dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Walking the Line

This is not new, but I often feel that the line between 'being confrontational' and 'being a pushover' really tricky. Mostly it seems that it goes like this:



green line is the goal, black line is what I do
Carmen is a sensitive mare with a strong will and a total lack of trust that things will be okay.

Okay, so that sounds dire. It really isn't.

We're making progress and I find myself having to figure this whole relaxation thing out. If I just wanted her to do what she was told it would, in some ways, be less of struggle.
tight back, locked neck, stiff strides. 

That winter has settled in and riding is sporadic at best is not helping.

I am determined that we will tackle this whole relax and be supple thing.  It is a process goal.

Today I had a lesson that really tested my resolve. Earlier in the day we could hear ATVs and a chain saw. I believe a family was cutting a Christmas tree. Although they were long gone when I took Carmen up to the ring she was convinced it was a death trap. I was able to get her relaxed and when I mounted she was calm. But she was also pretty clear about where she was going to go in the ring.
nope, not gonna 

Shanea was talking me through keeping my leg on and getting her over but she was a brick wall. Which of course made me try harder and that led to my leg going back. I was getting frustrated because Shanea kept telling me to keep my leg there so she would bend around it and Carmen was telling me to fuck off.

I was working really hard at not grabbing her face, not letting her run, getting her to bend and staying in the saddle and it simply was not working. I finally had to stop and say to Shanea "Look, I know what you're saying and I'm trying. But no matter what my leg does she refuses to listen so telling me to keep it straight is not working". I know that she was trying to help but it felt like I was drowning and someone was standing on the side of the pool saying 'just move your arms, kick your legs and float'. 

In case you think I'm exaggerating:


I didn't feel in danger. But running into the 'nope' was driving me nutty and I really had to fight my desire to just boot her and haul on the inside rein. I did pick up my crop to tap her on the shoulder she was driving against me. Fortunately I had Shanea to help stick with it.

Slowly, millimetre by millimetre we were able to get in tune. It was hard. And took constant focus. I had to be there and ride her like she was being perfect.

But we did get there. I was able to access her back and get her reaching for the bit.



Those are screen shots which are, clearly, cherry picked. I have a ton of video, but I won't bore you with a long clip. Here's a short one of where we ended up:


I think if I had been riding alone I think I would have given up and either dismounted or fell into arguing. I was happy that Shanea was there to help me stick it out.

18 comments:

  1. Seems like the horses have more ups and downs this winter. In our case, it’s because of the changes in temperature. It gets cold, they stand around, then it warms up and they want to play. It’s nice that you had a second pair of eyes today, and you finished the session on a positive note. She’ll probably be great next time you ride.

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    1. The changes in temperature are probably not helping! I hope that you are right but I don't know when I will be able to ride next!

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  2. Love love LOVE those listening ears in the final video.

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    1. Yes, I do too. I'm trying to focus on that.

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  3. That trot at the end looked pretty good!
    What's that saying - something like when you're thinking of giving up, your horse is thinking it too, so keep going?

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    1. That's a good saying! I should put that on a bonnet and put it on her head.

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  4. She really came around at the end! Well done sticking with it - I can't imagine how frustrating it must have been in those many moments before the end! I'm glad Shanea was there to lend support and resolve through the toughest moments!

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    1. She did come around. I wish it didn't take so long!

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  5. Great job sticking with it. The graph at the top is 100% me. I let the horse push me around so I toughen up but then I over compensate and next thing I know I'm being confrontational. Its hard.

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  6. ugh yea that whole firm but fair thing.... it can definitely feel like a fine line! love the graphic haha

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  7. I understand the frustration and how having your instructor there is immensely helpful. It is clear you added another tool to your toolkit that day because the two videos show excellent growth! It was hard and you did it!!

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  8. It is a hard line to walk between being tough and being a push over but you're finding the right balance walking the tightrope. The last video really shows how much she improved at the end of the lesson. One piece at a time until the whole quilt comes together!

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    1. I really hope that we get this quilt altogether. :)

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  9. I think you are learning as much as Carmen is from your sessions. And, again, she is one gorgeous horse. So beautiful and also so lucky to have you as you seem to understand her well.

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    1. I think that she's lucky as well. I am not sure how many would put up with all of her drama. :)

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