dancing horses

dancing horses

Monday, April 10, 2017

Getting Our Heads in the Game- Part 1

I had arranged for a lesson on Sunday with Shanea. I was really looking forward to it and I have to tell you that it did not meet my expectations.

It exceeded them.

I headed out the barn early so I could spend some time trying to get the winter's worth of grime off. I cannot wait until I can give them a bath. I also wanted to spend some time. In the past Carmen has appeared to be annoyed by grooming but lately she has been showing signs of enjoying it more- even showing me her itchy spots. I do not often spend a long time grooming before hand but this time I was a good 45 minutes. Even teasing the tangles out of her hair with my fingers.

I decided to leave Irish out in his paddock while we worked. I knew that he might be a goofball but I figured that he had burned out some energy in the morning. I was not wrong and he carried on like his little world was ending. However, Carmen has no issue leaving him and ignores his shenanigans.

I was careful in my warm up on the ground and, while she was bit looky, overall she was listening really well. I played a bit with half-halts from the ground using my body language. It was really cool- when I shortened my pace and tightened my core so did she- when I strode out so did she. If you lunge try it and see what happens.

Just as I was ready to get on I received a text from Shanea that she was running late. I decided to get on and do a long slow warm up. Carmen was definitely leery of troll corner but we were still able to walk all over the ring. When she lost her attention I was able to get it back.  We were circling at the end of the ring and she alerted to the road. I then saw that there were two horse and riders coming down the road.

Uh oh  I thought. I sat up, breathed deep and waved. Carmen watched them walk down the road. I could see Irish watching too. Irish usually loses his mind when horses walked by but Carmen not so much.

I seriously thought about dismounting. Like really seriously. Instead I asked her to walk on.

And she did. With no drama. However, troll corner was still being a bit an issue. Not a huge one but something was there bugging her. Probably mice or birds.  We were walking across the diagonal towards the corner  and I could feel her tensing. I breathed deep and focused on walking her forward without me getting tight.

Carmen showed her athleticism by suddenly spinning around and we were facing the other way. I was literally half off - leaning at a 45 degree angle, had one rein and no feet in the stirrups. WHOA! I said. And Carmen slammed to a halt. Had she continued to bolt I would have landed on the ground.  I resettled myself in the saddle while she waited for me.

 I reached forward and stroked her neck. Because guys, this was HUGE. Carmen could have completely dumped me but she didn't. Because I said 'whoa'.

thank you Royce.

My heart was still pounding from the adrenalin rush but I turned her around and we carried on through the corner and continued our warm up.

But with more confidence.  Shortly after Shanea drove up and it was time to start my lesson.


26 comments:

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    1. I feel guilty every time I don't post about him. I love him to bits and he's giving all the signs of being the companion dog I wanted. If you are on instagram there's lots of photos of him there: https://www.instagram.com/teresaalexanderarab/

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  2. I love how quiet and thoughtful you are with Carmen - I never really ''absorbed'' some of your Carmen-posts because it they didn't really relate to me or my horse at the time. But now I have Annie, I can feel myself gravitating towards other bloggers who have Young or inexperienced horses and craving their blog posts.

    Thank you for all your entries on Carmen - I have already gone back and read quite a few :)

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    1. Thank you for that. We've had quite the journey and it's not always been easy. I'm enjoying reading your Annie posts as well. A young horse is a whole new kettle of fish and not easy!

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  3. Great work! She's really listening and trusting you now. You must be so proud of her.

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  4. Yay!!! That is such a cool big moment. What an amazing thing you are building with her :)

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  5. That is exactly how I learned how to lunge Tex -- and now I use it with Lucy as well. It is very cool and they are so tuned in. Excellent progress and I'm very impressed with the whoa!

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    1. Thank you. I think of you and your horses often when working with Carmen. :)

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  6. Fantastic!! I love it when they know whoa it is so useful! We were galloping along in the field chasing a calf and he went through a fence and I said whoa (maybe a little louder than necessary) and she just stopped, chest touching the fence. Whew that coulda been a big wreck

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    1. Whoa is one of those critical skills I find. I'm glad that you and your horse stopped that would have been scary.

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  7. YES! I dream of the day Q will listen to my whoa and cease her moment of blind panic.

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    1. It's easiest to install on the ground but it's not always pretty because they need to understand that there are no other options.

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  8. That's great! Good girl Carmen!

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  9. Ugh, I hate that spin and bolt move! Glad you've got good breaks installed.

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    1. I wasn't really sure of them until Sunday.

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  10. Good girl Carmen! That is such a big step.

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  11. Good job on teaching whoa! Y'all are coming along!
    Discovering that while lunging and doing ground work is key I have found. It is so cool.

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    1. Well my trainer last year really installed it- I've just been building on his work. :)

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  12. Way to be big girl, Carmen!!! (and isn't it nice when you see all your hard work pay off? ;)

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  13. Good job!! You know how often I forget to say whoa? Probably 95%. And, it truly helps them stop. This is a good reminder for me to use it all the time so it's there as an extra brake. She is so wonderfully athletic to be able to spin so fast. I think I would prefer that to some of the issues I'm currently working on. Every horse has an issue or two, or three....

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