|Sorry- no recent media so I used this photo from my last lesson in August|
Yesterday I came home from work and tacked her up. It had been a bit of a stressful day and there are no signs of it letting up until November. I had no agenda in mind- I just wanted to lose myself in the rhythm and enjoy being outside.
When I headed up to the ring I could hear a loud metallic clanking and banging but couldn't see where it came from. I texted Ed to ask if he could see it but he said he had no idea. After the first spook Carmen seemed okay so I mounted and we walked off. As soon as we started walking she began to blow- a sign of her relaxing herself. I have spent a ton of time getting her to blow and here she was seeking it right away.
Troll corner was a non-issue. She had one spook and I don't even know what it was. As she spun away I simply said 'Oh dear did something scare you?' We circled back and it was not problem. I am doing so much better with riding relaxed but not passively. Which seems to be exactly what she needs.
We did about 40 minutes of walk and trot. Carmen was not excited or hot. In fact she was positively sedate. At some point that may also be an issue but for now it was just what I needed.
I walked her over to the gate and she stopped while I reached down to pick up the board. She walked forward 3 steps as I directed and waited for me to drop it. I then backed her up and moved it some more. She waited each step for my direction and then we walked out.
Instead of heading to the barn I turned right and went around the fields and into the woods. This would be our second solo hack. I took my time and chatted to her the whole way. That was mostly to warn any wildlife that we were coming. She was definitely alert but not tense. We did a couple trails and then went around the bottom of the field and up the hill. The only thing she looked askance at was the garden. It's almost done and the dead plants were piled up. But she still walked by it.
I dismounted and just then a huge dump truck piled high with garbage pulled out of the woods across the street. Phew. It was quite the sight going down the road.
I am so impressed with this change in how she and I are working together. I think that last puzzle piece fell into place at the last show. You know- the show I was freaking out about. Competing has forced us out of our comfort zone and drilled down to specific issues. Each time I travelled off-site for a clinic or a competition I learned something new. I feel that I'm no longer trying to convince her to listen to me. Instead she's looking to me. Obviously she still have opinions- she is Carmen after all but we are feeling more like a partnership.
I am getting comfortable saying that Carmen is a horse who can have a big spook but she's not a spooky horse. I hope that makes sense to you but it does to me.
|Who is this horse? She's mine.|