|a beautiful frosty morning but I want it to be warmer
Saturday was cool but calm. When I went to get Carmem I saw that she was in heat. Oh fun. The first heat is always interesting. In the barn she was wired and started to act all tense and reactive. I decided to not join her in this mood and kept to the program. In the barn that was her standing, ground tied, while I got her ready. A couple (minor) corrections and she was behaving. Still tense but behaving. On our way up to the ring she was a bit bargy and tried to pass me. I just repeated the ground work I had learned from Royce- this is where I expect you to walk and I set the speed.
In the ring I focussed on me being calm and clear in my intentions. I didn't let her tenseness create my own. Instead of being a mirror reflecting her tension I decided that I was a sponge absorbing her tension and letting it flow away. I know that it sounds a bit 'new agey' but it helps me. I had a plan and I wasn't going to be derailed by a dramatic spanish mare. And this is what I love about ground work- all the practice that we had been doing really pays off in these moments- in very little time she was settled into a rhythm and tuned in.
When I got on the tenseness returned but I'm used to that. We started working and, again, I kept to the program. It was kinda like this:
Carmen: oh my god- what's that?
Me: it's Chester (cat). We're bending on our circle
Carmen: but if I bend I can't see- LOOK AT IT, IT'S MOVING!
Me: nope, not trotting. Walking, with bend.
Whistling in the dark.
And this really works. I work hard to not tense myself or start gawking at the same things wondering which one was going to create the big leap-spin-bolt. And because I kept with the program she really didn't have a choice but to join me. In the end we had some beautiful trot work- leg yield, changing across the diagonal. She was taking contact and moving forward in her lovely floaty trot.
|cute puppy photo to break up the wall of text
Sunday was cooler and there was a raw wind. But Cynthia and I decided to persevere. Carmen was definitely more tense and required more careful handling in the ring.
Not more careful.
I could see that she really wanted to bolt- but other than a stutter, flail, ack moment she listened. I mounted and we went back to work. The more success I have with putting on a brave face, the easier it is to be brave.
Whistling in the dark.
It's not the same as lying.
When Carmen's walk would get really quick going by something that was clearly very dangerous and why was I not paying attention I thought 'if we were not worried we would have a slower, more relaxed walk'. So I slowed the walk. I figured if I couldn't get her to walk slow because she was worried, maybe I could get her to be not worried by walking slow.
I hope that makes sense, because it worked. Not right away and not without some, ahem, discussion but it worked.
When I felt that things were going well I asked her to canter. That was a bit of a flail - I think because of her being in heat. I gave her some rein and laughed, asking her to come forward. And she did.
I cooled her out and then hopped off. She stood there and closed her eyes while I rubbed her neck.
There's a lot to work on but I'm pleased with her taking of contact, her transitions and her willingness to listen. I didn't have those things last year so this is a good place to start.
|it must be the tiara.