dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's All Relative

So now that I've changed my perspective with Carmen I've noticed improvements. But it's not all sunshine and roses. What I have come to realize is that I need to evaluate our progress on the day. This graphic is helping me a lot:
in fact, our straight lines sometimes look like the right....

On Saturday, she was up and reactive (it was a stormy day and she had 4 days off). I did a lot of groundwork and then got on. She was tense but listened to me and our walk work was very good. Shortly after that it started to rain so I ended and all we had done was walk. But I was happy.

On sunday when I rode we had a pretty good ride. As always she was sticking in her walk-trot transitions but I stayed persistent and calm. After repeated 'asks' she gave a little hop and broke into canter.
Carmen: "There, deal with that!"
Me: "Great idea. Let's canter"
Carmen: "No, you don't get it. You're supposed to pull me up"
Me:  "and ruin such a lovely canter? Never! Let's go. I love cantering"
Carmen: *sigh*

I much prefer a forward gait, even it's not what I asked for then her sucking back through a transition. After that canter she settled into some nice work. We were able to shoulder in up into troll corner and I was quite happy.

Monday I rode again. The wind was quite blustery and she was quite tense being ridden. Instead of being frustrated that I wasn't getting the same great work that I had on the ground I just dealt with what we had. I realized that two weeks ago I would have had to dismount and lunge some more. I wanted to see if we could work through it. And while our work was not great we managed to walk trot and canter with only 2 big spooks. Both of those spooks were a sudden stop and spin and almost unseated me. The first one caught me unaware. For the second she had broke to canter and I decided to let her go to let her release some tension. It was working but I made sure that I was sitting up and back. Thank heavens because she gave a sudden stop and spin and if I hadn't been ready I would have ended up on the ground. But I didn't and we carried on cantering.

 She never really settled but she tried to settle. I know that if I relax my seat and go with her motion she really likes it and will stretch and blow. The problem is that I have internalized the idea of a 'still seat' so I have to focus on it. As soon as my mind goes to something else I go back to my more 'stiff' seat. That said, I am okay with that because I know that there is a progression from having to concentrate all the time to being able to do it without conscious thought. If I persist I will get there. I also really tried to not have the reins too short. That is REALLY hard when she feels like she's going to spook at any second. A couple times she stopped and refused to go forward. There was one going backwards episode but I was able to cut that off quickly. Each time I asked her to go forward 'just for me'. I was positive and supportive and each time she did take the step, even though it was against her better judgement.

So our progress is relative but I'm okay with that. I believe that Carmen will teach me to be tuned in and diplomatic. Irish probably believes that it's about time.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, yes, our lovely sensitive mares; such good teachers. sigh You are doing great and this is a great foundation that you are building.


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