Now for the topic: the lesson I had with Roz. Remember that things with Carmen have been going really well and I was excited to show Roz how far we'd come?
Well Carmen had a slightly different idea. Today was very blustery and cool. This lead to her being highly distractible. It was a regression on the lunge- it was much harder to get her attention and keep it. Roz was very patient and even took her a did some work with her on the lunge. Eventually Carmen was calm enough to get on.
The truth is that I worry less about her being excitable these days. But I do want to work on other things. However, the horse you have is the horse you have so I got on and we went to work. I explained to Roz that when Carmen is excited our 'calming' exercise is a figure 8 in the middle of the ring. I like to have a 'go to' exercise that the settles the horse. This is ours. Roz asked me how small the circles were.
"depends on how much calming she needs" I said and Roz laughed. Anyway we went work and Carmen was, as I expected, excitable and felt a bit like a fire cracker. We worked on my riding with my leg on- not off. As we progressed we were able to get some real work done. Roz told me that if she became fast in the trot go to sitting for a few strides to slow her down and then go back to posting. That really worked. The other thing we practiced was getting her to soften her jaw and flex to the inside. As we went along Carmen because quite heavy in my hand. While I want her to take contact and am willing to have it a bit heavy to hold. (Photo credit goes to my friend Mary Anne who came to observe and take photos for me).
the idea was to ask her to bend to the inside and then soften to allow her to carry. Here I'm taking but you can see that she's listening and her steps are getting lighter.
We were able to get her to the point where I could canter. The first one was a stiff and bouncy. We brought her back to the trot and tried again. Roz talked me through relaxing the hand and letting her go. It was okay. We switched direction and I asked again. I really had to focus on letting go the inside hand. I'm fighting my instinct with that one because she felt like she was ready to take off. But I gave a shrug and said 'if I die, I die. Let's go." Not that I think I'll die, it's just what I say to myself to put it in perspective. Roz had me lighten my seat and she really came up through her back and worked through.
|see why I think we might just fly off?|
|in a lighter seat- see how her leg reaches under to lift?|
So despite Carmen being 'hot' and 'reactive' today it felt like we worked through many things and made real progress.
And I have homework. I love homework.