This is Gaucho III- Carmen's sire. If you watch it you will see some similarities to Carmen. I can see the same reactivity and sensitive nature that she has.
Here's a good example:
|from back in August|
I would say that it depends on her mood. Some days she wanted to play and others she didn't.
We can debate whether relaxation should be on the bottom or second step but to me they are so closely entwined that it's a moot discussion. I had this idea that relaxation would come as we worked. As she understood the job and got used to the ring. I kept waiting for her to get there on her own.
But it appears that it is a difficult concept for Carmen. One technique is to 'work' her through it. And that does work but it's tiring and not pleasant for either of us. So we have dialled things back and are working on the second part of the pyramid- relaxation.
My goal in my work with Carmen in between Shanea is to
not screw things up continue the work as best I can. And it starts in the barn. Saturday I was alone again and I was torn about working with Carmen. I decided that I could work her and decide if I was going to ride or not in the ring.
As I was getting her ready I felt that old familiar knot in my stomach. And she was being restless- looking around, moving her feet and generally being annoying. I know that we were feeding off each others negative energy.
|definite negative energy|
I was putting her bridle on and it felt more like a wrestling match.
no. I said. This is not the way to start.
I took it off and stood there with her. She was completely free to go (if she chose). I stood there and just breathed until she brought her head to me. Then I put on the bridle and it was so much better. We headed to the ring and I walked her around on the line just breathing and feeling the ground.
Carmen was startled by something (butterfly, bird, ghost troll..... who knows?) and leaped sideways. I stopped and looked at her and she was standing completely still and braced. I stood still and breathed. After what seemed like a long time she gave a sigh and looked at me. I then walked on. I lunged her and she was fine. I decided to get on and see how things would go.
It's not like I was perfect. But I did the whole ride at a walk asking her to find relaxation. My only ask the whole ride was for her to step forward into contact in a relaxed way. when her head came up I would put on my leg and pulse the inside rein. If she fell in our out I straightened her out. It took a while but I finally had her walking relaxed in every area of the ring. I then halted and got off. It felt like a good ride.
|the smaller hunter ring. I love this place|
On Sunday I spent the morning with Tanya watching a hunter/jumper show at Coveside. It was lovely weather and some really lovely horses and ponies. It was fun to catch up with some old friends too. In the afternoon I tacked Carmen up and she was much more relaxed. In the ring I repeated the same things but this time introduced trot. Relaxation came and went. When it came I tried to be quiet and ride it forward. When it wasn't relaxed I asked her to bend and give without getting tight or upset. When I had her stretching into contact and swinging back in every corner of the ring and then I dismounted.
It seems so simple but is more nuanced then I ever appreciated.
Poor Johanna. I think that this is what she's been trying to get me to understand for a long long time. Sorry Johanna, sometimes I'm a really slow learner.