dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Operation Slow and Steady

I'm two minutes from having a nap but am also too excited to sleep until I tell you about my weekend.

As you may recall I had Irish and Carmen grazing in the ring earlier that day. When I tacked up Carmen and brought her up it was apparently completely new and she had never been there before and didn't know what I was talking about. 

She was practically vibrating whenever she looked up at Troll Corner. I did my ground work and got on. I decided to treat it like I had earlier- every part of the ring was work except for that far part. We would have beautiful work until she felt she was too close to that area, at which point she would turn into a stiff-as-a-board pony with a jarring trot (my teeth rattled).

I just kept working and we got closer but not up deep. I wasn't too worried, I knew I had to just stay the course.

That night Cynthia and I had a 'date night': we went out to dinner and then saw a theatre production of Beauty and the Beast. It was fabulous.

I stayed overnight with Cynthia and came home in the morning. She was coming shortly and we were both going to ride. I really wanted to tackle the corner. I had some Omega Alpha 'Ultra Chill' and I decided to try it. When Cynthia came we got the horses ready and I headed up to the ring before Irish and Cynthia.

Carmen did not care a fig for that corner. At all.
So I got on her and she was-well- fine. Relaxed and easy going. And stayed that way throughout the ride. She was responsive and alert but not panicked and we worked the whole ring with no issue. Yay. That's what I wanted. I didn't want it to always be a fight- I wanted her to figure it out without the drama and hysterics (from either of us).

It was stinking hot and humid and after 50 minutes I was ready to fall off. So we went for a hack around the field and she led again. We even trotted for some of it.

That was all very exciting because I had something special planned for Sunday: A road trip!

I hooked up the trailer and got it all packed for the next day.

The day dawned foggy and drizzly. Oh no you don't! I thought.

My plan was to trailer to a friend house. She lives about 5 km away from me so it a short jaunt. the other nice part is that she does not have an indoor. She has an outdoor with trees all on one side.

When it was time to leave Carmen self-loaded. Without Irish having to be on first. I was thrilled. I closed it up and we made the trek. I let Carmen settle on the trailer while I chatted with M. Her two mares were quite excited and there was a lot of calling and prancing going on. She has a welsh cob that I plan to steal some day and a beautiful warmblood as well.

I had a sort-of plan. The goal was to work with Carmen on the ground and only ride if it seemed that it would be a good idea. I was fully prepared to only do ground work. I started by walking her around the ring. She was looky but listening. The ring was great: M drives her cob so she has cones set up and flags attached to fence posts and even umbrellas.

After walking I hooked up the lunge line and we went to work. I was so impressed with how well she listened to me despite there being horses nearby and then not as they were led into the barn. M. had her cob tied to the outside of the ring and groomed her well we worked and then took her inside.

I also walked Carmen along the outside of the ring and down a short trail that she was concerned about when in the ring. She was so well behaved and, while reluctant, did not refuse to follow me.

I decided that it would be great to ride. So I unhooked her from the line and let her chill in the ring while I got stuff organized.

don't leave me! 
While I organized M went in and played with Carmen and the umbrella. 
You can see that she's sort of concerned but not really. 

I tacked her up and got on. As soon as I mounted she tensed and M noted that her eyes got hard. I used to take lessons from M (before she retired) so it was helpful to have her there to help. She stood in the centre and reminded me to relax and let her move forward. Slowly Carmen began to unwind and listen. There was just one scoot. What I found was the same thing as at home- she wasn't bothered by any of the things in the ring, just the trees and leaves fluttering around.

I rode her for maybe 15 minutes and when she was soft and relaxed I stopped and got off. It seemed to me that we had accomplished quite a bit today. I untacked her and cooled her out walking around the ring. I then let her loose and went and chatted with M for a bit. Carmen nibbled some grass, peed, and then started running down to the far (scary) corner and looking at it hard, then turning and running away. I was pleased to see her challenge it.

What i realize is that if think of her as a 4 year old (which is where she is in her training) it's much easier. I said as much to M who agreed. She also observed that I can be a bit intense.
who me? Next you'll be saying that I am ambitious. 
She laughed.  I just might. but you are also dedicated and are willing to put the time in with her. Not everyone would be. 

Carmen walked right on the trailer to come home. When I pulled up to the barn I decided to try unloading her by myself. I haven't done that yet. I undid the butt bar and then went up to her head and  asked her to back off. She stood until I told her to come off. Irish was happy to see her return.

I was so thrilled with everything:

  • I did productive work on troll corner
  • I travelled off property and back by myself
  • Carmen learned that she can travel out and life is okay. 
  • Carmen can self-load and unload with no fuss
I'm calling this weekend a win. 


  1. That's a lot of achievements checked off. What a wonderful, productive day for you two.

    1. Yes. I am very happy. We also went and got the last of our hay later that day so now I'm exhausted. :)

  2. Happy to read all the positives your attaining. Don't blame you for having to post,pre-nap at all! Sending Grace your way 😉

    1. One moody dramatic mare is sufficient. Thank you though ;)

  3. Wonderful. I'm so glad you two are working things out and having such fun together. All your hard work sure is paying off.

    1. I hope so. I'm not afraid of hard work. I just hate futile work i

  4. Lots of things "checked off" this weekend! Way to go!

  5. Good job! Those are all big accomplishments.

  6. Woohoo!! what an amazing and successful day :) I'm hoping to get myself a trailer in the next couple of years and one of my big goals is to teach Katai to self load and to let me unload myself. I'd really, really like to be as self sufficient as you are :)

    1. I became self-sufficient because I had no choice- travel with others was not aways available and there wasn't always someone available to help. But I am happy to be independent.

  7. Yay! That is wonderful. What duo you mean by self load? Does she get in without you?

    1. Yes, I throw the lead line up over her neck and say 'walk on' and she walks on and stands. I close the butt bar and then go around to the front and attach the trailer tie.

  8. Replies
    1. To me too! I learned some valuable things from this

  9. Wonderful! Independence! Sounds like a great outing.

  10. I loved this! Go you! So much came full circle with Carmen this weekend! I'm so happy for you. :)


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