dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Clinic Report Day 1

The first day was all about creating a safe space.
(Forgive any errors-I'm typing this on my ipad).

In the morning Carmen walked right on the trailer with no fuss. She got a bit agitated when she realized that Irish wasn't getting on but settled as I drove off.  She really trailers well. At the end she was not sweaty or upset.

I needed help to convince her to go into the barn but once in her stall she settled in.  There were 3 stallions at the clinic and one became quite excited.  At first she was all "meh" but later was talking to him (by day 2 she was in full heat).

I was excited to get her ready and have our turn. Carmen's  ground work went really well. She was worried but tuned into me for safety rather then go into flight mode. She was shifting at the mounting block but finally stood for me to get on. 
Her walk was quite quick and I was struggling to slow it down. 
" this is where I struggle to not have backwards energy in my riding"

Johanna asked what I wanted from the clinic. I've done enough clinics that I should be good at answering this question but I get paralyzed by it. So in a moment of blinding honesty I said  " to be perfect". JOhanna laugh red and said "let me get there first and I'll tell you all about it"   
I said I wanted for us to have a good experience and have a way to keep Carmen calm and not over react. I explained about her spinning and bolting when she freaks out.  Johanna spent the rest of the lesson working on four things:
1. Breath: keep it slow and steady
2. Use my pelvis to give her direction: I can control her pace with my pelvis but only if it's open and relaxed enough to work with her back, not against it. 
3. Calm my body: create a calm and safe space for Carmen. It starts with me and she is less likely to run away because I'm the safe zone. 
4.  Look where you are going -I tend to look at Carmen not ahead.  But it can't be too far ahead and it must be soft eyes. 

It's amazing how hard it was to keep my brain clear and focused on those four things but I could feel her working.  She began to slow down and tube into me.   We would lose it and get it back.  I could only keep2 or 3 things in my consciousness and needed reminders for the ones I was missing. Most often it was my eyes. 

We did some walk- trot transitions and there was a lot of flailing.  Johanna told me to "Just think trot" but not do anything else. I did a walk circle thinking "trot".
And another. 
And another. 
"I'm thinking trot!" I called to Johanna. "That's ok, just keep thinking". 
A few more circles of me fiercely thinking and Carmen becoming a bit bemused by it all.  Johanna finally said "okay you can ask with the smallest movement of your ankles". 
"Oh thank god!"I thought and moved my ankles lightly against her side. She moved forward into trot thinking "oh thank god".  Our rhythm was all over the place and I found sitting easier.  At first I was fighting clamping my legs but slowly it came together. I figured it out how to use my seat to control her speed.  

Johanna then left the ring for us to play with this new approach. I appreciated the chance to try it without adding more.  

We finished at the end of the ring which had the spectators, jumps , a snowblower and therapeutic riding stuff.  All very spooky.  We walked down and she gave a spook.  
We went through that end almost a dozen times with me not pulling but breathing and being calm. Each time it was better until she blew a d walked by - both of us were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.  And exhausted. Carmen lowered her her head and snuggled against my hip while I rubbed her neck and head. 

In her stall she looked quite pleased with herself.  We both were happy. 

10 comments:

  1. I'm just trying to figure out how to calm my body without the help of sedatives. Staying calm is a given, but how does one control her nerves? Sounds like a good day for both of you.

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    1. it's all very zen. I think I need to go back to yoga and meditation

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  2. Excellent. I like your trainer's approach. Being the calm and safe place is so important.

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    1. I think that you and her would really get along. I'd love to see her work with you and Tex. She loves working with the tricky, sensitive horses

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  3. That sounds like a great clinic. I like the teacher's style. Sounds very positive. So far so good.

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  4. Sounds like a cool clinic.

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    1. it was. She was also commenting that she wanted to see more mules in dressage.

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  5. Nice! Sounds like a great clinic day :)

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  6. I am the worst at looking down at my horse instead of ahead where I am going!

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    1. Nope. Sorry. I have the gold medal in that. You can have the silver though..

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