|Hello. We see that you are walking the dog. You wouldn't|
happen to have any apples in your pockets would you?
(who could resist those faces?)
I'm not worrying about leg yields or the perfect 10 metre circle. All I want is to replicate the work we're doing from the ground. I want her to reach for the contact and seek to relax. I want her to look to hold my hand and that there are different answers to being worried and tense then running away.
Some rides I just walk. A couple rides ago, once I got on I simply worked on a stretchy 20 metre circle at the walk. When I got a few of those I hopped off.
I do insist on a couple things though:
#1. that she stay under me - she's not allowed to fling her front and back around so that she's off center below me (or that I'm off-center above). I use my legs, reins and even my knees on her shoulder to keep her there.
Which relates completely to
#2: she stay straight. So, if she starts to fall away from the scary corner I don't really argue that (yes I know but trust me, fighting to keep her in the corner is a fools game) but I do make sure that she's straight. This usually means that I insist that we do a half-decent leg yield rather than just flail around.
I also insist on a couple things on myself:
#1: stay calm- in my mind and my body. I try to be aware of when I tense and consciously relax my seat, arms, etc. I clearly have a lot of work to do in this regard but I am making progress.
#2: stay balanced on top of her. Me getting off-centre makes her worry more and gets her more reactive.
#3: (okay I lied, there's more than a couple) Try to figure out what she needs and how to give it to her. It might be my voice, or a quick correction, or turning before she's going to want to so that it's my idea. I need to be okay with making a mistake, shrug it off and try again.
After my lesson on saturday it began to snow. Julia came out and rode Irish. He was feeling pretty fresh but settled in to work after a bit of silliness (love that at his age he can still be silly)
|the most perfect of orange ponies|
The next morning was freezing cold and I was shocked to see that my ring was actually pretty darn good for riding:
|it was in fantastic shape|
|this picture makes me giggle. We're resting while Irish trots on by and|
look at those grumpy mare ears.
I even dropped the reins and let her wander where she wanted. I tried to take a bit of video from her back (sorry for the poor quality). She actually wanted to head to the 'scary' part of the ring. I know it was because she wanted to follow Irish but I don't care- I had a completely loose rein and she was totally relaxed in her body.
After we headed into the woods for a hack. It was beautiful and I only got snow down my neck once. Carmen led for a bit and when she became really worried we let Irish lead again.
It was a a good ride and I still think that I'm on the right path. Carmen is becoming quite affectionate with me these days and that is not her normal behaviour.