Let me go back. This weekend Carmen, Irish, Julia and I went to a Johanna Beattie Batista clinic. I have done at least one every year and Carmen and I always make gains. This time Julia wanted to come. She could only ride on Sunday but came out to audit on Saturday.
Friday we hit the road around 9:30. Other than running into road construction it was an uneventful journey. Carmen came off the trailer like a pro. Irish was much more 'up' about the whole thing. I settled them in their stalls for a bit while I unpacked and then I put them out in a paddock to stretch their legs.
Carmen was all 'oh, okay. it's not bad but it needs more grass'
Irish was OH MY GOD, WHERE ARE WE? WHAT'S GOING ON? Do we live here now? Who's that over there?
I had packed my training 'toys' (flag, plastic bag and clappers) with me. Before our ride I brought her into the arena and we worked through our patterns. She was awesome- totally unconcerned about the arena or Irish screaming his head off outside (even though there were other horses. I thought about brining him in but figured he would be worse in a stall).
I tacked her up and began to warm up waiting for Johanna. Honestly, by now it's all a blur. Carmen was relaxed, mostly, but not completely because she was walking very fast and it was hard to rate her.
Truthfully, I am used to balking Carmen and spooking Carmen. Speedy Carmen was a new kettle of fish. So much of the lesson was about helping Carmen to go slow without pulling on the reins. We started off with a lot of bending getting her to do shoulder in. The idea is to connect her back to front. You can see int he video that, while she is tight, she is also trying really hard to pay attention to me. Rather than it being 'go away!' she was more like this is really hard, are you sure? Okay, I'll try.
And it slowly paid off. Johanna is a Level 2 Centered Riding Instructor and working on her Level 3. She stopped me at one point and did an adjustment to my hip and bam! my legs were right where they were supposed to be.
It was wonderful to be able to work on loose joints and a following seat.
|a blurry screen shot but I love the moment it captured|
|I need to get my hand more in front but still....|
One thing that Johanna helped me to see was that I didn''t need to take any 'sass' from Carmen. She was periodically yanking on the rein. I thought it was my fault but it turns out that she was just taking advantage. Once I gave myself permission to correct her for things, everything became much better.
As we worked she became softer and softer. Contrast this shoulder in to the one earlier in the ride:
We found a spot to end it and I was so happy. Not once did she spook. A couple times she got a little tense and worried, but responded right away to me asking her to soften. At the end of the ride I ask Johanna is she saw improvement from last year.
Oh yes, 1000 percent! she exclaimed and I was so happy. Carmen meanwhile was relaxed and ready to go relax.