dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Friday's Lesson- Lateral Work

I had arranged a lesson with Shanea on Friday. I meant to be up the ring warming up before she came but we had a mix up in the time so I was tacking up when she arrived.  I had brought out my tests from my show for her to review so she read those while I finished getting ready.

It was a beautiful spring day- sunny with a light breeze. Carmen was being quite spooky on the approach to troll corner as the bushes were fluttering in the breeze.  The goal was to get her to ride forward when I ask. Which is something easier said then done. I am getting better at riding her forward and not being tense. But of course I am tense at times - which doesn't mean I don't know that I"m not supposed to be. To honest at this point it's not about being afraid but frustration at times. Again- don't lecture me that frustration has no place in the saddle. I know that too. But being human it will creep in at times.

I realize that I'm making this about frustration when it wasn't really. There were moments. Shanea wanted me to work on free walk and we walked across the diagonal and I tried to give her a long rein but I could feel her getting tighter and her head came up with her neck locked. Shanea asked me to drop the rein and I said 'no'. I don't usually say 'no' to someone coaching me but I wasn't feeling safe in the moment and was not dropping the rein. I don't care if she bolts forward but she's far more likely to drop her shoulder and spin sideways and I didn't want to eat the dirt.

Again, I realize that it's all sounding negative. But it really was a good lesson. We worked on using shoulder fore to keep Carmen focussed and on the aids and not on what she wanted to focus on. For me we're making real progress in getting her to listen even when she thinks she shouldn't.

Shanea took some photos on my phone and here are the good and bad.

Here we are with Carmen being clearly behind the leg. You can see her retracted neck and her hind legs out behind her. I'm sure my leaning forward is not helping. Not tipping forward when she gets tight is a work in progress with me and one that still requires conscious thought. I have the inside rein against the neck so she doesn't duck in (which she really wanted to do). I don't know if this was just before one of her spooks inward but it pretty clearly telegraphs how we look right before that happens.

About 1 minute later and much better. We're in a shoulder fore and she's moving forward. Her hind leg is reaching under her. Her neck is still a bit short but she's reaching for the bit so I'll take it.  The struggle is if I give the inside rein she will turn her head and look at what she wants rather then carry it forward. But as we worked it got better and softer and easier.
 It was an interesting exercise: come out of the corner in shoulder fore, right that for a few strides,  straighten her for a few strides and then ask again. It was much harder at the walk then the trot. Most likely because the forward momentum in trot helps and at the walk there's more time to think about things.  I could feel how this exercise helped her to relax and shift her focus to me rather then other things. It's not a new exercise for me - Karen uses it as well for much the same purpose.

I like this photo. I will be much happier with myself when I let the rein out a bit. It feels like a good length but I think I could give her more. Her weight could be more back on her hind legs but frankly, I would have been thrilled with this photo not so long ago.

 Here we go: relaxing into the work and getting our heads in the game.

I love this one. I think I'm even smiling.

We finished the lesson working on leg yields. It was fun to do. No video (I'll try for next time). Our work on this has changed from 'just go sideways' to controlling where the haunches and shoulders are. She's become much more adjustable it the moment and it's really to feel how a shift here and there and have her adjust in response. 


 Not bad- she's reaching and her hind legs are not too far behind.
 Totally over bent (cut off my inside hand) and so unable to carry herself correctly
But I love this one. 

Overall it was great lesson with lots of things coming together. I was quite happy with it and I've been really enjoying my rides on Carmen. I know that sounds contradictory to what I wrote above but I really am having fun. The times I'm not are now the exception instead of the rule. 

Which is great because we've another show coming up in a couple weeks. 

I can't wait. 


24 comments:

  1. I read the whole thing, really, but a voice behind the words I read just kept marveling how pretty Carmen is... #HorzGirlz

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    1. Thank you. She is a lovely girl.

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  2. Good lateral work is a good feeling! :)

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    1. It really is- you can feel the connection undergo.

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  3. The pictures capture the different phases so well. And Carmen is just a gorgeous looking girl.

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  4. Carmen is STUNNING and it sounds like you guys had a really, really productive lesson!

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    1. It was a very productive lesson. Now to reproduce it on my own.

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  5. What an incredible horse. Great work Teresa!

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    1. Thank you Wendy. She's certainly growing into herself.

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  6. You guys are looking amazing! I do the exact same tipping forward thing when Katai get's tight so I know exactly how frustrating it is haha.

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    1. It's becoming rediculous. I think I need to hang a sign between her ears!

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  7. Those photos where she's working well and you're smiling are wonderful! There are always going to be "meh" moments and photos (for all of us!), but it's fun to see how relaxed and steady Carmen is becoming as she trusts you and you guys work together. Lovely!

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    1. Thank you Leah. You are right- there will always be 'meh' moments.

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  8. These photos really show everything coming together. Wow!

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  9. You two look SHARP. I love her in the black attire and WOW those high steppin' forelegs. Such a gorgeous mare!

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    1. thank you- as long as I keep her together (mentally) we have great work

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  10. You two look SO DAMN GOOD together!!! What a difference from last year. And, yes, that last picture really captures the balance and togetherness. You're going to be quite a team come that show. Love the braids!!

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  11. Great photos! I know you commented on a recent post of mine about how you'd lived through rides like that. I totally feel the same way reading some of your posts! Especially about not tensing up being easier said than done, and lots of conscious thought required to avoid tipping forward.

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    1. These sensitive, reactive, opinionated mares are not for the faint of heart.

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  12. You two look great in the photos, I understand (and relate) to being nit picky, but you two really do look awesome these days!

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  13. She really is a beautiful mare. I feel like I've met women just like Carmen, and from personal experience, those tough-exterior ladies end up making the most loyal friends.

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