Cynthia brought out Julia- a young friend of Ashley's who had ridden Irish before. She was needing some horse therapy so Cynthia graciously gave up her ride so that Julia could.
I didn't need to do much on the ground to settle Carmen so I mounted up shortly after we got up there. As we walking off I started to give Julia some advice- Irish was being short strided and heavy on her hands. As a result she was getting stiff and tight arms and no one was happy.
As I was talking to her and walking beside her Carmen was trying to do her normal I'm stiff and worried and might spook at any moment. I completely ignored her and kept riding beside Julia talking. I had one hand on the reins and the other was gesturing (because I can't explain stuff without gesturing).
hey, are you paying any attention to me?
hmm, what? we're just walking. I'm helping Julia right now
but I might spook AT ANY MOMENT
Nah, there's no point.
I then returned my attention to missy and realized that we were just walking around on a loose rein with no drama. I started our warm up and then asked her to trot. She was resistant at first- I find that when she's in heat she doesn't want to trot at first. Those of you with mares, have you experienced that? I picked up the crop and asked again and then gave her a tap. She kicked out but trotted out and I praised her. One more tap and I had settled the whole 'let's go forward' thing and I could drop it.
After our warm up I decided to run through one of our tests- Training Level 1. It's not hard to memorize and I figured that if I ran into an issue I could abort it and focus on that one issue. But we were able to run through the whole test. There were a couple bobbles on the transitions to canter but I was able to get her back and moving forward. To be honest, although it wouldn't win me any great scores I was pleased with how she stayed with me through the whole thing and we could work together.
I loved that I could ask her to relax her neck and reach for the bit and she did without any fuss. It's hard for her to maintain it- it's a strength issue but it will come with persistence and patience. I loved that when I took her to the spooky corners she would still listen to my leg asking her to bend and carry on. I gave her lots of praise.
Near the end of our ride she alerted to something in the field next door and I saw Chester, our cat, bouncing around the tall grass and then sitting to watch us. In the past that would have had her completely freaked out. I let her look at him and then, when she stood quietly, I clicked and gave her a treat. (I have been introducing clicker training with her to help her understand and feel positive about things). We went back to work and she was completely fine about the cat.
We finished up with me playing with some trail class obstacles- moving a jacket from one post to another (doesn't care) and then walking over the bridge (that's fine too).
I love riding when it's so much fun. In fact at one point Cynthia said "When you are done smiling I have a question for you". I hadn't realized that I was.
I love finishing a ride where we both feel happy and positive about it.Letting her eat the green grass helps too of course.
|Love this mare|