Last week in my lesson Karen spoke to me about resilience. Basically she said that Carmen was probably always going to spook some times. The goal is to recover quickly and get back to work. To practice being resilient. You don't get to be on this planet for over 50 years without having lots of opportunities to practice being resilient. Transferring that to riding is doable. So when I've been riding I keep that in mind. Overall she's continuing to be markedly calm. She's also being quite affectionate. But she's still Carmen so there's a streak of the dramatic in her.
This morning was cloudy and foggy but by the time I came home from work the sun was shining and it was warm. I changed into my riding clothes and got Carmen ready. She was fine in the barn but when we walked up to the ring she gave a big spook at the trees.
Those weren't like that last time!
I know but we'll be fine.
I spent my time with the ground work before I got on. She was definitely on guard but I kept in mind my goals to be calm, confident and controlled. It's funny how pretending to be those things helps you to actually be that way. I'm also way better when I have an active thing to practice rather than a passive thing. I felt pretty good about schooling her. Which was good. As we worked away she was being a bit dramatic about things - trotting sideways rather than forward and wanting to stop to poop. but I had picked up the crop at the start so when she stopped I gave her a tap. Two taps later and she walk-trotted off while pooping. Then got annoyed and tried to kick at my leg and gave a buck.
Spanish mares do dramatic very well.
I carried on and she settled back into work. We started trotting up towards troll corner when she gave a series of leaps sideways. But I was prepared and stayed with her.
WE MUST FLEE
no we mustn't
I HATE YOU
It will be fine
My heart was racing with that the leaping but I stayed focussed and didn't freak out over what might happen but rode what was happening. When she finally stopped the leaping about I took a deep breath.
Okay, now let's practice that resilience thing
I realized that at the show I will likely need to deal with this so it's good to practice now. The issue, for Carmen, was that the leaves and grasses were fluttering in the breeze and, because of the time day, were throwing shadows that also were fluttering.
I didn't stay in that corner but worked through the whole ring. I didn't get the practice everything that I had planned initially but used this opportunity to get and keep her focussed on me no matter what. At times she was less than impressed with this but each time settled a bit quicker and there was no more leaping about.
When I finished she was sweaty and really enjoyed being hosed off. I put her in her stall and gave her supper. When she finished she was dozing in her stall but wanted to have her face scratched. I rubbed between her eyes while her ears were at half mast and her eyes were soft. I believe that she appreciates that I am in charge even if she wants to negotiate the moment.
We're getting there.