dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, June 1, 2018

Beating the Heat

The weather has been sunny and dry but the temperatures have been up and down. This week it has really taken a turn towards warm. Julia had planned to come on Wednesday to ride again but had to cancel at the last minute. I decided that I would ride anyway, even though it was hot.

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.
forward ho

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

11 comments:

  1. Lol at troll corner. We've got one of those too in our outdoor arena.

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  2. She sounds like a fun horse to ride and it seems like she’s doing really well for being in heat. Speaking of heat—seems we always have opposite weather—it’s cold here. Oh, and Bee has made a troll corner in my arena. 😂 All this time, and I didn’t know we had trolls on our property!

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    1. She can be really fun. Definitely athletic and a thinker

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  3. I've seen some mares at my barn who seem to be very uncomfortable during heat. I think people write off their bad attitudes as mares just being witchy, when in reality they just don't feel great. As a woman, I can 100% relate. I'm glad you had a good ride! Those are the best.

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  4. ha i love the idea of "not getting greedy" during that first awesome ride when everything was right there when you asked for it. i LOVE that feeling!!

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    1. Thank you. It’s hard to not be greedy.

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  5. Guinness is just too sweet and adorable! It is hard not to be greedy but really it’s always good to end on a good note. And Carmen has so many good notes it must be hard to know when it’s time to call it a day.

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