dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, January 12, 2018

Being Present


I swear that Mother Nature is messing with us this year. After bitterly cold temperatures we are having a bit of a reprieve. Yesterday was about 6 and today was a balmy 17 degrees (celsius).  Because we have no snow, yesterday was enough to thaw out my ring so I had some high hopes for today.  While it was a bit soft in places and had a few puddles, the footing was actually pretty good.  

I tacked her up and she was reaching for the bit before I had the bridle ready. Given that the the last time I rode was Christmas eve lunging seemed to be a good life choice. I've become very good at reading her so that while she started off pretty calm and obedient I was sure that there was a layer of tension under it all. Sure enough she suddenly bolted in response to...something. A bird? Waving grass? Invisible trolls? Who knows. I immediately stopped moving and stood calmly. Funnily enough I wasn't worried at all. I knew that was in there so it was more of 'I knew that was in there'. We worked a bit in the spooky corner (between E and C, which surprises no one).  We just kept working until she seemed to be more 'with' me. It took somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes. I decided that riding would be fine so I took off the lunge line and took down the stirrups. 

I also needed to think about my goals for the ride. I decided that it made sense to work on my riding goals (from January 10th post). Mostly I wanted to focus on the first two: having a relaxed and effective seat and being 'present' in the saddle so that I was always giving her directions. 

And do you know what? That really worked out well for us. Keeping my brain on what I was doing and giving her directions seemed to help me stay relaxed. Carmen started out tense but nothing too major. Whenever I felt her attention shift away from me I insisted that it return. I played a bit with riding a diamond pattern in half of the ring. This required me to keep her straight and then execute a 1/4 turn on the haunches at the pivot points. I could feel her becoming curious about what we were doing which was fun. We only walked and trotted. I had done some canter on the lunge but wanted to keep this easy.  Whenever I felt her bulge her body away I made sure that my seat was clear that I needed her to go back. She did give one big spin/spook (yes between E and C)  but I was prepared and actually leg yielded her back in mid-spook. That was the end of it. 

We finished by practicing a few shoulder ins to haunches in and vice versa. She did really well. Probably because I was present and giving clear directions. I could really feel how my seat needed to adjust to help her position her body. I rode for about 25 minutes and called it a day. 

#nobodydied
After I gave her a good groom and she gave a shake like they do after they roll. That's when I knew that she had enjoyed it all too.

this is how spent the rest of the day because she exercised and
was without food for almost a whole hour! 
I don't know if I'll get t ride again, even though it's staying warmer until Sunday night. Tonight into tomorrow we're going to get torrential rain so I will have to check the ring. I spent the afternoon making sure that the rain had a way to drain away. Guinness 'helped':


34 comments:

  1. What a lovely ride! Being present in the ride is something I need to work on this year, but I hadn't articulated it quite as well as you. I also got quite a giggle out Guinness "helping" in the mud! Bet a bath was on his schedule afterwards 😂

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    1. I really enjoyed the ride. Given the weather mud is going to be a thing until monday when it will all freeze again.

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  2. SEVENTEEN DEGREES?! HOW.

    We are back down to -25C. Glad you were able to get out there and have a wonderful ride.

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    1. I have no idea. It's been so weird this year. But I am glad I got to enjoy it.

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  3. I cant even imagine that warm. We got a break too but we got +4 and now back to -25 again, they say its gonna get warmer tomorrow and I sure hope so.
    Great ride and Guiness what a charecter

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    1. I won't mind staying around zero- with the frost out of the ground I can still ride in zero but it will probably plummet again.

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  4. 17 degrees and I would be wearing shorts and a tank top! When I woke up it was -32C this morning- plus windchill! Thankfully it's supposed to get back up to -1 tomorrow. We're a long way away from having to deal with mud.

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    1. I settled for fewer layers. I hate when it gets below -10. It's just not fun. If there's snow I don't mind as much because I can snow shoe. I haven't gotten those out yet this year. And the mud will be freezing to return again in March....

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  5. Sounds like a great ride that you both enjoyed. Glad Carmen didn’t starve and was able to get right down to the business of eating afterwards. Guinness is hysterical. I have a shepherd and Aussie I try to keep from “helping “me too much.

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    1. Poor Carmen- it was touch and go for a while there. She's determined to turn into a marshmallow this year. Guinness is having a ball. He has always liked mud. :)

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  6. OMG that is a muddy puppy to have to clean up later!

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    1. The price of living on a farm and have dogs. :)

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  7. OMG that mud. That dog. Do you have a mud room with one of those dog baths in it? I've seen those.

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    1. no we don't. normally when there's mud I have the hose set up and just rinse them outside before coming in. It being winter the hose is put away. But we managed. :)

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  8. I don't envy you the E C thing. Your dog is a mudder! I love how the other dog is standing there condescendingly.

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    1. Yes- he's always loved mud. I can hear my mother saying that he takes after me!

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  9. What horrible monster lives between E and C? Sounds like a lovely ride though. I vaguely remember plus 17. Those were great days.

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    1. Not sure. But we seem to have that issue in every ring. So I decided that how I tackle it has to be different.

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  10. Sounds like a great ride after time off and nice warm weather!! Ohhh the mud though hahaha!!

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    1. It was a nice ride. The mud is the price we pay.

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  11. Aww I love that she gave a big shake after the ride and groom ;)

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  12. Love the way your other dog just stood there and watched, like "what in the world is he doing?"

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    1. Yeah- I found that amusing too because when he was younger d'Arcy would have been in there rolling around!

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  13. I'd say that was a victorious ride after such a long, cold break! I know this year you guys are going to conquer that E/C monster!

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    1. It felt good to me. I am determined that we will conquer it.

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  14. Glad you took the opportunity to ride—it sounds like a lovely one. We’re also experiencing warm temps. I don’t mind the snow, but ice really scares me.

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    1. Ice is very scary. So far we have been lucky this year but I don't expect our luck to last!

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  15. What a wonderful ride on Carmen! I love your observations about her relaxing and getting into the work with you. Such a good girl when she ignores the invisible trolls.

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    1. Thank you! I wanting spring to hurry up!

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  16. I hate how we have to make ourselves be present. That is one of the great things about horses. It all seems to work when we are present. Such good teachers they are.
    Our dogs are similar too! However, Darcy would be a bit more...exuberant.

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    1. It is probably very good for us to learn this lesson. My d'Arcy would have been rolling in it when he was younger. Now he just supervises.

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