I rode Carmen in the morning and we continue to work on changing her mind about the C end of the ring. And the approach is truly working- she's becoming happier there and when worried her ear flicks back to ask me if it's okay. When I tell her it is she relaxes. I am asking her to stay but I'm not making her stay, but given that the rest of the ring is the work area she's beginning to like standing down at that end. I'm liking it too. While I will use force if necessary it's not really fun if it's all the time. I am startng to feel the connection and trust that has been lacking in our partnership. I kept the morning ride short becasue of the lesson that evening and because she was very cooperative.
When Karen arrived for the lesson Carmen was quite mellow. I did little inhand work and then I hopped on. I explained to Karen that the zone between R and C was 'rest' and between A and R was work. I also explained that if there was a spook I would be dealing with it and not to be alarmed if I suddenly did something different. I love that she simply said 'no problem. We will follow your program'. I knew that if she had concerns she would discuss them with me but there was no expectation that I would hand over all control to her-I had a say as well.
We began by walking a circle and focussing on my seat and encouraging her to walk from behind. It was helpful to pactice that and get feedback- I worry that I might drive too much with my seat because if one pound of pressure is good, 10 must be awesome (overachiever that's me!). I've been riding Carmen in the ring for a long time and I was thrilled that today (this morning as well) she was not cutting off the circle on the 'C' side. Instead she stayed right with me. We then went on to trot and Karen commented that she could see I had been working on my posting since my lesson with Sue. It feels great when homework is obvious. Karen had me stretch out my spine as I rose and when I got it, it felt very good and Carmen immediately rounded up her back and stepped through.
There was a small scoot down at the A end of the arena and I immediately stopped Carmen and backed her up and carried on.
We practiced sitting trot- I tend to let the motion be absorbed by my waist and let my hips move. It was interesting to try to figure that out. First I just stiffened my torso but my hips were still tight so I bounced. Carmen was not impressed with that- her ears came back and she was 'what the heck are you doing up there?' By focussing on the inside hip I was able to get the motion and then figure it would for the otehr. I also stretched up my spine and immediately tucked in pelvis.It felt so much better for both of us. But it required the use of different muscles so was difficult to maintain for long.
I needed to talk to Karen so took Carmen up to the rest stop and we chatted there. Once we talked through the exercise we went back to the work area and I alternated posting and sitting. That made it easier to spend time doing it 'right' rather then struggling when it went wrong.
Before I knew it 45 minutes had passed. I was happy to end it there and Karen and I talked about it.
I was thrilled that we spent all that time on training and not on getting/keeping her attention. Carmen was with me the whole time. Her moments of worry were brief and we carried on. Overall she was calm and relaxed. Evn more important was that she was happy in her work.
I'm going to carry on with my work to make C the happy place but will slowly increase the work zone until we can work and rest in all areas. I put her away and started supper for everyone while Cynthia had her lesson. Irish was great and perhaps I'll get Cynthia to do a guest blog post. :)
When I came into the house Ed asked me how it went and I exploded into a excited and happy rendition. He probably didn't get the dressage stuff but the not spooking stuff her understood and he looked happy and relieved.
|photo credit to Caelen