|from last January
I have some deep guilt that I missed all the signals that she was in pain and instead thought that it was behaviour. I realize that by forcing her to keep going I was making her worse and violating her trust. And that really sucks.
I am not going to let that take me down a dark path though. I am going to file it away under lessons learned and put my energies to more useful things- like getting her to trust being ridden.
Friday I headed to Coveside again to go for a ride on the trails. The weather was cold and windy. I thought about cancelling but I didn't want to. So I left it up to fate- if Nancy wanted to cancel that would be fine but it wouldn't be me. That morning in the guest room closet I found an Outback oilskin jacket that I thought was lost in our move 7 years ago. It's a great windbreak and for a bonus I found $20 in the pocket.
When I arrived the main barn was busy so I drove down to the pony barn and unloaded there. Nancy rode down and met us and I used a rock wall to get on. Carmen was quite up at first. Which made sense- the weather and the activity (not to mention not having been ridden since Tuesday) all contributed. The lovely thing about hacking out is that you can really focus on your seat and hands while the horse strides along following the path. We did a lot of hills and she really began to use her back and push from behind. The jacket worked like a charm and only the tips of my fingers and toes were cold at the end. After our ride she chilled in a stall for a while and then hopped on the trailer to go home.
|I didn't take any photos on our ride but here's one from before.
Saturday I couldn't ride because of other commitments and that night we had torrential rain. It did end though and by the afternoon the temperature was much warmer and my ring was good. In fact it was fine first thing in the morning but I wanted to give it some more time. I had a plan which was to do ground work and make sure that Carmen was relaxed and listening before I got on.
I paid special attention to the places she was tighter in . I am guilty of not waiting until she is good but settling for 'good enough'. So I made sure that she was tuned in and focussed. I then hopped on.
I won't go into the details of the ride because you would fall asleep. All I wanted her to do was to walk around the ring without being reactive. My goal was not to get reactive either. There were a few spots where she was tight and evasive. I stuck to my guns without getting tense or fighting while not allowing her to get away. The trick to to stop her and then let go. She could run/spin/bolt if she chose too but I was ready to stop her. I wasn't worried though. I had a plan if she did. There was one time she tried to spin and I was able to shut her down. It definitely didn't feel that her heart was in it. I didn't get the same sense of panic from her that I was getting before.
When I achieved my goal at the walk I hopped off. I was tempted to try to trot and do more but I need to rebuild her trust in me and pushing won't work with her. I am taking the slow and steady approach.
Wish us luck!