I rode Carmen this morning and we had a couple issues, including one big spook that I still don't know why or how I stayed on. But I did and then I realized that I was not setting the agenda and that leads to Chaos. so I buckled up and things went so much better from there that I was thrilled. I then did a short schooling session on Irish followed by a wee hack around the field.
Royce came back tonight and rode her. He showed me how he keeps the horse between the leg and hand. He uses her neck so that if she tries to root and get away she ends up fighting herself. I watched her go and how not one sour expression crossed her face. I then got on and we went to work. She tried a few spooks but Royce pointed out that she wasn't scared. I followed his instructions and then all arguments ceased. She was prompt off the leg and soft and supple. With every leg or rein aid she was responding and trying to figure out what I wanted. I love riding her when she's like this.
I told Royce I wanted to walk her down to the barn. We went the long way around the front field and then down the driveway, across the road and back up to the barn. Then around the barn and the garden to finish up behind the barn where I got off. She was so mellow and relaxed it was fabulous.
Royce summed it up when he said "I remember how unhappy this mare looked - she looked like she wanted to eat you up. Now she's listening and this makes her a happier horse. She doesn't need to worry about things and can let you be in charge without worrying.
I came into the house exhausted and happy. Happiness earned by hard work and determination.
I'm excited for the Centred Riding clinic I'm going to this weekend. I even have my goals worked out- I want to work on not riding defensively when Carmen becomes upset or spooky because then my riding goes to shit. I echo her tension and the cycle doesn't end well.
Now about the art...
While I was riding Carmen this morning I had a very special delivery. I have been following this artist on FB- he lives near me and his work is brilliant. David Johnson does street art that is incredible:
What I love is his horse art. One day I shall save enough to have him do a portrait of my horses.
However, he was having a sale of small prints and I had to have them. I was going to pick them up but his assistant was driving by so she dropped them off. It was good for Carmen to meet a new person while we were in the ring so there was a training bonus as well.
See what I got- aren't they lovely!