dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Fun in the Sun

Yesterday Julia asked if it would be a good day to ride. I was in the city for the day but figured that it would be good for all of us. It made for a busy day- driving back, walking the dogs (playing with the cutest gray kitten ever), getting supper organized and then riding but it was totally worth it.

I did more inhand work with Carmen. She's continuing to get worked up about side passing over the pole. I am not sure why it makes the hamster fall of the wheel in her brain so I am foregoing riding it and just keeping it low key on the ground. That seems to work for her when I can stretch things like this out over time. And I am not in any sort of hurry for it anyway.

It was interesting trying to get her to not rush her walk with Irish in the ring so that was excellent practice to keep me focussed. I can feel how much it brings her back to me when I insist that she slow down. If she wants to catch up she can take bigger strides, not faster ones.

I am starting to love that center pole arrangement I made in the ring- it's just so versatile.



angles are a bit different in real life 
I can the full long diagonal and not hit a pole as long as I stay perfectly straight  on the line. For the short diagonals I trot over the poles. I can leg yield and then go through the center or go through the center and leg yield or try to miss it entirely. I can use it to school counter canter too which is fun.  I can trot thought, halt, turn on the forehand or haunches and trot back. It doesn't get in the way of schooling figures- it can just be incorporated.

Once going across the short diagonal at a trot Carmen leaped over and scurried off. Clearly I needed to add a half-halt in there so we repeated it and it was perfect. I can feel her lift her back and carry herself which is beneficial to building her topline.

Carmen, while not enthused to come out at first, grew to enjoy or work more and more. It's not like our work was perfect and we had a few bobbles but I could feel her really trying for me and that makes life so much easier and riding so much more fun. I am not against insisting on things but I really prefer it when things are not one battle after another.

Our cantering is really improving by leaps and bounds (ha ha- get it?) and she's doing much better mentally about cantering into and through corners. Or I'm sitting up better or whatever. I'll take it.
this is so much fun to ride

The weather was quite warm and the bugs were becoming bad. That may have helped in keeping her motivated to keep going. It certainly worked with me. Irish was also looking really good as well.

I decided to do a run through of First Level Test 1 so see if a)if I really did have it memorized and b) how it rode. There are some different diagonals in this test compared to the last time I rode it (years ago). I rode it all the way through like I would at a show. I have practiced pieces of it but haven't put it all togehter yet. It rode really well and Carmen tried her little heart out for me. We missed our first canter depart - she picked up the wrong lead. I think it was because she wasn't sure about the corner and I wasn't clear in my aids. I simply brought her back and corrected it and carried on like I would in a test.  She is clearly getting the idea of lengthens and it starting to anticipate. Which is both a positive and a negative. However, she is so much more adjustable in her striding. I was thrilled with our stretchy trot. She really stretched out over her back. I just need to keep the speed slower - it gets faster as we go on the circle.

After doing that I was happy to give her a pat and a break. I walked over and dropped the gate. She started to get a bit fussed about rushing it but I simply laughed at her and asked her to slow down and she did. Honestly- this mare feeds off people getting frustated but if you laugh at her she immediately relaxes. We headed out to do a quick hack in the woods. Carmen led for part and Irish for the other part. Even when we spooked a couple rabbits in the brush she simply startled in place and kept going. Carmen did want to get Irish to canter up the hill to 'home' but we all kept her in line.

Both horses required a hose off because of the humidity but no one was out of breath.

I love that the rides are becoming the escape rather than a chore.

16 comments:

  1. I really love that picture! So joyful :)

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    1. I could ride that canter forever

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  2. awesome that putting all the pieces of the test together felt so good! i tend to ride just segments of tests as opposed to the whole thing, but then have been taken by surprise when it rides a little harder all at once lol....

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    1. I usually just do pieces but I do like a run through so that I can realize where there's potential for mishaps.

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  3. I'm so happy that riding is back to being your happy place and that Carmen has become such a good partner for you -- you are reaping the benefits of all your hard work and it's so fun to read about!

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  4. I used clicker training for Phantom to teach her the sidepass over poles. I didn't try it for quite a while under saddle but when I did she figured it really quickly. She likes to turn these types of things into speed events so the hardest thing for her is to slow it all down to one step at a time, which I can do with the clicker.

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    1. Not a bad idea. What I realized that it might be related to way back when I had to have a Royce out to make her less dangerous. He did a lot of sidepassing and it just might have a negative connotation for her. I am sure that going slow will help her calm down.

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  5. I love this line the most: "I love that the rides are becoming the escape rather than a chore." What a truly wonderful place to be - especially with Carmen after all of your hard work to this point <3

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    1. Thank you. It's nice to not have to worry about being hurt so much anymore. You know what it's like from your own experience.

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  6. I think riding for escape is the perfect thought.

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  7. Sidepassing over poles did the same to Leah and most horses I ride with. I tell everyone what worked for me and so far it has helped others, too. Maybe you’ve already tried this. If so, disregard!

    I have her step over the pole towards the end of the pole where it only takes one successful step sidepassing to get out. Then I make a big deal when she does. Each time you do it, start further and further in. Eventually, we could start at the beginning of the pole and sidepass to the end, but it took days building up. Before that, she was always so freaked out that we made negative progress, but breaking it down solved it for us and others.

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    1. I love this! I'm going to try it- I'm sure that it will work!

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  8. What a creative and versatile pole set up! I think I have to steal it. I can think of so many ways to incorporate it into lessons. Thank you for sharing!

    Also, I love BIGGER steps instead of FASTER ones.

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    1. Thank you- I am finding it really useful in a lot of ways.
      And thinking bigger instead of faster is really helping me stay on track.

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