Sunday morning I was not taking any chances and decided that Caelen and I would ride in the morning. It was a bit foggy and drizzly but I decided we would go anyway. It was an interesting ride- Carmen was very forward and was clearly thinking about spooking.
However, within 5 minutes my glasses were covered with a fine mist of water drops and I really couldn't see very well. The universe was hazy. that made things very interested. Instead of getting more worried and tense I decided to relax and go with it. In Centred Riding there's a concept of 'soft eyes'. The idea is that by relaxing your eyes you can take in more peripheral information and have a better awareness of your body. It wasn't that I couldn't see- I could, but it was like looking through a rain spattered window.
And do you know what? She didn't spook at all.
I don't know how much more evidence I need that my reaction to her reactions can make things better or worse. In my defesne, cycles are hard to break. I am working on it though.
We spent a lot of time working on transitions. I wanted her to reach for the bit going both up and down. I realized that I was tightening my thighs in the down transitions which was making her pop up. I had to really focus on stilling my seat without clamping my thighs. Once I was more aware of that our tranistions improved a lot. Even our trot-canter transitions were straight and not at all flail-ly.
We finished by going on a trail ride though the woods. Caelen and Irish led us through. I am very impressed with Carmen - she's definitely alert in the woods but listening. I think I may end up my hacking horse after all.