dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Lesson Recap: Forward Ho!

I cannot believe that it's October already! My last lesson with Shanea was at the show in early September. We haven't been too successful in booking regular lessons for a while. I have found that my progress, while it doesn't completely depend on regular lessons, it does help to have check ins.  After some back and forth texting we were able to set a time for Tuesday after work.

I was excited to have the lesson because things have being going so well. Not that Carmen doesn't have her moments but the spooks are much less spectacular and we are able deal and move on. So even though she felt a bit tight to me when we started I wasn't super worried. I stuck to my warm up plan which consists of walking her around, seeing if there are any spots that she is concerned about and then help her work through her angst.

Shanea arrived just as were dealing with the 'troll of the day'. In this case it was our old favourite between H and C. My approach is to go though on the left rein (which is her better rein) and then right after H do a tight turn back to the rail (essentially a turn on the haunches) and carry through the corner. What this does is get her through before she has a chance to think 'oh yeah, I bolt here'. I slowly move the turning point down the rail and then we're done.  Shanea and I discussed this and how it works well for Carmen in breaking her habitual spook. I can write a whole post on this but that's not what this is about.

The goal of the lesson was to have Carmen on the outside rein. She tends to carry more weight on her inside legs which makes the outside feel like it's not there at all. The answer is outside rein and inside leg which is simple and not-simple all at the same time. But when I get her there she flows forward and is far more happy and relaxed. So it was a lesson of getting it, losing it, getting it back.

As we progressed we got it more easily and with less flailing. She began to reach for the bit and come over her back.
she could be a bit more in front of the vertical but look at
her stretching from her whither. 

I wanted to work a bit on our 'medium' trots. It was so much fun because as I corrected my posture- staying up and open she began to really understand the ask and respond. After a few times across the diagonal she gave me her best one to date. She was pushing, over her back and soft on the bit.

I am so obsessed with this photo right now
Here's a video of it:

After this one we left it to percolate and went on to do some leg yields. I was struggling with the right leg yield but the lefts were really good. It all comes down to straightness but we made progress.

We finished with canter work. And it was some really nice canter work. Our left lead felt fantastic- soft, balanced and straight. Our right lead is always a work in progress. There used to be a lot of flailing and loss of balance. It's much better now. She's beginning to reach under and push off rather then dump herself on the forehand and lose her balance.

lots to improve but I love that she reaching under herself 

I love this clip of our canter to trot to walk transitions. I love how soft she is and how clear the transitions are. This is where we ended it because she had done so well. Shanea was really happy with us. She commented on the improvement in my riding and how Carmen and I are communicating now. She had thought that our lesson would be a spookfest (my word not hers) given how we started. She was pleased that we didn't dwell on it.

This weekend Carmen and I are headed to a Johanna clinic. I'm excited for her to see us and to keep working on improving.


  1. Looks like a great lesson. Love the trot pictures. She looks great!

  2. Beautiful photos! You guys seem like you have come so far over the last year.

  3. OMG that trot picture! You can really that she's using her back. :D

  4. Those pics show some really nice moments!

  5. Sorry too distracted by also being so obsessed with that photo omg - go you!!! And go Carmen!!

    1. I now right?! It's all in there. Getting her to show it is the issue.....

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you! We are having so much fun. Well at least one of us is! :)

  7. That medium trot tho... swoon!

  8. I love that photo--nice extended trot--you're sitting up strong and relaxed, looking forward and happy--it seems like you're working together. Quite lovely.

  9. I love that picture too! Glad you had a great lesson!
    I had a ride this week with a big time troll spot that we just couldn't seem to work through, sigh.


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