dancing horses

dancing horses

Monday, March 14, 2016

Irish Spring

With the promise of spring all of the residents of Oakfield Farm are feeling more energized.

Except for Martin.
He maintains that same level of cool no matter the season.
photo from last year. alas, my grass is not quite as green yet
The rest of us though are finding the ambition that was sadly lacking in the dead of winter. For me, this means riding.  It is time for Carmen and I to shed the hay bellies and get back into shape.

Saturday, Cynthia's daughter came out and rode Irish while I rode Carmen. It was good for Carmen- we would work and then I would stop and stand in the middle giving some advice to her and then we would go back to work. I must say that she adjusted to that quite well. It's all part of getting her used to how things may go in a show- warm up, wait, show, repeat. I was pleased with how she was able to stand and relax and go to work and tune into me. And she did. In the end we had some truly nice canter-trot-canter transitions.  t was good for me too- I'm learning how to make my intentions clear and I'm getting more relaxed and less wary with our rides.

Irish was having a lot of fun too. At first he was a bit sluggish- which is to be expected of an 16 year old arthritic horse who's had the winter off. But as Ashley worked with him he began to become positively perky. She did a great job getting him supple and bending. I watched him canter along and realized that his heart was writing a check that his body couldn't cash so we finished on a good note to help him feel good about himself.

He spent the rest of the day napping.

The next day Cynthia came out to ride. Sunday was warm (well warm for March in Canada) but it was quite blustery. As you may recall, Carmen does not care for wind- we have our most spooks when it's windy. I watched her and Irish out in the field periodically scooting around. Irish's tail was flagged quite a bit. I would go outside and Carmen would look at me pointedly My blanket is flapping and it's bugging me. DO SOMETHING. 

When Cynthia came we got them tacked up. Irish was restless in his stall. Carmen and I went up to ring first and when I looked down he was positively prancing beside her. Carmen however, went between being focussed and a bit distracted at things blowing around. However, when we seemed to be in a good spot I took off her lunging equipment and headed to the mounting block. Irish was being a bit tight but pretty okay.

Carmen alerted and when I looked and saw people walking down the road. I warned Cynthia so she was aware. Carmen was unable to focus at the mounting block so rather then get on I walked away and had her do some in hand work to get her brain back on me. It didn't take too long. Irish meanwhile was being a bit wound up. I got on and Carmen and I went to work.

After a few minutes I realized that Irish was spiralling mentally. I am quite familiar with that with him and I put Cynthia to work on some exercises to get his brain back on her. Essentially it consists of lots of random circles and changes in direction so he has to pay attention to his rider. He was being quite foolish about the whole thing and I considered dismounting and getting on him but Cynthia was handling him quite well.

I was concerned that Carmen might join in with him and then the fun would really begin. But she didn't. Not that she wasn't thinking about it. we could have gone there very easily. But I stayed relaxed (mostly) and kept her working with me. Not that we didn't have some discussions. We did. I was trying to spiral in on a circle and leg yield out. She was  getting a bit confused and when she's confused she gets pissed off. Now that I know that I can work her through it by tackling the confusion.

While our physical work was not as good as the day before I was thrilled with our mental work. She stayed with me despite the wind and despite Irish reliving his salad days.  I overheard Cynthia saying to Irish 'it's pretty bad when the 6 year old is better behaved than the 16year old!'

In the end she stood up at one end with one leg cocked and her head lowered while Irish was still working away enthusiastically. It was obvious that she wanted no part of the shenanigans.

never underestimate the redheads


  1. Ah, yes, the redheads. Gotta keep an eye on them.

  2. That's very rewarding to have Carmen stay with you in mentally challenging circumstances. You two are really becoming a team!

    BTW Martin is adorable!

  3. Horse are like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're going to get from one day to the next.

  4. Aww, love that they were both doing so well/feeling so good in their own ways :)

  5. That is an award winning shot! The heart writing a check the body can't cash.. I'm going to have to use that one! Lol.

  6. Martin is the chillest kitty around! My 16 year old horse has a bit of the spring fever too haha


Thank you for leaving a comment. I love the feedback.