dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Owning the Ring

Now that I have Carmen working in the whole ring I am determined to not relinquish any territory. I remember my frustration with only be able to stay on the centre circle last year and how nutty it made me.

Carmen is a bit looky in some spots which makes total sense- my ring is on the top of the hill with fields, trees and bushes. As spring wears on the bushes will be covered in rustling leaves and the grass will grow tall. My thoughts are that if we keep working away at it as things are growing we should be able to avoid the idea of trolls. I hope that I am right but it's my only theory. I could cut the tall grass around the ring but I don't want to. First of all the birds use it to nest and feed. Second I can't keep Carmen in a bubble- she needs to learn how to deal with spooky things (not by spinning and bolting).
Not an option:
also, how on earth did they do this? 
So we lunge up and down the ring. I don't pay particular attention to the spooky areas- instead I focus on the work we're doing and ignore that there are any spots that would be problematic. If she spooks I will ask her to do something in that spot and requires attention on me. My theory being that if she was attending to me fully then she wouldn't be thinking about all the things that could kill her outside of the ring.

I only get on when I'm 100% convinced that I have her full attention. Sometimes this is 5 minutes and sometimes it's 20. My goal is to not have to dismount and lunge some more. When I get on I take up contact right away. Carmen does not like to be left 'dangling'. I can let her down on a long rein once she's working with me but if I start that way she becomes agitated. Not that she won't fuss a bit about the contact if she's wanting to look around. We usually start with circles and figure 8s in the middle and I work towards the far ends. This is working as we're getting into the ends pretty quickly.

Yesterday, Chester the Kitten (well teenage cat) was hanging out with in the ring with us. Ashley was riding Irish and I was working with Carmen.  When I was riding he would appear here and there and then he disappeared. I was coming around the short side to cross the diagonal (this was late in our ride) when Carmen spooked and spun sideways. Ouch- it wrenched my back a bit. I brought her around the circle and we came back and she did it again. This time I was ready so no wrenching. We came back again and Chester popped out of the grass and hopped down the ring. As Cynthia pointed out it was a legitimate spook. But I was happy that there was no huge panic about it- she listened to me and once she saw what it was she relaxed immediately.

What I was thrilled about yesterday is that we actually catered everywhere in the ring. It was not pretty and my position was terrible as I was trying to convince her to keep cantering straight ahead. I decided that looking pretty was not my goal- just getting it done. We finished with us cantering down the long side past the gate. As we were going I kept saying 'we are cantering past the gate. Oh yes we are. Come on you can do it'.  And we did. I brought her back to trot and walk and we cooled out. We were both a little sweaty.

Owning the Ring campaign is moving ahead. The next one will be 'Owning the Outside of the Ring'.

Is it ridiculous that I am still thrilled when I ride? I feel like a kid sometimes: "I rode a horse today. Yay"


23 comments:

  1. This is a great campaign! And yes, even though I ride multiple horses a day I'm still excited every time I do!

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  2. Proper horse people feel that way when we ride. It should be fun! Good luck on your campaign.

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    1. Thank you. I expect that there are bumps ahead

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  3. I have to take up the contact with Lucy too -- she can be on a long rein, but not on the buckle -- initially. Your joy when riding is not silly at all; I still feel it too when I ride. I think when I feel stronger physically (back issues), I'll be riding again. But Lucy does spook occasionally and thought of the jerk on my back is not pleasant.

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    1. with your back it's good to be careful!

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  4. You should be thrilled, especially with what you are accomplishing. Even though riding wipes me out physically, I feel re-energized for the rest of the day emotionally and mentally.

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    1. Exactly. It feels as necessary as breathing.

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  5. You work so hard and are accomplishing so much.

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  6. Sounds like you have a solid plan and I am glad your campaign is working!

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  7. Love it! Bodhi always picked a boogieman corner in every ring we worked in, and it used to make so frustrated. I noticed the more flustered I got the more he reacted. It sounds like you are on the right track with ignoring it, and working through it! It took me a while to realize that was what I needed to do.

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    1. It's so hard- especially when they are being so spooky and we don't want to die. :)

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  8. What a great campaign. I agree that you work hard and are accomplishing a lot!

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    1. thank you- sometimes I feel that she would be so much farther with a real trainer

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  9. Every time I ride my horse, I think to myself, "Heh. I am actually riding a horse! This is Amazing!" I've done it hundreds and hundreds of times and it's still brain bogglingly awesome. You are not alone. :-)

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    1. Yes, I love to know that I'm not the only crazy one.

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  10. Okay, that was encouraging for me. I need to own my ring, too. Leah does much better away from home than at home. Her attention is on the other horses, her herd, which keeps her from really being with me. I need to own it. I'm going to make it happen. Your thoughts about the gate sound like my own. LOL. Can't wait for the day it all comes together.

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  11. I dont think the thrill of riding a horse could ever go away! I'm still the girl who gawks at horses in pastures by the side of the road as I drive by.

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  12. Yay I like that campaign idea. And the horse in the bubble, that is super cool. I am way too lax when I ride alone I get thinking lazy and my horses do whatever then I get annoyed but I know its my own fault I gotta get a plan going too, just riding to exercise is not fun.....well sorta I do still enjoy it :)

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