Initially Carmen started off a bit tense but I am keeping with my plan of a slowing her walk and not reacting to her reacting. She had a small spook, then a slightly larger one and then a scoot. After the scoot I said 'you know that you are just revving yourself up don't you? Why bother?' And I swear that as soon as I said that she took a deep breath and relaxed.
After that we had one of our best rides. Not that we were super fancy but everything I asked her to do was 'yes of course' as opposed to ''why?' or 'nope'. Transitions? spot on and forward, leg yields? No big deal. She was with me 110% even though there were cars coming in the driveway, birds flying around and rustling grass. I decided that I needed to not be greedy and I stopped and hopped off. I checked my watch: 25 minutes had passed.
|look at how soft her eye is after our ride|
Thursday was quite hot and I had already decided to take it 'off'. Instead I took Guinness to the lake.
He LOVES going to the lake- he carries his toy there and back. it's really adorable and reminds me of me of a kid.
Friday was hot right from the beginning. That morning in the stall I noticed that Carmen is back in heat. The good news is that means she should be over it by the show next weekend. The bad news is that I have a lesson tomorrow. I love having my horses at home so that I can know these things and make plans. I have been doing a lot of thinking and I think that most of her spookiness during her heats is because she is uncomfortable.
I decided that I would still ride her but I would see if I could make it easier on her so we don't get in a fight. I rode before it got too hot but after I let her out to graze (and move) a bit. I also started her on the lunge- not because she seemed really up but I wanted to let her warm up without me on her back. I could see that she was a bit tight and I let her find her rhythm and get herself moving. When I mounted I spent a long time at the walk giving her time to become supple. She was definitely more spooky then earlier this week but I still kept her at the walk and insisted that she be slow. Once she felt good I asked her to trot. Funnily enough I only got the slightest of resistance to trotting. I'm not sure if anyone would have noticed but me- it was kind of like a car struggling to change gears going uphill.
I asked her to bend and leg yield at the trot. She gave one big spin/spook up by troll corner and did her best to convince me that she was going to be really bad if I kept her going that way. I refused to be harsh and fight- instead I asked her to bend as hard as I needed to to make it happen and then released. I didn't clutch the reins or tighten my legs. I just rode her through. It really did take the full ride to get her fine up in that corner but honestly it wasn't horrible- I just needed to remember to ride her forward and sit up.
Her canter is really becoming a great gait for her: forward and flowing. I've been working on canter-trot transitions trying to keep her from dumping on her forehand and speeding off after the transition. It's not easy and takes a few half-halts but I can feel her starting to get it. Even better I can feel her thinking about it rather then just reacting. I feel that her canter lengthens are more genuine than her trot ones. I am not sure if that is completely true but will get Shanea to check for me tomorrow.
At the end I worked on our free walk. That she is really starting to understand and, even better, enjoy. I played with it up in troll corner. The first time her head came up and she became tight- I shortened the rein to have her if I needed too but still gave her slack and asked her to step into it. The next time she actually did it. I chose that as the 'good moment to stop' (although honestly there are so many of them now that it's not always an easy choice).
After I hosed her off and then dropped the lead line in the grass. Carmen grazed while I washed her tail. Remember when washing her at all, let alone her tail, was a process all on its own? I do. Now I trust her to not run off and she trusts me behind her with a bucket of soapy water.
After my little cream puff enjoyed a lovely post ride roll:
There is something so adorable about a horse rolling in grass