I can't believe that I actually was able to ride twice this week! Wednesday was a beautiful day and my work day ended up opening up in the afternoon. I sent an email to my boss and she gave me permission to take a few hours off. Today was warm and we were able to ride again. Ashley was able to join me on Sunday.
I have been finding my focus on riding actively really paying off. On Wednesday I had a mini-epiphany. Carmen gave a 3 part spook. You know what I mean- you are trotting along and then something catches your horse's eye:
*stutter step* WHAT'S THAT?!
*horse starts to go forward and then* 'OMG it MOVED'
*bounce in place* 'WE MUST FLEE'
During this I suddenly realized how I freeze and don't do anything (other then tighten every single muscle in my bod). I could feel how Carmen was really looking to me for help and I was doing nothing.
I know that may sound stupid but I never really was able to analyze what I was doing during one of her big spooks. After when the dust settled it was a blank to me. So this was huge for me and it underlined how I need to be an active rider not a passive one. I pulled my socks up (figuratively speaking) and made sure that I never stopped riding. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.
I was excited to have Ashley come out to ride Irish today. I don't mind riding by myself but it's fun to ride with others every now and then. I was curious to see how Irish went because he's been looking really good. His incontinence is continuing to improve which is really making me happy. He's continuing to eat everything in sight too.
Both horses seemed happy to come in. Irish is always pretty happy to be fussed with but Carmen was being very mellow and reached for the bridle. Ash noted that she was a lot whiter and I told her that she was becoming a unicorn. I looked at Carmen with her ears back (not down, just her look when she thinks I'm being foolish) and laughed
Me: 'you don't need a horn you'd just stab people with it'.
Ashley: 'She would totally stab people with it'
I didn't lunge her before I got on. I honestly didn't think I would need it. And I was right. Carmen was forward and relaxed. There was one incident as be headed to Troll Corner but I put on my inside leg and got her marching through. And that was it. A few times she wanted to look but it really was nothing. I am feeling optimistic about conquering that corner this year.
Carmen was really forward in the ride in a way that I rarely feel. She was all 'let's go do the thing' and I was 'could we half-halt? and she told me I was a 'spoilsport'. I wanted to make sure the footing was okay and it was a bit mushy in places. The far end was best so I finally said 'okay fine go canter' and she leapt into it with enthusiasm.
And you should have seen Irish- he was carrying himself better then I have seen in a long long time. He was clearly feeling as good as Carmen and was there to play the game. I stopped Carmen to watch them go and she was convinced we were done. Which led to a bit of a discussion when I wanted to go back to work.
Carmen: We're done.
Me: No, that was just a break. We can do more.
Carmen: Nope, your quarter is up.
Me: C'mon let's do a little more.
She got herself into a bit of tizzy over going back to work and I just stayed quiet and clear and didn't back down. I asked her to canter and she couldn't decide whether to kick, buck or canter so it was a bit spazzy and made me giggle. We got the canter rhythm and then I brought her back to walk, relaxed and then asked again. Ashley was watching and said 'she launched straight up into that'. It definitely felt uphill.
We didn't work on anything new- with such sporadic schooling sessions it's just about confirming stuff already established. What's neat about that is that I can feel that getting more and more solid.
I love riding when the horses are having as much fun as the people.
|from before Christmas but it still represents how I feel|