dancing horses

dancing horses

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Wind Beneath My Wings

I had so much fun in my lesson on Sunday that I jumped on the chance to have another one this Thursday. As we move into late fall that ability to have a lesson will become more and more difficult.  I figured that I should capitalize on the opportunity.

I had to make this gif of her impatience. It made me giggle- it's so Carmen. 

I did manage to get another ride in on Wednesday. Well, sort of. The weather was brisk and cold with heavy clouds and drizzle. Carmen was definitely feeling it and she was quite anxious about everything. I am dealing with this differently this year. Not to anthropormize here but she reminds me a lot of someone with anxiety. When they are having an anxiety attack telling them to calm down or get over it will not work. Instead I work her using my TRT method stuff. When she felt good I got on but after a bit I had to hop off because she was fizzing. I did about 5 minutes of work in hand and then hopped back on. We mostly walked and I could tell that she was really really trying but was feeling a bit overwhelmed. So after walking for about 10-15 minutes I called it.

Today was also cold with heavy clouds and brisk wind. I honestly am not a fan of November. In the morning I took her up to the ring and did some of our TRT patterns.  I worked her in the 'safe' zones and then in the 'danger' zones. She tried really hard and did well. The wind blowing the dry grass was a bit much for her. There also could have been someone/something in the woods.

When it was time for the lesson I took her up a bit early and lunged her. Shanea arrived just as I was ready to get on. I told her that the far side was, in Carmen's view, a danger zone and we agreed to start working in our safe area and then work down towards the far end. That is why you will see in the videos that we are staying in the top 2/3 of the ring.

I was excited when Shanea said that she wanted us to work on our half-pass. It seemed like such a great great thing that we would actually be ready to school it. I have done some playing with it but nothing too serious.

not sure if it's easy to see but she's reaching under and heading over

Although sometimes tight, Carmen actually felt pretty good most of the ride. We started at the walk and she figured it out pretty quick. Her conformation make the collected movements easy for her- when she's mentally there. She seemed intrigued by this new ask. We started with riding shoulder fore and then, when that was set, riding the half-pass from that. At the walk there was a lot of time to prepare, ask and correct.

We then picked up the trot and tried it. It was, as you might expect, not awesome but she was really trying. I can feel that she wants to throw her haunches in a bit (especially on the right rein). But she didn't get really fussed about it- mostly worrying if I was going to take us down where the trolls were lurking.

Carmen asking if I'm sure I want to go this way
When she would get flat and on the forehand we would do a 10 metre circle and then carry on.

Working on the half-pass was requiring enough of our attention that it was easy to forget about the threat of imminent death. Mostly.  But every time I asked her come to back to me she did. We gave her lots of praise and walk breaks along with asking her trot out a few times as well.

much safer going this way....
After a break we went on to some canter work. Her canter is coming along in leaps and bounds. She's rocking on her hocks and when she gets a little off-balance and/or on her forehand she listens when I ask her to come back.  We did a canter circle and then down the long side. She got a bit excited and I brought her back. We began to work on walk-canter-walk transitions. Not sure what I was doing wrong but she began to pick up the wrong lead repeatedly and then got annoyed when I brought her back.

proof that it's not all unicorns and rainbows
We then just brought her down to a trot and, despite that all I was asking her to do was trot on a circle she began to melt down about the canter transition that I actually wasn't asking for but she was convinced I was going to ask her and it was going to be terrible.

I knew that persisting was going to get us no where so I halted her and dropped the reins. This lets her decompress and get her marbles back.  It works really well. I picked up the reins and we went back to work. Here's a little video.

It's all early, baby half-passes. BUT HOLY CRAP GUYS WE'RE SCHOOLING HALF-PASS!  In case you can't tell that I am excited by this. Shanea was thrilled with where we were. She also was quite complimentary to my riding. I told her Yes, this is the benefits I've been getting from my cantered riding lessons. I find that they help me figure out my seat. We talked about maybe arranging a CR clinic down here. I'm hoping that I can pull this off.

I was so happy with how hard she worked for me despite being sure that there was danger all around. In case you were wondering we did make our way down to the far side of the ring and no one died.

poor wind blown mare is still feeling pleased with herself


  1. Replies
    1. I know,right?! Although at this point they are barely there- I should call them ‘quarter-pass’. 😄

  2. Carmen sounds like a very mental ride. Not in crazy but you are always thinking and preventing and reacting.

  3. It is the worst when the sensitive ones become flustered! Almost inconsolable. I also have resorted to the drop the reins trick, and it seems to work wonders. And I work hard at managing my own emotions too.

    Looks like things are coming together for you. November is the worst month for silliness. March and April too. But you have a great toolbox to help get you through it.

    Beautiful work!

    1. November is such a dreary month. But I’m trying to school as much as possible before the weather gets worse.

  4. Your riding of Carmen has really improved. You look relaxed and together, like you’re moving as one.

    1. It’s definitely a work in progress- both mentally and physically.

  5. So exciting! You guys have come really far this summer!
    And I agree with you, November is crummy riding weather. It's always damp and windy it seems.

    1. I am pleased with our progress. It gives me hope for next year.

  6. This is so so cool! I esp love that you were able to forge ahead despite it being a day where maybe Carmen wasn’t initially on board with playing. And yet - you guys were able to work with what she had and make awesome things happen!! :D


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