dancing horses

dancing horses

Monday, June 29, 2015

Contract Negotiations

I've been sticking firm to my plan to school Carmen regularly.

(That gives me lots of fodder for my blog so I apologize for the frequent posts. However, this also acts as a training diary so that I can look back and see how far we've come. )

Today was the sixth consecutive day of us working together. As we headed up to the ring Irish decided that he was NOT happy being left behind and began to run around the paddock. I decided that that was a good thing - you never know when there might be a melt down in the warm up ring so this gave us a chance to work through it.

do not let that innocent face fool you
I sent her to work on the lunge- we typically go up and down the ring working on transitions. I've introduced the idea of her changing direction on the lunge. She's starting to get it but it's a work in progress. When she seemed attentive and focussed I put on her bridle and heading to the mounting block. By then Irish had stopped running around like a fool and was dozing quietly down by the barn.

For the past 3 times  Carmen has stood rock solid while I mounted. Today, as I went to put my foot in the stirrup she walked off.
Me: What are you doing? 
Carmen: I've decided that standing at the block is no longer part of my contract. 
Me: oh it certainly is
Carmen: no. I don't like it and I don't think I should have to.
Me: Not only is it part of your contract, it's a non-negotiable. This is the hill I want to die on. 
Carmen: ....
Me: It's a figure of speech- it's not meant to be taken literally. 
Carmen: Oh. 

I repeated the work that we had done in the past but she was determined to not stand still. So I put her halter back on (over her bridle) and we went back to ground work. I put her butt into work and the only time she was allowed to rest was when we stood by the mounting block. I would let her stand there as long as she chose and as soon as she moved away we went back to work. After a few times when she was standing still I slipped off her halter and mounted.

We then went to work under saddle. It was a good ride. We had our spooky moments and Irish began to run around again which got her upset. I didn't try to hold her still, but put her into trot and then directed the energy so that she had to focus on me. We were getting some very nice walk-trot-walk work. I asked her for a left lead canter and she picked it up as sweet as you please. After a few circles I brought her back to trot and then we walked on a long rein.

 I then switched direction and asked for a trot. When I asked for right canter she gave a buck and then leapt into it. She hesitated going by the bushes and when I asked her to move forward she gave a couple more bucks. Now I'm sure that I was gripping with my lower leg and I tried to let it go, but do you know what your legs say when you ask them to not grip a bucking horse? Well I won't tell you but I will say that my grandmother would be appalled at their language.  I was finally able to convince them to come off and rode on. I asked for the transition a few more times until it wasn't a buck and then gave her lots of praise.

I hopped off and we headed back to the mounting block.....

Once again she would not stand while I mounted. I spent the next little while getting on and off. I was determined that I was not going to end until she stood still. After what seemed like forever, she stood and moved one step when I got on. I gave her some praise and got off. I then took her back to block and got on. I felt her start to go forward and then stop herself. When I got on she stood perfectly still.

There. Happy now? 
Yes. Very. Thank you. 

I dismounted and headed back to the barn. I check my phone- we had been working for 90minutes. Definitely our longest session. I hosed her off and then let her back out to the paddock.

 At supper time I went out and remembered that I needed to deworm them. I threw a halter on Irish out in the field and gave him the wormer. He's very good about it. I put a halter on Carmen but there was no way she was letting me put that awful stuff in her mouth. After trying a few times I brought her down to the barn. I stood her in the aisle and then put a chain lead up over her nose so that I had my regular rope one but the chain if I needed it.

Me: I know it tastes awful but it's for your own good and you ARE getting de-wormed
Carmen: Yes ma'am

And she took it as meek as you please. I didn't need the chain nor did I have to correct her. Later I wiped off her mouth and she was a sweet as pie.

such a sweet face. She reminds me of that rhyme about the
girl with the curl.....

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