I've also realized that I need to work with her much more often and consistently. It's been hard- between work and the weather- to schedule ring time. I've decided that I need to be more playful about it. This requires me to look at the weekly weather forecast and my weekly schedule and plan what days I'm going to work with her. My goal is for it to be5-6 times per week. Even if it's just 15 minutes of lunging.
Which brings me to the title of this blog post.
Tuesday I rushed home from work and ran into the house. As I came downstairs in my riding clothes Ed looked at me and said 'what about supper?'.
'Save some for me' I said and headed out to the barn. I brought the horses in and tacked up Carmen. I wasn't sure if I would actually ride but I wanted to be ready. In the end I didn't ride. The wind was wild and Carmen was not impressed with the blowing leaves and branches. I decided that the day was about helping her to relax despite the 'dangers' around her. She wasn't so sure that this was a good goal but I persevered. There is this one corner that she's convinced is occupied by trolls.
Carmen: "invisible, underground trolls. those are the most dangerous and you don't appreciate that I'm trying to save both of our lives"
The trick is to work her gradually closer and not feed the
Wedsnesday, Cynthia came down to ride and spend the night. We tacked up the horses and headed up to the ring. This time she was much better with the troll-corner. After working with her on the ground I mounted up- after repeating our mounting block exercises from Sunday. I worked on steering and getting her to go to more places in the ring and still listen to me. This required me to be steady in the saddle and steady with my aids. Not easy with a wiggly, squirmy, looky horse. But I persevered and we got better. At the end I was walking her out with Irish and I wanted to get her to walk by the troll corner. I figured that Irish could help settle her. And she did well- we walked right by. then something caught her eye from behind (Carmen: it was a troll- it was coming at us) and she scooted forward, spooking Irish. He was not impressed. After we rode we untacked the horses and let them graze on the grass at the edge of the ring. That was Cynthia's brilliant idea to get Carmen feeling more comfortable. And it seemed to work. However, overall Wednesday was much better than Tuesday.
After feeding the horses we went out to dinner in Lunenburg. I had some of the best scallops I've had in a long time. A good dinner and a good glass of wine ensured that I had a great sleep.
Thursday morning I awoke bright and early. I had the day off and wanted to sleep in but I was wide awake at six a.m. After coffee and breakfast we got the horses ready. I could see right away that Carmen was feeling relaxed and mellow. And this mood carried over to the ring. We did our ground work and troll-corner was much better. I could actually get her into the corner without a battle or distraction. Her trot and canter on the lunge were very steady and relaxed. She wasn't completely tracking up at the trot but I liked the rhythm so much and how relaxed she was I left it alone.
I mounted up and we walked off. I could feel right away that she was tuned into me. For the first time I felt like I was actually schooling her. I could work on bend and transitions. She resisted our first walk-trot transition but I just kept asking her and we steadied out. The next time it was just from my seat. We did figure 8's and changes of rein. I even asked her for a canter and it was lovely. I was able to just sit there and ride the motion. After a while I brought her back to trot and then walk. For the first time I felt comfortable enough to give her the full rein to stretch out. Up to now I've kept a bit 'just in case'. She stretched out and walked along. She doesn't stay long and low for long but it'll come.
I finished by asking her her to spiral in on the circle and leg yield out at the walk. She wasn't sure what I wanted but I kept it low key and we got some beautiful leg-yield steps. I immediately stopped and hopped off. I untacked her in the ring and let her graze for a bit.
I was so happy- for the first time I felt like I was actually training and not just working on keeping her calm. It's clear that she's enjoyed it as well. After, when I turned her out, she stayed hanging out with us as I did some barn chores. It reinforces my thought that she needs regular work with me and we'll be fine.