Ed, at my request, had mowed down the tall grass on each side of the ring. I was concerned about deer bedding up at C and and bunnies moving in at A. Carmen could care less about the mowing at A but is completely unhinged by the open path now up at Troll Corner.
Carmen: OH MY GOD- the trolls have built a road! We must flee.
I am pleased with how I am not freaked out by this. This is Carmen and I shouldn't be surprised- she was doing well with that part of the ring but now it's changed. I'm simply doing what I had done before- making that area the 'rest' area.
Yesterday Cynthia rode Irish with us. I did some lunging up by the Troll Highway and just was clear that her main worry was me and not mythical beasts that cannot possibly hurt her because they are not real.
During our ride she was okay- tense but okay. I kept my seat engaged and did my best to not tighten up and perch in the saddle. If she gets tense and I get more solid in the saddle she calms down. She's also making me more aware of how frequently I've been dropping contact on her. She does not like that. She did a couple mini bolts but I was able to stop them quickly and back her up. Throughout the whole ride her ears kept checking in with me which is exactly what I want. We had some wonderful trot-canter-trot transitions that were actually straight.
I used Irish to help her walk up around the chasm and that helped a lot. I then rode her over to open the gate. She was fine letting me open it from her back but tried to go right out and became irked that I wouldn't let her. We then spent some time walking, trotting and cantering up past the gate until she gave up on trying to dive out. Then we marched out with Irish behind. I turned right for us to go around the path and she took the lead.
This should be interesting I thought but decided to let her do it. I figured we could switch up to her following if necessary. Irish was surprised but followed along nicely enough. Carmen was more alert and I could feel that she was a bit on high alert. But we walked the whole way and it was all fine.
Me: So let me get this straight- walking by the woods with the wind blowing is perfectly fine but mown grass by the ring is terrifying?
Carmen: DON'T JUDGE ME!
So today I put her and Irish in the ring to eat down the grass that's trying to move in. This is Carmen and Irish grazing quietly by the Chasm of Terror.