Last weekend was a hard one for me and I was not sure that I even wanted to ride. But I decided that I would anyway. I rode on Saturday and Sunday. For both rides Carmen was very tuned in to me. It's not that she wasn't looking around but it was peeks and she would return to work. There have been no trolls the last three days. While she will hesitate in the far corner she will go and not be super stiff. Each time we successfully navigate an area I can feel her relax and settle more and more.
This means that I can focus on actual dressage-y type stuff. We've been working on leg yields. Those are coming along but now that she's not freaking out about going over to a specific spot the conversation has changed from:
NO! it's dangerous.
you are obviously deluded
Let's go over
um. are you sure?
oops too much shoulder
but that's easier
let's try to fix it
So now I'm figuring out how to get us doing it accurately rather than just doing it.
It's awesome. Last Sunday she was a bit sluggish but I worked on coaxing her through. I think I allowed it to on too long but I'm trying to find the balance between her rushing and not going forward. Anyway, we took a walk break but when I asked her to trot she said an emphatic 'no'. I asked again and got the same response. So I gave her a bop with the crop. She sprung forward, pinned her ears and gave a buck. She does NOT like being tapped. But after that the discussion was over and we flowed forward.
I have to be careful with my hands and seat- she's very sensitive. To keep the forward feeling hands I've been visualizing pouring water out of my hands down the reins. That seems to be working. And the ball imagery continues to work very well for me as well.
I am able to give her walks on a long rein without worrying that we're suddenly going to be fleeing in the opposite direction. To give an illustration of this is how she's being about opening the gate from horseback. I introduced the idea a couple rides ago with just sliding the board across and letting it fall and then walking off. Sunday I walked up to it- grabbed it and slid it out of the bracket on the other side and let it fall. She never moved. I walked forward and then came back around where I grabbed the end that was sticking up and pulled it back and tipped it up so we could go through. She stood there unconcerned about it all. We then walked out and down to the barn.
Last week was a busy one with work so I couldn't do anything with her until Friday. I got her ready and I could see immediately that she was settled and ready to work. We did some work on the ground but I only do it until I'm 100% sure that she's with me. It took about 5 minutes and I probably didn't even need that. In the meantime a cherry picker truck pulled up at the end of our driveway to work on the pole across the street. We had a clear view from the mounting block. I let her look at it and then mounted. She never moved. During our ride she did peek at it and was a bit wary (especially when the guy got in and it went up) but it was really no big deal.
We are riding all over the ring, across the diagonals, doing serpentines, figure 8's and such. It's so much fun I don't even know how long I'm riding. She tells me when I get it ride and I have learned to listen. Yesterday near the end of our ride I collected her trot a wee bit on the short side and then asked her lengthen down the long side a few strides. I could feel her stretch out under me and lengthen through her whole frame. I was ecstatic and said so. I heard Cynthia say to Irish 'yes I heard that too. I don't know what happened but she seems pretty happy'.
I love that she can have 4 days off and be so very sensible. She's starting to mature into the horse that I was sure was in there (although some days I doubted it).
After our ride I had Cynthia help me with my Christmas photo shoot with the animals. These are two out takes from Carmen's shoot. I love them because they illustrate the character that she's showing us.
This one is when we brought her out and Cynthia was putting the hat on. Look at how soft her eye is
|I'm not sure why you want me to wear a hat but okay|
|turns out that pine is yummy|