dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, June 2, 2017

Throwing in the Towel: One Year Later

Today is the anniversary of a turning point with Carmen. Feel free to read if you like but in sum I realized that Carmen was becoming dangerous for me to ride and I was done. Done with all of it. I called in a trainer and if it didn't work out I was going to sell her. My rant to Ed was:
I've put in fucking hours and hours. I've worked, taken lessons, worked some more and we're still at the same fucking place we were last year. I'm done. I want to show. I want to ride and not worry that I'll be dumped. I want to have some fun AND I WANT STEELE BACK. I'm tired of mourning him and my mother and dealing with shit. 

It's been quite the year. There are numerous posts about the ups and downs we experienced. I had to park my ego at the gate and listen to other perspectives. I had to be brave and ride even when I didn't want to. I did hours and hours of ground work.

And where are we now?

Carmen ground ties. She self-loads into the trailer and she whoas when I ask her to. She understands what I'm asking her for and it doesn't freak her out anymore.

And she's still dramatic. And will test me. But I'm not as worried about it anymore.

Today I rode her after the farrier left. The wind picked up and was gusty. I figured it would keep the bugs away. I had just finished tacking her up when I heard rain on the roof.
Me: Is that rain? 
Carmen:  Yes. Too bad. You will have to untack me. And I was so looking forward to it too. 
Me: It looks like it's just over the barn and no where else.....
Carmen:  and I requested that it be larger...
Me: Pardon? 
Carmen:  Oh, nothing I was just talking to myself.  Now where were we? Oh yes, you were about to untack me and turn me back out. 
Me: I think that it will be fine. Let's risk it. 
Carmen:  Darn it. 

 The leaves are now in and the grass is tall around the ring. This means that there are lots of things that move and potentially spooky. And she was. Spooky that is.

But this time instead of me feeling helpless to work through it and scared that I would be hurt I just rode her through it. I am refusing to avoid any part of the ring and I am sticking to the plan. I am better (not perfect) at not buying into worrying about the same things that she is. So if she's all 'ohmygod what is hiding in the grass?! We're all going to die" I refuse to worry about the grass too (as in ohmygod she's going to freak when we go by that grass!"). Instead I focus on what I was asking
Hey, we're going into the corner and you need to be bent around my inside leg, not gawking out of the ring".

I'm not afraid to make my point either. I ask lightly but will use as strong an aid as required to make my point.  And then let go. I don't get upset - although I might get momentarily flustered. The ring is the ring and she has to work in there. It's not about making her tired or bullying.

So my ride today was full of energy and some spooks (but no bolts) and we finished on a good note. And no one died.

And no towels were thrown.

If we ride here we can ride anywhere

43 comments:

  1. Your progress in a year is simply inspiring -- I can't wait to see where you and Carmen are in another year!

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    1. Thank you! I have high hopes for us.

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  2. I remember your post from a year ago. I'm so glad it's worked out.

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  3. So glad things are working out for you and Carmen. I think she is a gorgeous horse. How's the puppy? You know I come here looking for him too.

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    1. The puppy is awesome. I will put up an update later. I promise. :)

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    1. Thank you! The blogging community was a big moral support.

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  5. That's amazing perseverance. I didn't have that kind of bravery and I didn't ride for 10 years. Major kudos to you and for turning Carmen into a nice horse.

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    1. I can be a bit, um, stubborn, at times. But it works for me. :)

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  6. Glad it worked out with Carmen. Now for the important part, puppy, puppy, puppy!

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    1. LOL okay okay. I will see what I can do.

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  7. Great job! Glad you didn't throw in the towel You've come a long way and so has she. Congratulations!

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    1. We have travelled down a road together that's for sure.

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  8. Yes this has been a big year for you. So many changes for the good, glad you didn't throw in the towel

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  9. LOVE That you are a TEAM now :D (and that groundwork sure does pay off in the end :)

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  10. When I first read that original post it made me very sad. I was pulling for you and Carmen to be a team. Now look! Congrats to the two of you.

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  11. I didn't find you until after that but I'm so glad you stuck it out. You two look great together. I can't wait to see where you go from here

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  12. It's so good for all of us readers when you compare those perspectives back to back. It's always darkest before the dawn, right? There are times it's right to say, this is not the horse for me and find a better fit, but often, it's the worst before we are set to make huge progress forward. I've always thought the only way to tell which is which is if you're wanting to get back in the saddle despite all the fuckery. That one thing represents such a bigger question--do you have the passion for this particular horse. Did you ever have that person in childhood that you fought with, but then you became the deepest friends? Kind of reminds me of that. The fighting or butting heads really reveals a deep feeling for one another. Are you drawn back? Drawn deeper in? That's where the heart horse gets the "heart" part.

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    1. You have such a way with words. It was interesting for me to re-read that post and see where we are.

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  13. That is a long way to come in just one year :) I am so glad.

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    1. At times it seemed that progress was in millimetres!

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  14. I love your little Carmen conversations, but I love even more that so much good has happened this past year and Carmen is shaping up to be the horse you wanted :))

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  15. Oh gosh I remember that post! Congrats on one incredible year of learning, hard work and undeniable bonding you and Carmen have gone through. And this year you get to enjoy it!

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    1. thank Wendy. You have a great point.

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  16. Your perseverance and your resulting relationship is inspirational.

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  17. I had just started following your blog when you lost Steele, and my heart broke for you. I know there's no "replacing" anyone or any being that we truly love, but how wonderful it's been to follow your progress with the beauty, Carmen.

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    1. thank you- and you're right, it's not about replacing it's about being able to still love.

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  18. It's amazing what persistence, flexibility in perspective, and time can do. So happy for you that your and Carmens relationship turned the corner!

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    1. Thank you. I really had my doubts at times.

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  19. You have done an amazing job with Carmen!

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  20. That kind of progress is slow but so so important. My mare isn't quite as dramatic as Carmen but I feel like I've been dealing with the same kind of things. Riding in all parts of the ring on a windy day is totally an accomplishment!

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