dancing horses

dancing horses

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Scaredy Cat

So today I was able to take some time this afternoon from work and have a lesson. I was looking forward to it but in a 'I must handle this very carefully' sort of way. I looked for signs of her being uncomfortable in the barn and saw none. We headed up the ring to do some ground work before Shanea came. She was spooky

 I wanted it to go well because I really want to start the upward swing of our training. I'm pretty sure that Shanea felt the same way. I was doing some ground work when she arrived and we discussed some options for the lesson- her riding, her lunging me on Carmen, me riding. We opted to try the latter. We figured if things went to crap we could figure it out. I do love that Shanea works with the rider on a plan rather than just taking over.

We wanted it to be a positive experience for Carmen. The idea was to keep it simple and work from there.

If this was a book, Carmen would have been perfectly calm and happy and ready to tackle dressage with all the talent that she has in her little hoof.

But it's not a book.

And Carmen is Carmen- a sensitive, somewhat dramatic mare with some pretty strong ideas.

Fortunately, that is what I was expecting. What I wanted was that pain was not a player in this little drama so that the other could be dealt with.

Which is what I got.

I led Carmen up to the mounting block and she gave a start and became tense. I walked her away and we started again. I could tell as we walked off that she was worried about things and pinned her ears a bit. But I just keep the flow going and that disappeared pretty quickly.

Carmen was pretty tight in the corners that caused issues before. She tried all her tricks to avoid going there. Here I'm using the 'reverse' to work her through it rather then boot her through everything (although that happened too).

Here's the thing though:I wasn't even remotely afraid.
could her neck get any more retracted? But hey- I'm not clamping with my hands #smallwins

I don't know why I wasn't worried. But because I wasn't afraid I could stay relaxed and not get emotional. So when she began to throw herself around I could work her through it and praise her when she go it right.

I kept it simple and did my best to make sure that my cues were clear and as strong as needed to make a point. Shanea said that she was largely just a cheering committee because I handled it all well.

There were times when she was so relaxed and her back was up and then a switch would flick in certain areas and she was tight and tense. You can see it in the video - when she tightens there's a lot more bounce in my seat. It honestly feels like I'm riding Pepe Le Pew:

Here we're going through that spooky corner really well but farther up is apparently still up for discussion.

I probably should be annoyed that we are still working on this crap. But I am okay with it because... well I don't know why.

Maybe because this the Carmen I know and I know how to 'reason' with her on this.

Maybe because I'm happy that my horse isn't broken.

Maybe because I'm happy that my fear seems to be gone. Without fear I can be more proactive and work through things. Because I'm not tense I can stay soft in the saddle and go with her. I am not feeding into the negative spiral.

Whatever the reason, I'm so happy to be back in the saddle.

I was really happy with this- we finally cantered through without
balking or bolting. 


  1. Feeling ready and prepared to keep working is half the battle !!

    1. It is. Fear is such a debilitating emotion.

  2. Nice ending! She looks pretty good from an outside perspective. Had to laugh at the Pepe Le Pew though. :)

  3. The Pepe Le Pew description is so accurate when they get so tight and hollow! I had that exact same feeling at my lesson yesterday.

    1. It's a weird feeling. Am I riding a deer? A pogo stick?

  4. And what a beautiful canter it is!

  5. Left a comment yesterday guess it didn't go through again. I hate this ipad. Anyway, I thought you ended up really well.

    1. I might have screwed up the publish part too! But thank you!

  6. Carmen is beautiful! I just found your blog but I am looking forward to reading more.

  7. If this were a book, you'd be gleefully collecting all the instances of foreshadowing of your happy ending: )

  8. Yay for not being scared. I think having a mental handle on things is more of the battle than people really make it out to be. I'm sure you and Carmen will keep improving together.


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