dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Clinic Recap: There is Hope for Us After All

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 Disclaimer: This recap is based on my memory and understanding of what Cindy Ishoy taught. It is very likely that I got some things wrong so any disagreements/judgements should be on me not Cindy.
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Unfortunately there is no media for this ride. But trust me when I say that it was so much better than the day before.
in place of media here's Guinness -
he wouldn't leave my side when I got home.  I swear
that his body does match his head. 


On Friday I was scheduled for the third ride at 9:15. The first lesson was at 7:45 which meant that we had to get Cindy to the barn really early. Needless to say I was not as well rested as I was for the day before. However, I still had lots of time to have coffee and then get Carmen ready.

We stood in the 'on deck' area while the person before me was finishing up her lesson. Cindy told me that I could come in and walk around. I used that time to do some in hand work and get ourselves tuned to one another.

When I mounted Carmen was a bit tight and tense. She had decided that her 'spooky spot' was the round bale of hay down by A. Now, to be completely honest, I was not believing that she found this object really scary. For one thing we had been riding, walking and lunging by it for two days. Second she has one right outside her stall.  She sees it every day and walks by it every time I bring her out to groom. I truly believe that it's become part of our routine that she picks a spooky spot.

Frankly it's driving me a bit nutty. But I am determined that we will make progress on this this year. And I was happy that it was happening with Cindy there because I was looking for guidance.

Essentially that guidance was more bend and forward. What I realized was that Carmen does not want to bend away from what is spooking her and I'm not as determined with it as I should be. Bending her neck, sure, but I give up on bending her body.

So when Cindy had me insisting on bending her going past the round bale Carmen took exception and gave a little bronc in place. Cindy had me getting her forward and said that Carmen was being 'rude'. Which she was.

But don't think that the whole ride was about that- it really was just that one spot. Cindy had us moving forward, bending and changing directions. We were doing lots of trotting and cantering. I felt more balanced and with her then the day before. She felt more with me and supple.

It seemed that there were more people there and Cindy got after one person who ran up the stairs and startled Carmen. Again, I was okay with it as I need her to not expect that the universe will align for her all the time.

There wasn't anything new in terms of what we were working on- it was about forward, bend and transitions in the bend. That was very difficult for Carmen - especially to the right. Cindy spent a lot of time making sure that we were aligned and then asking for it. If we didn't get it right she never got upset, just had us go back to trot, establish the rhythm and bend and then ask again.

I thought that my right leg was going to fall off. Clearly Carmen was not respecting it. I was likely not as aligned in the saddle as I should be either. Finally it began to click for us and things began to flow. At one point I said 'ahhh' as I asked for a bend going into the corner and she actually did it and we went through the corner like we were supposed too. There was some laughing in the gallery but it didn't seem derisive- more like 'oh yeah, we know what you mean'.

We were able to change rein and do bending lines with more accuracy (Cindy is very very keen on accuracy. In that she reminded me of Johanna). Gradually the round bale became less and less important and we were doing more and more down in that area.

Aside:  Cindy was in love with Carmen's tail and said that she wanted that tail on all of her horses.
it is a lovely tail (photo by Cindy M on Thursday)

You know that feeling when you horse relaxes over the back and is tuned in to you? I love that feeling. It's like flying and floating all at the same time. The time between the aid and the response disappears until it seems simultaneous. I could feel a 'give' in Carmen. Not a learned helplessness give but more like she was willing to let me make decisions without endless debates/discussions.

I even got a few compliments on my riding from Cindy which was very very nice.

I have no idea how much time had passed but Cindy said 'I think we should leave that there'. Carmen and I both said 'thank god' and I'm not sure it was just our inside voices.

I clarified a few things with Cindy to make sure I understood so I could take it home with me and then walked her around on a long rein. And Carmen went everywhere in the ring on the long rein, even by the round bale. I could feel her look at it and then think never mind.

Aside: Usually when I ride I set my fitbit to 'workout'. That way I can track my time and heart rate. I totally forgot to do it so when I synced it with my app it showed that it thought I had been running for about an hour. I'm surprised that it didn't send me a text asking if I was okay.

After a few people came up to tell me that they saw a real difference between Thursday and Friday. One of those people was Jane, a person whose opinion I value and respect.

I left shortly after lunch to head home. As I was driving I was thinking about the clinic. While initially the timing seemed horrible given how little work we had done I think that it turned out to be perfect. Carmen and I were just getting into our spring discussion of whether she actually needed to work or not. I think that Cindy helped us short circuit that (that will be confirmed when I ride her at home tomorrow).  Even if we still have that discussion again I feel that I have more confidence on dealing with it. It's so easy to second guess yourself when you are riding alone and decide that you are doing it all wrong.

