Horse training is hard.
Re-starting a horse is even harder.
But don't worry, this is actually a positive post.
Royce ended up not coming this weekend at all so Carmen and I worked on our own. The weather decided to be cooperative and it was sunny and warm. Finally. I rode Carmen in the morning and it was so.much.fun. We had a few struggles with the 'who's in charge' discussion but it never moved beyond a general crankiness and we were able to work out of it. I was able to ride her all over the room, even by the notorious 'Troll Corner' and the evil flapping plastic bag. I did my best to apply all that Royce had taught me- which was hard because most of the time he's been riding and I've been watching.
However, Carmen felt like a green horse. In a good way- every time I picked up a rein or applied a leg she tried to respond- is it this you want? or this? I'm pretty sure it's that. I was happy that she was trying. It reminded me of when I first started with Steele. I loved that she had pretty much given up her agenda and was trying to figure out mine. Any discussions were very short lived. I had such a forward trot and canter that I was smiling like a fool. She was so light off the leg steering was easy.
Sunday was very hot and very windy. I was hoping that the heat effect would off-set the wind effect and maybe it idd by not by much. However, I worked on the ground, put on my big girl panties and mounted.
|Carmen being brave by the plastic bag- she's reaching her nose out to sniff it.|
She was tight and tense and I tried to channel all things Royce.
Okay, he says to let the horse make a mistake and then show them what you want.
Which is easier when you are a cowboy in a western saddle and a velcro butt. Not so much when you're a middle aged woman sitting in an english saddle. However, I did add a grab strap so I could hand on to something. But you know what? She only spooked once, whoaed immediately when I asked and generally did what I asked- just with tension. I stuck it out until she was listening and then got off.
I put the reins over her head and she stood there while I ran up the stirrups. I then turned and walked away. She followed me, stopping when I stop and matching my pace exactly.
I was pretty happy with our work this weekend and sat down after dinner to type up this blog post.
Then the phone rang. It was Royce.
So I could come out now.
Really, now? (my thoughts flitted to pjs and couches and a glass of wine).
Sure, now is great.
I hung up and Ed was snickering. He's making you work- that's for sure.
I got everything ready for the night while I waited for him. Carmen was mellow as we tacked her up and Royce took her up to the ring and got on. He worked her for about 20 minutes (maybe 30? I am no longer sure). Ed came up for part of it. Royce hopped off and I got on. And then my butt was put to work. He talked me through getting Carmen to listen and be soft in her body. Slowly I let go of my basic training level dressage moves and worked with Carmen. We came together. And fell apart. And came together.
That's much better! he said You are riding her now, not just controlling her.
If she doesn't understand, exaggerate what you're doing and then release. Then ask again softly. See if she's got it.
We finished with getting Carmen to learn to back up with the lightest of cues and then go forward right away. As we rocked forward and back she got lighter and lighter. Doing this we made our way to the spooky corner. Her neck was stiff and she practically vibrated. We then worked on turn of forehand. At first she was over reactive but my timing improved and she tuned in until she was no longer caring about the corner, just what I was asking.
We walked down to the barn and she stood there looking pretty pleased with herself.
I probably had the same expression.