theory. (I know, I think too much).

Anyway we carried on with the lesson working on me making sure that I have Carmen straight and her hind end engaged. As you would expect it came and went. We did figures 8, transitions and bending. Carmen was reasonably attentive and quite willing.
one of my fav shots of the lesson

We then moved off the middle circle. This is when things got dicey. I think that Carmen became stressed and then very reactive to things outside of the ring and tried to drop her inside shoulder and get away. Roz had me raise the inside rein to keep her from spinning away. She also stood in the corner to help Carmen go there. Carmen was quite willing to go as long as Roz was there. Which reinforces my experience that she will go anywhere with me on the ground but gaining her confidence in the saddle has been much harder.

I was able to get her through it a few times and when is was not working to duck away, she began to slam on the brakes. When I asked to go forward she went backwards. It took a lot to get her forward and I was not always successful. We tried a crop to tap lightly but it was my first time riding with a crop and all she did was kick on it. (more on that in my next post).

We decided to change the issue and work her through familiar work and end on a good note. We returned to the circle in the middle and worked on getting her forward and listening. She did come back to me and we finished on a good note. I think that she had decided that we were done and was not appreciative of my (differing) opinion on that. It is not unusual for green horses to try different answers to training questions. The trick is finding the right one.

Here is some video of our lesson. I know that I am far from perfect but I am riding to the best of my ability. (I also know the risk of putting yourself on-line for all to critique so please be kind).  There are  other clips where it went better as well.

I was glad that Roz was there to help me through this. I have to work on keeping my focus on where we're going when she decides to stop and not worry about where she's taking us. Which is much easier in theory! But now I have a plan and we'll work through it. 

The upside is that her energy created some lovely gaits:

Roz said that we had some moments when it looked very good, which was kind of her. As before, she stayed calm and positive throughout the ride. She also seems willing to come back. 

My take away is that I need to practice the 3 Ps with Carmen:
I will need to paint it on a big sign at the end of the ring,  but when we finally get it together, it's going to be fantastic. 


  1. She looks lovely. Honestly, she sort of looks lovely even when she's being bad. She's definitely got the right genetics.

  2. The trainer I had in Southern California before we moved had a motto -- perfection through patient perseverance. I think you and Carmen are on the right track. You ride through her fears and "discussions" very well. -- and she looks willing for the most part. I think you identify the issues accurately (but what do I know just looking at a video). BTW, the first video is private so I couldn't see that one.

    1. Thanks Annette! I think that I fixed the video.

    2. Yes, you did. She was a ball of nerves wasn't she? And you kept your calm really well. I noticed that you braided her mane. When I had Auke, the Friesian, I kept his mane in a French braid. While he was eating (so his head was low) I braided the mane from his poll to his withers. That way, when his head was up it didn't pull. It was easy and fast and neat. It looks like Carmen's mane is long enough to do that as well.

    3. Yes- it's been hot here and it's just a quick way to keep her neck cool.

  3. I think these Spanish Ladies were put on the planet to help bring out the best in us. When I first started out with my girl, one of the first thoughts I had was, "this is the kind of horse that makes me want to become a better rider so that I can use her full potential." As a result, I've worked very hard to improve my skills and my rides have improved exponentially.

    1. Thanks for that. It's good to know that I'm not alone

  4. Hello! I've just stumbled onto your blog and am so intrigued by your story!


Thank you for leaving a comment. I love the feedback.