On my last blog post N recommended Tristan Tucker on Youtube. Since then I have become obsessed. I am not all they way through his videos but he has a set on 'The Vertical Mare". When I watched it I was all THAT'S CARMEN!
In this he talks about how 'high and sensitive horses' do not always know how to control their body and relax. That the mare will need to learn how to control her body when she goes into tension. Watching this mare was like watching a bay warmblood version of Carmen. Looking at the owner really wanting to do the right thing and working really hard reminded me of me (but alas I am not that thin or pretty).
I know the danger of watching a video and thinking that you know how to do it. However, a lot of his things are very familiar. Slightly different variations but it all the good quality groundwork. On sunday. My goal was simply to have her stand relaxed, then walk behind me maintaining the same direction and then, if all went well, to have her bend and relax (turn on the forehand/haunches).
Carmen moseyed up to me in the field and I put on her rope halter. We headed up to the ring and I asked her stand. She was curious as to what we were doing but the standing and walking is pretty familiar to her. The bending around me she knows but me keeping the ask until I felt the tension ease is knew. It was easier on the left than the right. Which is fascinating because she is also far more spooky on the right rein.
The idea, as I understand it, is to help the horse to figure out how to control their body and learn that they have the tools they need to relax. A few things he said stood out to me:
'she has a lot of feeling in her body. When it doesn't feel good it's not going to look good and it's not going to feel good for you (the rider).
'it's not the thing- it's that knowledge of what to do with herself when she's faced with that kind of pressure'.
'it's not that we look to wave a magic wand. it's a restart to help her trust the process of receiving and accepting knowledge.'
It was fascinating. As we worked slowly and calmly I could feel the tension leaving her body as we worked. It honestly wasn't long at all. I think we worked maybe 15 minutes and then headed back to the barn. I made sure I was totally in the moment with her and pushed away those stray thoughts that intrude at the best of times.
Likely this is resonating because it's pretty much where I landed with Carmen- that I need to help her understand and seek to relax. I'm thinking this will help me make the connection.
|totally relaxed getting her tail brushed|
(not from sunday but how she was)
Carmen is a sensitive mare and I'm just beginning to truly learn what that means.
After our session, I was puttering in the barn and Carmen was hanging out in her stall munching hay and by all appearances she was focussed on the highly important job of eating hay. I was definitely in my own little world, and while I had been relaxed I began to think about my week. I walked down the alley thinking of something work related. I moved my hands in a slight gesture and she immediately reacted- her head came up and she came to the door to look at me. I thought she wasn't paying attention but she was clearly aware of me. I took a deep breath and relaxed the tension out of my body and she relaxed right away.
you okay mom?
yes', sorry to startle you
It's okay. But you wouldn't have a carrot on you would you?
Clearly I need a reminder to park my distractions at the barn door and focus on being truly present.