Shanea arrived and I gave her a rundown of what we had been up to since she was there last (not much because of the weather) and our warm up. She asked if I had been all over the ring yet and I said 'oh yeah. I'm making sure that we go everywhere from the start' (which is true, however, I might gradually make my way to the scary end and I don't drive her there from the beginning).
I talked about how I'd been playing with the shortening and lengthening her steps and my talked about my worry about Carmen's head carriage. Now don't jump on me- I'm not talking about head set but with her conformation it's very easy for her to lock her neck and look engaged when she's not and it's easy for her to curl behind the contact as well. I want her stepping forward and reaching for it. Add in her tension and her diminishing but still there tendency to root at times and it becomes quite complicated. I can't give her too much rein because it makes her more nervous and more likely to spook and I can't hold because that makes she tense as well.
It's a work in progress.
We started by practicing our walk -halt-walk.
|I'm not sure that this is the safest place to halt but okay|
In our trot work it's clear that reaching for the bit and that elusive 'acceptance of contact' is a work in progress. She can definitely go above the bit and I tend to let her do it because I don't want her to curl. She can hold that and then she tires, if she doesn't go up she goes down:
|rooting down and then gaping her mouth because I'm not letting her go lower. And of course I'm looking down.|
On the plus I'm not pitching forward and not rigid in my shoulders. She's stepping through with her right hind.
This is the same spot a little later - we've just come through troll corner with all it's associated drama of stiff neck and bulging in but look: we're getting it back together and neither of us look horribly flustered. In fact as we worked away the outside of the ring disappeared and both us were focussed on the inside. Carmen's attitude shifted to really trying to listen to what I was asking and then giving it to me. I like how her neck is soft and I don't have a death grip on the inside rein. It's a bit loose but she's starting to reach for it.
I like this one- she reachign for the bit I have a steady contact. I've moved my elbows forward to let her come around the circle. While she's thinking that maybe right would be the better way to go she's listening to me.
I love the next two photos for the overall impression and demeanour. She's accepting contact and we're acting as team.
|the magical browband of peace and tranquility is totally woring here.|