dancing horses

dancing horses

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lights, Saddle, Action

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.  ~Chinese Proverb
 Work 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 kidnapped picked up Cynthia on my way home. Ed had supper ready and after we headed out to the barn. A couple years ago I installed a few solar flood lights to allow me to ride in the dark. Neither horse looked super impressed with the idea of a ride after supper. I wasn't sure how Carmen would be - you know how she is when things change. I suspected that it would be more like an indoor because she wouldn't be able to see anything on the other side of the lights.


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.


15 comments:

  1. So happy that you both are having more positive than not!

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  2. I think you and Carmen have formed a very nice relationship.

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  3. Education is never cheap even when (especially when?) the price is in blood, sweat and tears. Clearly, all the time, money and energy you have invested are paying off. Good for you and good for Carmen.

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    1. You are right- it's not cheap and nor should it be.

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  4. OOh, I have wanted to do this at home, but wasn't sure if it would be worth the expense. Good for you showing Carmen something new and handling it like a boss! :)

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    1. It's worth it for me - otherwise I'm prevented from riding because of the dark

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  5. This is so awesome to hear. Glad things are paying off for you two. Sounds like an awesome ride.

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    1. Things are coming. How's your guy?

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  6. So happy to see everything is working out :)

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    1. Yeah, it's starting to fall into the normal horse realm and not the holy shit it's a psychotic break horse....

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  7. I think that realization is what I'm working toward with Leah, too. We don't have to fight, be frightened or exhausted. I'm giving her her head now and working on a completely loose rein. At first, she didn't know what to do with a loose rein, but now she's starting to listen for direction and respond to light cues. She was creating/choosing more work for herself and now she's looking for an easier path. Our only goal is to be hackers, so it's a lower bar, I suppose.

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  8. More education is always worth it :) Sounds like the lights were a great investment too!

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  9. re: figuring out that you don't have to fight - I know that well. I've got a similarly evolving relationship with Q. It's wonderful when you can begin to get on a peaceful working relationship with them!

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