dancing horses

dancing horses

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The First Lesson of the Year

I have to explain the title a bit.

In my head there are three different years:
1. The socially agreed upon January - December.
2. The school year of September to June (at least that's how it is in Canada).

But the most important one is:

3. Horse riding year. It's the most important one of all. For me it starts in March when things start to thaw and I begin to want to ride.

So the lesson I had in January was the last one of the year and the one I had on Sunday was the first lesson of the year.

At first I wasn't sure if it could happen it became quite cold Saturday night,  but the ring thawed enough that we could make it work.

Normally, when I start back riding I want to get things going before I have a lesson. However, if you recall the last two years things have started out well but then quickly spiralled downward. While I'm not sure that this would happen this year,  I decided to play it safe and see if we could avoid all the drama.

I started with ground work and Carmen was a bit excited because she was all alone. But not anything too bad. Just as I was finished up the ground work Shanea arrived. We chatted about how things have been so far and then I hopped on and we started working.

The whole lesson was about the half-halt. We started with the full halt.

Nice and square. Note how bundled I am- the wind was bitter but once we started working I completely forgot about it. I have a hold on the inside rein- Martin was playing in the next field and she really wanted to keep her eye on him.

It was really neat to teach Carmen to rebalance through the half-halt. There was a bit of confusion at first and I needed to sort out how to make my aids the right volume. As we progressed both of us figured it out and I could really use the half-halt to get her to slow down and tune back into me even with spooky and scary stuff going on.

There were a few places that she was quite looky and she even gave a few big spooks. What was interesting to me was my reaction. Even when we flew sideways I went with her and my heart rate accelerated (of course). But I immediately went back to work and I did not have the post-spook reaction of anger/fear. The only way I could explain my attitude was of 'this is interfering with our work'. I didn't even worry about what it was that was spooking her or try to avoid it. Even when the neighbour starting revving his ATV (I think it was an ATV). When that happened she got quite tense (fair enough) but I didn't back off and I didn't ramp up with her- I just kept to task.

While the photos and videos show lots to work on I had some of the best trot work ever on her. It was effortless to sit to and needed very little to adjust or steer.


some lift though her back and bringing her leg under. 

'lets not bulge in' :) 
There's a lot of fitness to build yet and I need to figure out what the heck is going on with my inside hand but I was over the moon about the whole lesson. Shanea and I set up a regular schedule.

Later that day we went to visit my son and his new puppy. There was puppy mayhem everywhere.
such innocent faces what could they possibly get up to? 

rawr

And after all that excitement Guinness had 'puppy class'. He was the cutest, smartest, best behaved puppy there (of course you wouldn't doubt that, would you?).

That night Guinness and I slept like logs. I dreamed that I was at a show with Carmen and the judge gave me a -2 for my riding score on the test. Not that I'm worried that I won't ride Carmen well. Nope. Not me).

28 comments:

  1. I find that when I'm performing under an instructor's expectations, it's easier to ignore the things that I know would spook my horse. Having an instructor helps the rider focus, which helps the horse focus, etc. Puppy mayhem -- I can imagine.

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    1. That is so true- having an instructor makes it easier

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  2. It sounds like you had a great lesson. I think this year will be wonderful for you and Carmen.

    Puppy cuteness and mayhem. What could be more fun!

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    1. Puppy mayhem is a lot of fun but oh so tiring!

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  3. ha i also view the year in terms of riding seasons! sounds like a fantastic lesson and i love the proactive attitude about kicking things off on the right foot!

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    1. Thank you- I'm determined that this year will be awesome!

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  4. I'm the same as Nuzz, I'm much more relaxed with lessons. Please tell me you can package some puppy breath for me. I miss it.

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    1. I will see what I can do about the puppy breath!

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  5. That sounds like such a great lesson and I feel like we're learning some of the same things so it's fun to read your lesson recaps :)

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    1. I often see lots of similarities in our rides/lesson

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  6. Such adorable puppy faces. I agree with your "year" -- my riding year starts in March as well. You're off to a good start.

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  7. I saw a sable on the trail yesterday - they're quite rare here, and the man said Guten Morgen. I said hello and I looked at my watch and thought, "Hm, 12:30 - it would be morgen still if they hadn't stolen an hour from us Saturday night!"

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    1. Sables are rare there? They seem to be getting very popular here

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  8. Haha... yes... I have several different "years" as well. January through December. The endurance season (March through November) and Mike's work year (April through November or so).

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  9. My favorite season of all: Horseback riding Season!! I had my first trail ride yesterday and Cowboy, my 22 year old heart horse, was a total spaz for half of it. :)

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    1. LOL, I love the hijinks of the older horses.

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  10. Sounds like a great ride for working on half halt and not getting reactive to spooks, both so important but so hard sometimes! Adorable puppies!

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    1. Yes- both are hard but valuable to figure out!

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  11. YES! I just had my first lesson where the spook was just a disturbance to the work we were doing and not a reason to stop and collect myself (except for one time when my foot caught on the fence and pulled me out of the saddle a bit). It's kind of an awesome new feel while on a young horse, huh?

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  12. What's better than a puppy? TWO puppies! They are ridiculously cute. Happy you had a good lesson.

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  13. Sounds like a great lesson! Oh the puppies.... <3

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    1. Horse and puppies- what a great day.

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  14. I love the 3 years you described! And hell yes to your workman like attitude. Y'all are going to have an amazing year.

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    1. From your lips to Carmen's ear. LOL

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