dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Lesson Recap

Let me start by thanking each of you for the the kind words and condolences following Belle's death. It's been hard and sad but I know it was the right thing to do. d'Arcy was depressed the next day but is starting to perk up a bit. We've been making sure he's with us a lot but monday we go back to work so I hope he'll be okay.

Between looking after Belle and the weather I haven't ridden since Monday. I was scheduled to have a lesson Friday but it poured all day. Same with Saturday. I was feeling a bit frustrated but to be honest I think it was a good thing. I'm not sure that I was emotionally calm enough to be a good leader and Carmen isn't at a point where she can be the comforting one.

Fortunately, I was able to rebook the lesson for Sunday. The day dawned foggy but the sun was trying to come through. I got Carmen ready early because I figured she would need more time on the lunge given the time she's had off. She was cranky at first getting ready but I was expecting that. I've noticed that she gets annoyed if she believes I've been neglecting her. As I groomed her and gave her attention she relaxed and became softer.

I was glad that I had planned some time to work with her on the ground because she really needed it. Not because she was wild but she was definitely tight and spooky. I kept it simple and very black and white- paying attention to me was right and looking around and ignoring me was not. By the end she was focussed on me even with distractions.

The time was perfect for when Shanea arrived. Let me sum up the lesson with one sentence: it was AWESOME. I enjoyed my second lesson as much as my first. It was all about getting Carmen moving from behind and tuning in to what I was asking. She was leery of some areas and I worked on  giving her room to listen but staying supportive.

We practiced flexing and changing the bend on the circle. At first she was all 'what?'  but then figured it out and it went a lot better. From the middle we worked our way out around the ring. Carmen was, of course, worried about certain spots - when this happens her head comes up and her topline gets very tight:
head up, under neck stiff, hind legs trailing and someone
please cut off my hands! 

I'm to keep my elbows engaged and ask her to bend around my inside leg. Unforunately, my hands tend to get a bit uneven as well. But as we worked she would drop and relax. As the lesson progressed that came faster and faster.
hands better(ish) and she's starting to step under
asking her to flow forward and find contact

We worked on the leg yielding and it was improved from last time. As was her straightness on the quarter line.

Our trot work was a lot better as well. She was flowing forward and listening to my aids. Of course it wasn't perfect but she wasn't trying to run away or balk.
I love her soft and listening ears here. And I may be smiling.

being very brave through a spooky corner and I obviously need
to make sure that her head is still there. 
 When we were heading up to C she gave a big spook where she suddenly spun 360 degrees. But she didn't bolt and I was unbalanced but still on. Shanea stayed very calm through all of it and we carried on with the work. Because I had my core engaged I didn't get thrown off the side.

moving forward. I am being a bit defensive in my body but letting her have some rein and
it doesn't look awful.  
I was so happy with how were able to keep on track and build on what we did in the lesson before. I like how Shanea can break things down and is willing to take the time if you don't understand. She never seems frustrated and NEVER seems anything but calm. Even with the few spooks we did.

We finished with a wee bit of canter work- I asked for it so that she could see what we were doing.
I'm a little perched but let's look at the inside hind....

Cynthia had a lesson right after me. In the barn Carmen looked once and then settled into enjoying my attention. She was so relaxed and happy that I decided to bring her back to the ring to graze alongside. She was quite happy to graze while Irish worked. 

When Carmen is happy there's a calmness in her demeanour and a softness in her eye that tells me about the horse that she will be. 

Today was just what I needed.


  1. What a wonderful end to a difficult week! You and Carmen are making so much progress.

  2. Replies
    1. lol, I hope that the judge will think so when we hit the show ring!

  3. Shanea sounds like a wonderful coach! Glad you had a great lesson after a very tough/sad week. You two look great in these pics :)

    1. Thank you! I'm quite happy with it. I just need to learn to let go!

  4. Carmen is gorgeous as usual and you look like you were having fun. It's great to find a good trainer who remains calm no matter what. She seems like a good fit for you both. Awesome lesson.

    1. Yeah, I really think that she's a nice fit. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will continue to work out.

  5. You look great. She is such a beautiful horse!

  6. You both look awesome. I'm sure riding was good for your soul today.

  7. Miss Carmen is drop dead gorgeous when she is soft. Great work, you two.

  8. gotta love those lessons that can just clear away gray skies and make things right again :D

  9. Gotta love good lessons, especially after a tough week!

  10. Ah, it takes time to become partners with our horses, but it seems like you're knocking on heaven's door with Carmen. No great relationship comes easy, but our need to be with them keeps us coming back for more, and eventually we have that deep, deep love. Love isn't cheap!

  11. It sounds like you and Carmen are really finding the same sheet of music more and more these days! What a great lesson.


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