Thanks for all the comments on my previous post. It seems that this has resonated with many people. Which is good- it's an issue that needs to be addressed.
Friday was the first day of my vacation. Although technically it's my normal day off and vacation starts Monday but it's my vacation and I can choose when it starts. My plan is to ride every day at least once. Except for tuesday, when I have to go into the city. On Friday Carmen, Irish, Cynthia and I are headed to a Centred Riding Clinic.
This morning I had a leisurely coffee (after feeding) and then headed out to get some chores done. It was promising to be very hot and humid. Around lunch time the saddle fitter came to check out Carmen's saddle. To be honest, even though I booked her I was having second thoughts- I have spent so much money lately I was feeling guilty. But I'm glad that I did because I was right- there were some issues. The gullet needed to go up a half size and some stuffing needed to be adjusted.
The saddle fitter is also a friend (she owns the mare and stallion that were Steele's parents) and I enjoy talking to her. I was excited for her to see how far Carmen has come. Alas, Carmen took one look at this new stranger and went into self defence mode. I am not sure what was triggering it but she is very wary of new people. We took her up to the ring so I could see how the changes work. It was great- I had been struggling with my position but with the adjustments I immediately was where I needed to be and felt much more balanced.
Carmen however, was having none of it. She was resistant to move forward and began to spook. I know now that this is avoidance but I hadn't brought a crop up with me. I also hadn't started with ground work (although to be fair Royce was feeling that I could skip it at times). We got somewhere but, frankly, we looked terrible.
I brought her to the centre of the ring and Rachael and I chatted. The saddle was deemed fine but we stayed. Gradually, Carmen began to sigh and chew and relax. I think that she realized that nothing was going to happen and she didn't need to be defensive. After about 10 minutes of this I hopped off and we headed back down. I'm hoping that this experience helps her to realize that she doesn't need to worry about everything. She was like this with Royce too but he came into her world like a cannon ball and she had no choice.
Earlier that day a person who used to board at the same place as me a few years ago sent me a text and asked if she could come over with her mare. She has a green mare who's a bit hot and is just down the road from me. I thought that it would be good for all of us. Plus it would allow me to start connecting with other horse people in the area. I don't need to have someone around all the time but it's nice to get together with others who share your passion.
Hali'a is a roan QH (I think QH) who is a cute as a bug. I was interested to see how the two mares would be- if they would ramp each other up give that they both can be 'hot'. I was prepared to only do ground work if I had to. However, I figured this would be like a show warm up ring in that there will be strange horses.
Aside from a few ear pinnings and throwing her haunches in the two were fine. Irish was beside himself- he had two mares all to himself, if only Cynthia would stop interfering with his flirting. However, he looked pretty good showing off.
After a bit Carmen settled in and we were able to practice not only the spook corrections but actual moves like leg yields, turn on the haunches and shoulder in and haunches in. I figured that if she was going to throw her haunches in I should show her how to do it as gymnastic. This she was less sure of- as we went down the side she realized that she couldn't leap into the ring if she spooked. Which was great because then she stopped trying.
"Look at us- we're DRESSAGING!" I yelled.
We finished with simple changes and then the three of us stopped and chatted. Hali'a was so well behaved for being 4, in a new place and barn. We put her in Irish's stall while we went and had a cold drink on the deck. We heard some squealing while sitting out there and headed to the barn- I saw Ed go in first (love his instincts). Irish was trying to flirt and Hali'a had her head out the side on the right and was getting annoyed. Of course she could have moved but, well, mares. Carmen was outside staying well out of it. I chased Irish out and shut Carmen's door. Of course then Hali'a was all upset at being alone. Again, mares- I hate you/don't leave me. She did settle though pretty well.
|Hali'a on the right, Carmen on the left.|
|cute kitty picture just because|
I enjoyed have the visitors. I'm thinking that it might be fun to do more of this. I was pleased with how Irish and Carmen behaved.