On the ground Carmen was tuned in a listening. She has been more wary of the woods side of the ring (opposite to troll corner) but worked well there. I mounted and we went to work. I started with the focus on a following hand and then my seat. I'm finding that having a soft, giving but there contact seems to make her more tuned in. As we warmed up in the walk and then the trot I could feel her coming more and more over her back. She would reach for the bit and then lose it and then find it again.
We were gradually working our way down the ring - I would push her to go a bit further but not to the point of where we would lose connection. After about 15 minutes of this I was going down the long side (next to the trees). My hand and seat were following and she was soft, her back was swinging and she was reaching for the bit. It was fabulous.
And then she was gone from under me and I was in the air.
I had time to think what the fuck? when I landed hard on my back. I tried to hang onto the rein but she ran backwards, dragging me and I fell again and hit the back of my head on the ground. I sat up and she was standing about 10 feet away looking at me.
|worth every penny but now I have to replace it. shit.|
I sighed and got up and led her around where I thought the spook happened but she was fine. I went up to the mounting block and got back on. If I was a perfect rider I would be calm and relaxed and able to let it go.
But I'm not perfect. I couldn't figure out what happened so I was (I think understandably) feeling wary. On another horse I might consider to have been a dirty deke but I don't believe that Carmen has that in her. Something had definitely spooked her. I figured it was a deer. I decided to stay up at the top, safe zone, and work some more before venturing down the further way. Carmen was also different. We did some fairly crappy work at the top when she decided to check out. I completely lost all connection with her so I dismounted and put her on the lunge.
She was a total basket case on the lunge- trying to bolt. I don't believe in chasing on the lunge but I do believe in reinforcing listening so we went up and down the ring reinforcing the whole 'you must listen to me' thing.
When we were there I took off the lunge line and mounted again. The goal was to get her tuned in and listening. I wanted to get her back to the work we started with. When she was being a twit about the side where she spooked I stayed on task (bend means bend damnit). Finally I had a real back-front walk, trot and canter and some smooth transitions.
We cooled out at a walk (but no I did not give her a long rein) in the area of the spook. Suddenly, she slammed on the brakes and lifter her head. I looked and saw what had spooked her- small little sparrows flitting amongst the brush eating the rose hips and chokecherries. I think when we were trotting by one must have flown out and gave her a start. Which is fine- except for the sideways leap.
Sparrows?! I said incredulously. You were frightened by small woodland birds? What the hell
She was riveted. You do know that you have military blood in your veins, right?
I had her stand there for at least 5 minutes, watching the
So I realized that we will need to work on the spooking at things outside of the ring. I have the spooking at things inside well covered- she won't react at all. I have to figure out how to tackle the outside of the ring stuff. I may call Royce to come back and help me with that, we'll see.
In the meantime, Cynthia called and she's coming out so I guess I'm riding again.
Wish me luck.