Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. ~Chinese ProverbWork has been a bit, well, hectic, lately. The past two weeks it feels like I barely have time to complete one task before I'm onto the next one. I've been careful to not let this transfer to my work with Carmen. Instead of worrying about riding, I've been focussing on groundwork. I am pleased with how this has been going. On Tuesday, I was even able to put the hula hoop up on her back and haunches and she didn't care.
The last two days I was in Halifax and really missing the quiet air of home. I
And that's just how she was. Carmen was definitely uncertain and she checked in with me a lot. Which was fabulous- before she wouldn't have checked in at all, she would have made her own decisions. Instead she was 'I'm not sure about this. What do you think?' And then she listened to what I was saying. I don't try to convince her that there's nothing out there, I just am helping her to understand that it will be okay.
It was hard to ride soft and relaxed- I felt stiff and tight from a day of sitting followed by driving. My left hand was possessed by demons and was trying to take a death grip. I kept having to think about relaxing my hand, then my hip, then my leg, then my feet were heavy in the stirrups. Rinse, repeat, and ohmygodjuststopit. But patience is required not just with Carmen but with myself. If I'm get frustrated with my crappy riding it's too hard to sort it out. Finally, excruciatingly slowly we both managed to loosen up and relax.
As it got darker she got better- with fewer distractions she was able to listen. Once Cynthia asked me a question and as I was thinking about it she did a perfect trot-halt transition. I realized it was because I hadn't thought about it- I just did it.
We finished up with some lovely canter work and transitions. I was happy to end it after that.
I think Carmen and I are figuring out that we don't have to fight, we don't have to be exhausted and we don't have to be frightened.
I'm also thinking that the money I spent this summer on training was money very well spent.