dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mixing it up

Yesterday was a day off but today is a National Holiday so of course that meant riding. 

I decided that Carmen and I needed to mix it up a bit. Enough of the same ride every time:

yes, those are trotting poles
Cynthia came to ride Irish. It was a beautiful hot summer day. The nice thing about it being hot is that it takes too much effort to be silly. I could see right away that Carmen was in a calm mood. During our ground work I realized that she was totally tuning me out so I worked on getting her attention through frequent changes of direction and gait. When I was sure I had her I put on her bridle and mounted. She was very good at the mounting block (go me) and stood quietly. 

As we went to work I kept to my plan of warming up and not getting excited over her spooky places. As we worked down to the end of the ring and I had her trotting I could feel her tensing 
I'm going to spook
Sure. whatever. 
I am! I'm going to run away
Okay. That's fine. 
Hey, aren't you upset too? 
Nope, I'm bored 
Well forget it then. 
Good girl.

It was funny. I wouldn't have said that I had been super tense but I realized that in tensing in response to her I was feeding her feeling of insecurity. She didn't know it was my response to her she just thought that it was because that area was truly spooky. So when I didn't change a muscle she completely relaxed. (slap me upside the head with a fish for not doing this sooner!). It's not that she didn't spook at all or react. It's just that I didn't and so it simply, well, faded. 

After a bit I decided to try to poles. Irish had gone through them first and managed to break one (sigh) so Cynthia took that out, which left only 3. Oh Well. I headed up the quarter line making sure I had her channeled between me. As we went up that side she became distracted by the brush on the side. 
You might want to pay attention
to what?

She trotted the first one, walked the second and jumped the third. We halted at the end and I circled back. She trotted one, walked two and trotted the third. After a few times we were trotting right through and she completely forgot about the brush and the trolls. 

We finished up with some beautiful and relaxed canter work. It was the best yet. 

Later the kids came for a BBQ and we sat on the deck eating and talking. Alec leaves to go back to school tomorrow so it was nice to see him again. 

It's been a good Canada day. 
Happy Canada Day from Oakfield Farm


  1. It alsoI just realized you're Canadian! For a minute I was like, "Crap! Is it the 4th already?"

    When I have to deal with a "spooky" area, I like to sing the dumbest song I can think of as loudly as possible. It is impossible to be nervous while singing "The Wheels On The Bus".

  2. You do a great job of dealing with the spooky things! Sometimes my horse can be spooky, and I need to learn how to help her relax more.

  3. Great post and lovely photos! Greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

  4. Funny you should say that, the whole "don't tense up" thing. Maddie, our 11 year old niece, has been riding Gracie lately in the front paddock near the road. Gracie can be very spooky when loud banging trucks drive by, but she hasn;t spooked once with Maddie, basically because Maddie doesn't know that trucks can be scarey! Natalie and I have really had our eyes opened - we probably make our orses spook more than they would by being on the look out for spooky dangers.


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