dancing horses

dancing horses

Thursday, June 30, 2016


One of the things I have learned in life is that  moments of real, unadulterared happiness are truly rare. True joy is not something that is easy to get nor can it be ordered.

I had one of those today.

The morning started like any other day- I went to work and had a full day of meetings ahead. I was looking forward to the long weekend. Royce had called the day before and we arranged for a session after work today. It made things tight as I was in meetings in the city and I had to rush into my riding clothes and get the horses ready. Part of me didn't want to do this- I just wanted to relax. It was warm and humid as well. But I squashed those feelings and decided to get on with it.

I had been working with Carmen and things had been going well. It's not that everything had changed- but the issues were slowly going away and being replaced with the 'right' behaviours. I have been getting a mare that searches for the answer rather than panicking. And I was happy with where we were going.

Royce arrived and I started to put on Carmen's bridle. She was standing there without a halter when he threw on his western saddle and she never moved. I was gathering up my saddle and stuff and Royce took her outside. I looked up and he was on her.

Oh.  I said and he grinned. He rode her a bit down by the barn and then rode her up to the ring. She was tense but not too worried. He rode her a bit in the ring and then I got on while he talked me through some things. She was responding really well and then Royce got on again.

Next thing I knew he said 'let's go down to the field.'  The plan was for him to ride her down there and then we would return to the ring for me to ride. He walked her down and into the field. He walk, trotted and cantered her. She was happy and forward.

Look at that smile. 

Royce halted her and said I think you should get on. 
I thought for a millisecond and said sure! 
 I climbed up from the ground (it was not easy to get my leg up that high!) and we walked off. Royce had me check the brakes and the steering. And then he directed me to ask her to trot. She trotted off nice and forward. But she steered and came back to me when asked. It's the field she's in every day but this is the first time ever we've been out of the ring. 

Royce then directed me to canter. And when I asked she lifted into this lovely and free canter. We cantered across the field and my heart flew ahead like a barn swallow. I felt everything that I had felt when I first sat on her.  Two weeks ago I was thinking of selling her because she wasn't safe in the ring and here I was cantering in the open and I felt so frigging happy that I thought my heart would burst and I started to laugh. I cantered across the hill with my laughter echoing from the woods. 

Ask her to come back to the trot Royce said. 
But I don't want to I thought. 
Neither do I said Carmen. 

But I don't argue with Royce. So I asked her to come back and she did. 

We did some work in the field practicing coming up and down. I then rode her back up to the ring and she came with me willingly. I asked her to do a few things in the ring and then I stopped and got off. I gave her a hug and then went over and picked up my saddle. She followed my happily while I headed down to the barn. In the barn I opened the bar fridge and took out a beer. I sat there (after hosing her off of course) and drank it while she hung with me in the aisle. She kept sniffing my beer and was very intrigued with the smell. 

If you look at Carmen these days you will see a horse that has a soft eye and a gentle demeanour. She seems to be happy and relaxed. 

There are going to be times of frustration but I will treasure that moment of happiness for a long time.


  1. I love love LOVE this! There is nothing like cantering a horse through an open field -- especially one you love :-D

    So excited for you and Carmen!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful experience :)

  3. So happy for you!! How wonderful!

  4. That is AWESOME! There are few things better in life than cantering through an open field! So glad you got to experience that with Carmen!

  5. Oh, that is wonderful. It made me cry to read this. They LOVE to be out of the ring. In some ways, it's like holding their reins too tight--as some point you have to trust them to fly. True joy comes in those moments--true partnership--full trust. I love it. Love it. Love it!!

  6. I'm so excited for you. I'm glad she's doing so well.

  7. This is an amazing post, also so happy for you!

  8. Thanks everyone- I am still smiling

  9. Yahoo!! Sounds like a wonderful ride - love the post.

  10. Whew! All caught up. You were busy while I was gone. :0)

    I love everything that you are doing. Royce is just what you and Carmen needed. I love the kind of work that he is doing with you guys. I had to do a lot of those same games with Speedy - letting him "chase" the scary things. I kind of wish Izzy's tension was from spookiness, but he's not afraid of "stuff." He ATE his last two pool noodles. LOL

    Izzy's been a bit of a jerk the past few days, but I am not too surprised as he had nearly 3 weeks off. Unfortunately, I had to play the "jerk your face off" game for a while as he tried bolting every time we got to a spot he didn't want to be in. It's not my favorite game, and it may seem really harsh, but it works when I am quick and effective. The idea is similar to what Royce is using: the horse doesn't get to decide anything.

    I have a lesson on Tuesday, so I hope Chemaine can give me even mores ways to deal with tension. Fortunately, Izzy is always getting better, but there are days when the tension is still there - especially in new places and on days where something is "different."

    Press on, you are doing a great job!

    1. Trying to stay the course. I don't mind hard work, I just need to see the goal post

  11. Happy Happy Post!! Happy Happy for you and Carmen. I bet she was laughing too. You shared joy with each other and that's the BEST.

  12. "We cantered across the field and my heart flew ahead like a barn swallow."

    Teresa you made me tear up! What a perfect description of a perfect moment. You are a word smith!


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