But it's not sunday without a blog post so here goes.
Thursday I had one of the worst headaches I've had for a while. I managed to get everything ready but there was no way I could ride and I decided to forego tack cleaning. Friday my headache was gone but I had that post-headache hangover. I don't know what else to call them- my head doesn't ache but my head and my body feel beat up and out of it. I finished getting the trailer packed and then loaded Carmen. She walked right on with no fuss and we began our trip.
It's a 2 hour trailer drive to the location but it almost all highway and so we sailed along with no disruptions. Carmen unloaded easily. She hesitated a bit going into the barn but followed me along quietly. This was a big change- the last time we were there I needed help to get her to walk into the barn. I set her up in her stall and put my stuff away and then had lunch. Seriously- this was such a nice leisurely, stress-free clinic. I was riding at 3:30 so there was lots of time.
|this is the view from the outdoor ring- this place is a jewel.|
That's a golf course along the river.
I was able to lunge and quietly walk Carmen around before the lesson started and I took full advantage of it. Johanna wanted to know my goals and I told her that I wanted to work on straightness and smooth transitions. I explained how Carmen gets crooked when she's tight- she calms when I can get her straight but she also fights that. Johanna advised me to ride her with lots of changes of direction when she gets crooked- do small circles, large circles and changes of rein. She then told me to go play with that.
I should explain that what Johanna does is explain something and then lets the rider try it out and see if they can figure it out. She will watch for a while and call out small adjustments (or large). I could feel it working- Carmen was getting straighter. Johanna then began to talk to me about keeping my brain clear and simple.
Apparently I think too much. Who knew? <-----sarcasm font
Seems that Carmen gets confused by all the thoughts roiling around my head. Of course she has lots too so the too of us can get ourselves in a mess. But, since I'm ,theoretically, the one who can consciously change it has to be (sometimes it's just not fair).
So my job was to ride Carmen, keeping my intent clear and not hold my breath. I worked on that and it really did work. Johanna pointed out that as I was doing that Carmen was no longer spooking and looking around. hmm.
Then we worked on getting my pelvis more engaged. I tend to ride with too much weight in the stirrups and not enough on my seat bones. I will blame my early hunter jumper training but I've been riding like this for years. Which makes it
Carmen was really tuned in and we were dancing around the ring. I would get it-lose it- get it but more and more it was starting to really sink in.
I asked for a canter and the wheels fell off the bus. She was very resistant about going into canter. We thought that with my deeper seat she wasn't sure how to carry me. We left it alone and finished up on a great note.
This is not a photo from that lesson- it's from the next day but I it shows how it felt to me.
|trotting on sunshine :)|