Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we
Spoiler alert: I had the best weekend.
It all started with my hack out on Friday.
Saturday was my birthday and I had plans for the day that probably only would seem great to fellow farm/horse owners. Things like cleaning all the old hay and poop out of the small paddock. I put the horses up in the riding ring to eat the grass growing in around the edges while I did that. They were happy to oblige and I was happy to get a winters worth of crap out of the way.
The other plan was, of course, to ride. I tacked Carmen up and took her up to the ring. We did a bit of ground work and it was clear she was feeling pretty mellow. My goal, as per my plan this year, was to see where she was mentally and then work from there.
and you know what?
She was right there.
In the past our rides would be like:
Carmen: let's see- the grass is moving so clearly there are monsters lurking...
Carmen: crap, is that a pterodactyl? where are my exits?
Carmen: shit, I have to watch the grass, the trees, the skies. Danger lurks everywhere, better safe than sorry.
Carmen: OH MY GOD, STOP YELLING AT ME. I HAVE ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT WITHOUT YOU UP THERE BEING ALL BOSSY. Screw this, I'm out.
Instead we had a ride that I can only describe as a conversation the whole time. She jumped once and then walked up to see what it was (a bird). Once she stopped to survey the next field. I looked too and said oh look carmen- it's a bald eagle! Isn't it beautiful? (yes, literally I said that).
She looked and sighed and carried on. We went everywhere and she was great.
I found a spot that was perfect and decided to stop. I could have kept going (I had things I would have liked to school) but I'm trying to find a good spot to end. I find that this is helping her look to be good because it is rewarded (not sure if that makes sense, but it does to me). After I sat on the deck and cleaned tack.
|strutting. I know she above the vertical but she's taking me |
forward with energy and I will take it.
Saturday night Ed and I went out to dinner with some good friends. It was so much fun to eat and drink and talk and laugh.
I had also booked a lesson for 8:30. Shanea had wanted 8:00 but I negotiated later because I knew I was going to be out late. The morning was windy and cold (although sunny). I was sorry because I figured that my ride would be very different. Shanea arrived early and I was still tacking up. I refuse to rush because it never works out. I was also a little tired from partying.
Carmen blew me out of the water: she was exactly the same as the day before. In fact, she was better.
She was walking around all confident and easy going.
Like who is this mare?
here she is doing a free walk down the side that created so much emotion in the fall:
Compare that to this from last fall:
We worked on simple walk-trot-walk transitions. Keeping her with me and supple over the back. It went very well. I was losing the bend in the corners and Shanea advised me to use my inside leg and my outside knee to keep the shoulder from falling out. It worked like a charm.
We found a good spot to end and stopped. Carmen was pleased with herself. I was pleased with her and Shanea was pleased with both of us.
I love how much fun riding is becoming. I love how relaxed and affectionate Carmen is getting. I can place my hand on her neck and she immediately relaxes.
I know that treating the ulcers was a major piece of this. But taking the pain away was only part. I needed to work through the loss of trust and habits that have been in place for a long time. I credit working through the TRT stuff with a lot of this. I can see her confidence growing and it makes my heart glow.