I did manage to squeeze in a ride with Julia earlier this week. The stars aligned with the combination of mild weather and no ice so we were able to hit the trails first. I hadn't ridden for a number of days and normally I would have concerns about how Carmen would behave. But this year I want to be different, so I decided to start with the assumption that she would be fine rather then have a plan to 'manage her'.
Initially she was a bit tight but when I didn't answer with my own tension she relaxed and began to enjoy herself. The trail is short so we went around it three times. Irish was having a ball too. Carmen started to be interested in the trees and whether they were edible. After your third trip around, Carmen came to a stop. She wasn't balking nor was she grumpy. She just, well, stopped. I had to laugh because she reminded me of me. When I'm walking in the woods I often stop and just breathe in the air and absorb the woods. It felt like that was what she was doing.
|Irish was less patient about this, he wanted to go!|
After a few minutes I said 'ok, can we carry on now?' She gave a sigh and kept going. We headed up to the ring. The footing wasn't great but it was fine for walking.
I used to view walking as the gait that we started with until the real work could start. But now I find that there's a lot you can do at the walk. It's a great way to work on my goal of softness and bend. We did some leg yields and circles. At one point she came to a grinding halt- I followed her gaze and she was staring hard at a patch of snow.
Carmen: What is that? It looks dangerous.
Me: Ah, it's a pile of snow
Carmen: But what if it's not?
Me: Pretty sure that we don't have albino trolls here.
After letting Carmen look at it for a brief minute and then walked forward by it. I was very proud of her for doing it and for me to let her have a long rein.
We practiced a few half-passes at the walk and she was so good- really bending and lifting herself with her hind. It felt really good. I played with having her follow the bit as I loosened the reins and she did well. Instead of grabbing or inverting she lengthened down and low.
Honestly, she looks like a Thelwell here. I'm going with it's the angle
that Julia took it from
It was about 40 minutes all told but that seemed good to me.
Two days later we had a snow storm and today the temperatures have plummeted to -12. Add in 60-70 km winds and you get pretty f-ing cold. I let the horses out to move around but they were not interested in leaving the hay. So I opened the gate to the back field. That created some excitement.
|Carmen: how's this for using my hind end?|
|Irish looks great for a guy going to be 20 this year.|
|Guinness ran up and down the fence with them.|
I hope that the temperatures rise a bit because the snow is a great texture to ride in but I'm not riding in these temps!