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.
|this is how spent the rest of the day because she exercised and |
was without food for almost a whole hour!