|how to tell if it's humid out......|
Carmen and I took Monday off. I used that day to catch up on a ton of chores: emptying the manure cart, cleaning tack, playing with Guinness (clearly the most important thing).
so much joy cannot be contained
I also spent time thinking about the clinic and my conversations with Nikki and Mike. My main take aways were that I needed to be really clear in what I was asking Carmen to do. I couldn't be distracted by other things. Which is easy when you are going over a narrow bridge. When I'm riding in the ring it's easy for my thoughts to wander.
I also need to have expectations that Carmen listen to my aids and follow through. I'm pretty sure that I have been accepting of sloppy answers, which would make everything negotiable.
|also gardening- my hollyhocks have started blooming|
At the walk all was good. She had one spook in an area and I followed the advice to make that spot a work spot and when she began to try/listen reward and move on. Carmen was clearly a bit unsure about this but it went fine. Then I asked for a slow trot and the wheels began to come off. I won't bore you with the blow by blow but she began to ask me all sort of questions about my intent and whether it was reasonable.
I stayed on task and she began to escalate. I found myself in a full on bolt. She was not scared, nor was she running from anything. I think she was doing what normally works to get me to back off except this time I didn't. It was actually a bit frightening- I had zero control and she was just leaning on the bit and going. Since getting off was not an option I sat up and put my leg on steering her in a circle. I don't know how many circles we did (5? 10? 732?) but finally I pulled her up. I almost hopped off but didn't.
I took a deep breath and went back to work. It was, frankly, a bit of a shit show but I gritted my teeth and was clear that this was what I wanted and that was not the correct answer. The tricky part was to reward when did soften. And over the ride she began to soften again. When Ed asked me how my ride was I said 'great in the beginning, sucky in the middle and great at the end'. Which was accurate.
That night I changed out the bit to one that is a bit thinner although still a broken snaffle with a peanut in the middle. I just need something with a bit more leverage because clearly she has no respect for the Stubben golden wing.
Today I headed out early again. There was a plane circling around us for the whole ride (they were looking for an escaped fugitive but that's a different story. 2020 I am so fucking over you). I started with groundwork, except this time instead of focussing on getting her relaxed I focussed on her working. I wondered if the groundwork was not translating to under saddle because the GW was all about relaxation and the riding was about work. So I asked her to work. Nothing major- just if I put you on a trot or canter on the lunge keep going until I say stop.
This time mounted I felt much more focussed and aware of what I was doing. I made it crystal clear when it was what I wanted and when it wasn't. Listening led to a break (standing with a long rein). If she moved when I asked her to whoa I simply put her back. And then back. And back again until she would stand.
Here's the interesting part- she spooked at nothing. I was paying particular attention to her signals that a spook might be coming and reacted immediately. I'm sure you wondering how I reacted? It depended- it usually starts with a stiffening so I asked her to bend and would not give up until she did. As soon as she bent a teeny bit I released. Timing of the release is so critical. I visualized the straight line I wanted and made sure I got it.
It was a completely different ride. I also noticed that she responded well to the new bit too. If I asked for a downward transition she was much more respectful of it. I was standing at G after doing a walk half-pass giving her a break on a long rein. We heard some children shouting next door and she tensed and lifted her head. I simply picked up the rein lightly and she immediately dropped her head and softened. With that I hopped off and gave her a pat.
Clearly I have been too wishy-washy. Which I forgive myself for because I was worried that there was a physical issue. But now that I know that there is not I need to work on myself.
|I didn't take a photo during the ride but she could|
have cared less bout the plane circling overhead- even
when it came quite low over top of us