Carmen unloaded quietly and headed out to her field to relax. Irish was happy to see her but he wasn't as silly as he has been in the past so maybe he's getting used to us going away. I was so tired but I grabbed a beer out of the fridge and began to unpack the trailer. Guinness was big help by bringing me many sticks to throw. According to him I owed him a lot of throws to make up for leaving. The lovely thing about owning a trailer is that I can leave it outside of the barn and park it the next day.

Ed was out but sent me a text saying that he was brining home pizza for supper. As we ate pizza he listened to my describing the clinic like he was actually interested and didn't even yawn. Not once. See why I love that man?


28 comments:

  1. I'm glad you had such a good clinic, you and Carmen are a great pair. And it's good that you have Guiness doing his own clinics, he is clearly getting you properly trained:)

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    1. Guinness is doing a great job teaching me the essentials. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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  2. It sounds like y'all made great progress in two days. And hell yeah to short-circuiting Carmen to getting on board with working! And you're very lucky to have a husband who brings home pizza and listens to your recap! How lovely.

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    1. I was surprised at how much progress we made. And also thrilled.

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  3. I can't think of a better way to gear up for the riding season! :-)

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    1. Me either. I am rethinking my previous philosophy of working by myself first.

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  4. so many great insights and takeaways! i know what you mean about feeling like the timing was actually really useful - like it was a good opportunity to check in and 'take the temperature' in a way of where things stand with Carmen coming out of winter. glad you got so much out of it and hopefully it's all easy to put to work in your normal riding!!

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    1. I gained a ton of pointers and information

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  5. The spring discussion about work—now, I do understand that conversation very well!! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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    1. I bet that you do. I’m glad that I’m not alone.

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  6. What a great weekend! G also mostly stays awake while I talk horses - a very important skill ;)

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    1. It was a great weekend. G sounds like a treasure.

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  7. Sounds like you had a good clinic. It's always nice to work with a talented clinician. Guinness is adorable.

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    1. It was great. And Guinness is a wonderful dog.

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  8. Your weekend sounds great! I've been reading your posts but my ipad hates posting on blogger and I was too lazy to turn on my computer this weekend... I think the clinic sounds like a huge success. And Carmen's tail is incredible! My husband nods and manages not to yawn, but if I ask a follow up question I find that he often zones off... So I'm very impressed by Ed actually paying attention!

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    1. I hear you on trying to comment via iPad. I doubt that Ed remembers anything that I said. I'm just impressed that he doesn't yawn. :D

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  9. Guinness has quite a lot of black, handsome boy.
    Carmens' tail is impressive.
    I have to brag about my Morgans though, both the pure Morgans have tails that grow past ground length & have to be trimmed. I trim carefully, not bang the tail off straight, but cut so that it looks as natural as possible. In the tick season* , I take the tails up above the fetlock, but the rest of the year I usually let the sweep just above the ground.
    Oddly though, Mr Shoes' 1/2 Morgan (1/2 Traekener) mare has much less tail. I would say she Definitely has a generous tail compared to some breeds (like those who are often shown only with a false tail attachment), but he tail is easy to groom & does not require trimming, whereas my Morgans tails will twist themselves into dreadlocks within a couple of weeks (never tell a farm sitter that they don't need to groom the horses - lesson learned).
    * (Because ticks climb up whatever they can reach, and those little bastards are merciless chompers of the tail end. If a person doesn't take really(!) great care, the poor tail end can be one big bloody, scabby sore!)

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    1. Carmen's tail will go into dreadlocks all the time. It drives me nutty. I have to use a lot of conditioner to keep it from doing that.

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  10. I always used to test the level of attention paid to my horsey conversation by adding in "and then an alligator bit my leg off and blood squirted everywhere..."

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    1. LOL, I love that. I should try it.

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  11. I love those breakthrough moments! Sounds like the clinic was just what was needed <3

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    1. It really was! I knew I would get something out of it but not that I would get that much!

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  12. What a fabulous end to a fabulous weekend!

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    1. I was very happy. Tired. But happy.

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  13. This sounds like such a lovely clinic experience! Breakthroughs are the best...and so are SOs that listen to us go on and on about the things we love. ;) And I have used Calm's technique myself...lol

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    1. I am definitely going to try Calm's technique to see what happens.

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  14. What a wonderful way to end a clinic! Way to go for both of you!! I've actually started to use the bending with Annie going past spooky things (because it's Spring and everrrrrything is scary).

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  15. It's so good to see your work with Carmen going so well. I know Carmen must be a happy horse too.

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