dancing horses

dancing horses

Monday, October 12, 2015

Learning Curve

After my last post it's time for a more upbeat post.

My last two rides on Carmen have been fabulous. Ever since Friday when I made sure she was focussed on me it feels like we've turned a corner.

That my ride on Saturday was good could also be explained by having Irish in the ring. But things were good both Sunday and Monday morning when we rode by ourselves. Here's what I've figured out:
1. I need to insist on her full attention right from the beginning of our ground work. And it's nifty to see how that really works. She seems positively grateful that she has me to focus on and not the stuff outside the ring. This does not require me to be harsh but it requires me to be attentive. And it requires me to insist that she bends on the lunge and gawk outside or deke in to me.

Carmen's view of the ring
2. Whatever I get from her on the ground work, I will get a watered down version while riding. 

Armed with this knowledge I have been approaching our work with a we can do this. I do my best to not worry about what she might worry about. And it's beginning to work for me. 

I don't have the goal of 'we must use all parts of the ring' but I do have the goal of 'I will attend to you but you must attend to me too'. This sometimes ticks her off because how dare I ask her to bend to the inside when there's clearly a danger outside that she need to monitor. I don't get rougher, I just keep repeating the aid until I get what I want. Sometimes I do make it stronger but mostly I just stay persistent. For example, she often counterbends going to the right past P. I pulse my inside leg and my hand asking her to flex to the inside. At the beginning I won't get this flexion until well past L. But with repetition it happens sooner and sooner until she is simply listening. 

For whatever reason I am not getting stressed about her not listening, but more philosophical about it.  Of course if she's really losing it (like Friday) I won't lie, I do get stressed.

Today I was really focussing on trying to rate her pace with my seat. It's not easy- I have to make sure I stay upright (leaning forward is my go to response when feeling uncertain), and keep  my seat soft and try to post to the pace I want. All of this takes so much of my concentration I can't worry about any potential scary places. 

I realized today that she and were discussing what we were doing, not where we were going. This is a big change and allows me to actually focus on stuff that is dressage-ish. Both of us we negotiating the work and it felt really good. I can feel how talented she is when she's on the aids. It's like we're weightless. I can't even hear her footfalls. I brought her back to the walk and gave her a long rein. She stretched over her back and walked out loose and easy. I then used my seat to steer her and refused to take up the reins. We were able to do changes of rein this way. I asked her to whoa and she came to a perfectly square halt. 

The more we do and the less that goes wrong the more both us gain confidence in each other. 

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you're making great progress! Indy and I are really in a similar position, so I can completely relate. It's hard not to get stressed when they are really losing it. I'm glad that things are going better!


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