dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Clear Skies

Approximately one year ago I sat on Carmen for the first time since I had bought her (http://journeywithadancinghorse.blogspot.ca/2015/04/the-right-moment.html). Things went downhill pretty quickly after that. There were issues with saddle fit, the right bit and communication. With lots of help, lots of miles and literally hours spent on the ground and in the saddle we are at a point of consistency.  We both know what to expect from each other (good and bad). I also believe that her diet has played a role as well.

gratuitous vacation picture

I returned from vacation on Wednesday morning. Wednesday night I spent grooming her and thursday I lunged her. I rode for the first time on Friday. Cynthia came and rode Irish. He was feeling good after his abscess popped. I put on a boot to replace his lost shoe and he was good to go. Carmen was relaxed and calm from the start. During the ride she was wary of the far side and tended to bend away. I tried to fix it but ended up riding an 'S' shaped horse with her head held in, her shoulder popped in  and her haunches somewhere to the outside.  I realized that my nemesis, aka my inside hand,  had reared it's ugly head. It's my 'go to' when things start to go wrong. I had to work really hard on not using the inside hand and using my inside leg instead. Things got better after that.

What I also realized is that as long as I have contact on the outside rein she doesn't really spook. The problem is that when she's worried about something she ducks behind the rein and I have to be careful that I don't pull back.  She had some worries and spooks but not the big spin-and-bolt we had last year. Instead they were 'flinches' and then carry on. I have to make sure that when I feel her tense that I don't tense in response. Instead I have to relax more. This leads to some interesting internal conversations:
oh oh she's getting tense, better get ready- tighten those legs and grip those reins.
no, just breathe 
but we could die
it will be okay, just sit back not forward and relax those legs
screw you, I don't want to die
trust me. 
oh, look it worked. 
And repeat.
But it's getting easier.

Our canter transitions are much better- there was no bucking at all.

Today was a ride just by ourselves. And it was better than yesterday. We were able to work on bends and patterns. I'm having so much fun just being able to use the entire ring. I am able to use lots of patterns to keep her focussed and on the aids. As we got more in tune she became very forward. My first reaction was to try to slow her down but I realized that she wasn't rushing- she was using her hind end and I wasn't feeling fast- I was feeling power. Once I started to ride that it got really fun.

I know that there will be bad rides too but I am feeling quite optimistic about our spring and summer.


  1. Love those internal conversations!

  2. You two have come so far -- and you both have learned so much.

  3. My right rein is also my nemesis, so I had to laugh at that. I'm very weak on my outside rein. You've come so far together and I'm inspired by your progress!!

  4. Congrats on your one year anniversary. You have been through quite the journey, but it sounds like you are both figuring things out. Here's wishing the following years bring you much happiness and well-being!


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