dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Finding My Mantra

After our last ride and our panic attack I didn't just write a whiny blog post. I also sent an SOS to Karen. My message said "I need help blah blah". What I meant was "Carmen is going backwards. I'm totally screwing everything up and I suck as a rider. This is what happened last year and it's starting all over again and all that work I did last year was useless because she still doesn't trust me"

I have too many thoughts sometimes.

gratuitous vacation pic to illustrate my staring into the abyss

The stars aligned and she was able to get her on Weds to help me out. I felt that I needed help in the ring because she was spooking at the grass and stuff fluttering around. We made the arrangements and I decided that I would give Carmen and I a few days off (as recommneded by you guys, thanks!).

So you know how your car can make this strange noise but when you take it to the mechanic it stops? Um, yeah, well that's what happened. In the ring Carmen was very relaxed and attentive. Not stressed at all. Karen arrived and I explained what had been happening. I said that I was thinking of scratching from the show, not because I was worried about our performance but because I didn't want to have a wreck and ruin the confidence and trust that we had been building.  Karen told me to park that for a moment and thengave me some things to think about:
1. You cannot will yourself to be calm. It's a state and requires practice. She asked me how I was feeling when Carmen was spooking at stuff. I told her frustrated, worried and annoyed.
2. training is not a straight line. It's forward, back, sideways, forward
3. I need to think of three words that describe how I want to be when she spooks. I chose: Confident (that I ride through it), Calm (not worried about what will happen next), Control (in control of my body).

I then mounted and we went to work. We practiced my following with my seat and controlling her pace. Since I had been working on that it wasn't too bad. But we moved it up a notch and I need to ride so that Carmen's attention is on me at all times and if it's not I'm can't wait for it to come back. I need to keep her flexed to the inside and I need to ask her to lower her head. I wasn't being persistent enough- when she objected I was backing off. I can't be harsh but I can't back down either. I need to be in charge. That meant that sometimes I was a bit strong on the inside rein asking her to flex- but that was fine as long as I released when she did it.

Carmen spooked twice during the ride- once Karen did deliberately so that she could see what happened. It startled both of us but we got it back. The second was in our favourite -troll corner.

Carmen and I practiced shortening and lengthening her stride (not by much just to get control), we did frequent changes of direction and practiced our shoulder in. It took a long time but I finally felt her trying to figure out what I wanted. We practiced some canter. It was a bit awful but that's okay- we did it and I practiced the flexion. She struggled with that but that's a balance issue that will get better.

I was able to keep Carmen going - it wasn't always pretty but it was successful. I was able to ride her past leaves and grass blowing without her even thinking of running away.

We ended and Carmen was tired. Karen asked me how I felt about going to the show now. I said that I was feeling better about it. She expressed the idea that for personalities like Carmen and I it's better for us to get out and doing stuff sooner rather than later. Even if all I did was ride down the centre line, salute and scratch. She had an excellent point.

So it looks like we're going. If you see us there and I look like a wreck feel free to remind me of my mantra:

calm, confident, controlled.

If that fails give me wine.

Princess has moves, that's for sure. 

19 comments:

  1. Um, yes, too many thoughts Teresa. You are doing very well with your young sensitive mare. Give yourself permission to go backwards and sideways once in awhile. Its all good.

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    1. I believe that we might be similar. :) I will take your advice though.

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  2. Oh yes the backwards, sideways frustration. Karen sounds great that she came out and can help you through it all. Good luck at the show and good for you for getting out there.

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    1. Thanks! Glad to know that others understand!

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  3. Even if you just trailer to the show and ride in the warm-up it would be worth it. She is beyond gorgeous by the way!

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  4. I think you're going to do wonderfully! I need to chant the same three-word mantra to myself haha :)

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    1. I will settle for presenting some semblance of the tests :)

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  5. I didn't think your last post was whiny at all - just normal struggles we all go through! We all feel like we are backsliding at some point.

    I'm glad your lesson went so well, and I think it is great that you are going to the show. Sometimes facing a larger stage makes things at home seem that much easier!

    I am excited for you both and can't wait to read the recap!

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    1. Thanks! I have a few weeks to get myself freaked out again....

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  6. I like your Mantra, I need one too most days.

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    1. It does seem to help! I may put it on a tattoo......

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  7. I might have to borrow your mantra when riding Gambler. Confident, calm, and control.

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    1. feel free as long as it fits with you.

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  8. I think Grayson is going to be very similar to Carmen when I start him under saddle, and I am very similar to you in the way I naturally handle things (tend to over think), so I am taking notes on this journey. Learning to change your natural reactions to things, and your energy is not an easy thing and it sounds like you are making some breakthroughs!

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    1. will try to keep on working on it. Horses are good for personal growth.

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  9. I agree with Annette--you've proven you can handle Carmen's spooks over and over again. Your instructor had a great point--go to the show and do whatever you feel comfortable doing--anything will help. If we all had that attitude rather than, I have to do EVERYTHING--clinics would probably be much more fun. good luck!! Can't wait to hear how it goes!!

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    1. Thank you. You are right - I need to give myself permission to change my mind.

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  10. She's such a pretty girl. I like your plan for the show. I hope it goes well for you.

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