One of the things I enjoy about the blogging community is that I get to read about other people's experiences with riding and training horses. A few have greener horses, like Carmen and I find that I can glean tips from their sharing. Recently I read a post by Meghan at A Enter Spooking on the concept of never stop riding, no matter what your horse is doing.
That is not new advice but hearing it from a rider is a similar situation somehow gave it resonance for me. So that's what I've been doing- riding. And do you know what? It really works.
I've been able to ride a few times since my last post. I have been focussing on the idea of riding forward and with care even if Carmen is a bit freaky. Monday was cool and she was a bit tense from the minute I got on. Her walk was rushed so I picked up the trot immediately and we went to work doing figures. She would relax and get tense, relax and get tense but we just kept working away. Nothing bad happened and it wasn't a stellar session but I didn't get off and I wasn't worried. Instead I just focussed on riding and not thinking about all the things that she might do.
Being brave is, of course, easier, when riding with Irish. But I ride alone as well and I'm getting braver there as well. As I ride we go further and further into the scary corners. When she spooks it tends to be smaller and less dramatic. I'm finding it easier to relax into the work. The other day when I was riding she was getting tense about the neighbours Christmas lights (they were twinkling through the trees and weren't there last week so OHMYGODWHATNOWITMUSTBEEVIL). I went to work changing direction and such but she wasn't really focussed on me. So I decided to see how we would do with simple changes of lead. (It gave me a chance to see if my theory was correct about the timing issue of canter departs. It seems that it is my timing that was the issue and so I'm being more careful and she's happier). Now normally a simple change is canter/ 3-5 trot strides- new canter lead. For us it was more like a 10-12 strides until we got the bend. It started a bit wild and wooly doing the simple transitions but it captured her attention and we were able to do some really nice transitions with bend and everything.
Riding. Sometimes it's just that simple.
|photo from lesson in October|