|definitely doing more of these clinics next year|
If I had to think about who has changed more this year - Carmen or me, I don't think that I could choose. I have had to be more conscious about it for sure.
It's hard to change patterns though and it takes serious mental effort on my part to not fall back into tensing and grabby hands when I feel that she's a bit spooky. I have been determined to not break my left wrist and put the rein against her neck when I feel that she wants to fall in. At times you will even hear me say that to myself over and over. Putting the rein against her neck was a temporary solution for when she would bolt to the inside. Now it just encourages her to drop her shoulder and not carry through the corner.
Interestingly enough our bigger issues continue to be our ring. Which makes sense given that's where we had really set patterns of behaviour. I am finding it easier and easier to not tighten and grab when she tightens. When I do I catch myself and relax my seat. I inevitably find that she relaxes when I do that.
|see- no trolls here|
Changing my mindset about troll corner has been a real turning point. I don't think I would have seen the pattern if I hadn't taken her off property and encountered the same issues in the same corner. Knowing that has helped me to ride more boldly and clearly into it and expect that she will carry on.
Not that she does always. Last night we were cantering up on the right lead into the corner and then we were going to the right and sideways (canter half-passes are not going to be an issue). I didn't tense or get upset but I don't let her choose the way we go so I pulled her around to the left to go back. Somewhere in there she did a flying change (good girl) and we cantered back to the left. My mindset/tension never changed. It was just a blip- oh where were we?
Our rides are not exciting or anything to truly write about. We're working on our first/second level stuff and the only thing that's a bit of struggle is the trot lengthens. Last night I felt she sit back on her hind end and lengthen a bit in the trot. It was't a big one but she received lots of praise for it.
Our rides are short and easy these days. I try to get a few things established and then end. We go into the woods on a regular basis. Even when she's more excitable (like last night with the breeze and cooler weather) she is still trying to listen and figure out what I'm asking. Rarely do I get the sense that she's completely tuned me out. She may be distracted but will come back with a leg aid or my voice.
Changing patterns is hard. But it is possible. We're living proof.
It takes so much self awareness to change our own reactions and behaviors. Your journey this year has been an amazing one.ReplyDelete
It's been about 2.5 years but we're getting there. :DDelete
it's amazing the mindfulness a horse like Carmen can teach us as riders! and yet so hard to actually internalize those lessons and make changes in our own riding. watching you two figure each other out and gel together has been wonderful and inspiring - so happy that it's going so well!ReplyDelete
It is hard. It's so easy to be 'why can't the horse just.....'Delete
That's encouraging to read. You didn't give up, or avoid the challenges, and you got to the other side of them with a deeper relationship. That's what it's all about. ❤️ReplyDelete
Yes for sureDelete
It is odd how horses (and sometimes humans too) associate places with bad experiences and continue to have the same reactions triggered by the space as opposed to an actual event happening in the present time. I wonder if some trainers have training pens and then just don't take the horse back there once they've graduated onto greater things since they don't really have to time to regress and work through it in the "bad place". I know you don't really have a choice but to work through it since you need your dressage arena -- I'm just wondering about things out loud. Horses associate a lot with space. I can always tell how other people are riding my horses out on the trail, because the horses always want to repeat what they did the last time they were out there. Sometimes they take off loping at a specific location, and I think, "Aha, I'll bet the other rider was loping this horse there," and I'd ask him or her and found out that was true.ReplyDelete
Yes I couldn't agree more. Like people, horses can have 'triggers'. I am assuming that that's what kept them safe in the wild.Delete
You are a great inspiration this past year. You have gotten through so much and changed Carmen into a mindful horse, that's not always easy.ReplyDelete
I agree, regular lessons sure keep us on track, for now my lessons are in clinic form with Scott but I am really enjoying him.
even regular clinics with the same person are helpful. It's the consistency that is important.Delete
It makes so much sense, but it's still so hard to do. You can Carmen really have come a long way this year.ReplyDelete
It is hard to do. It's like when you with your family for Christmas dinner and everyone falls back into their old patterns of relating to one another. It's hard ot break out but it's a good thing to try.Delete
A little bit more or different each day can really add to the horse. Congrats on all your hard workReplyDelete
Thank you. and I agree- bit by bit is the best way to do it.Delete
It's hard to break ingrained habits, I know this from experience. I've had that bad habit of grabbing rein during a spook but it doesn't work. Only doing what you're doing with Carmen works. Still there is sometimes that automatic reaction and I have to remind myself to relax. Nice work, you've both progressed so much.ReplyDelete
Exactly. It is really hard. Especially when your body is reacting to protect itself. It happens at a unconscious level and so is harder to overcome.Delete
What Sara said...ReplyDelete
Sara is very wise.Delete
love it and y'all. I have missed catching up on your blog.ReplyDelete
Well you have had some major flooding to deal with. Welcome back.Delete
Changing patterns is so hard! You've done a great job. I think it's especially hard when fear is involved to remain calm (a huge struggle for me).ReplyDelete
It is really hard when fear is involved. I struggle with it too- for me what works is to take it one step at a time and have a plan to dismount.Delete
So impressed with you guys. That is a seriously hard corner to turn and yet here you are. :-)ReplyDelete
Thank you. It has been a long, hard corner. I know we'll have struggles but if I can get us over the 'evil lurks between B & C' thing we will be okay.Delete