This time was going to be special because my two amazing friends, Paula and Karen, were also coming. I was looking forward to getting some insight into Carmen and what was going on. I was also worried that her behaviour would be off the charts. But I figured that it would be a great time to get their help.
The format of this clinic is pretty straightforward. We all meet early Saturday morning and talk about our horses and our goals. Then we are broken into the two groups. In the morning we all do groundwork. In the afternoon we practice the obstacles in hand and ride if we're ready. Sunday is a mix of in-hand and riding over the obstacles. Everyone gets attention from either Mike or Nikki. I have to say that it's totally worth the money. Not that it's expensive- it's not. Lunch is also provided.
Friday night I wanted to ride. I was a bit worried because the ring can be quite spooky. The far end is covered with a tarp and there is plastic covering windows that also have holes in them. Karen helped me and Carmen to stay on task but I was really tense which was not helping. I have to say that my self-confidence was at a low ebb.
|Saturday morning and Carmen was feeling pretty|
Mike drew a rectangle about 8-10 feet away from each of us. The goal was to move the horse to that rectangle and have them stand there. Easy enough when you can lead the horse there. But we weren't allowed to change our position. It really made you focus on what you were asking and adjust the cues. It took a few minutes but then TA-DAH!
|look at her- like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth|
(also you can see what I mean about the far end being a spooky place)
And that was how she was all weekend. Not a hoof out of place. No big explosions, no bolting, no balking.
|Standing in the water box:|
Carmen: my toes are getting wet and this water is dirty
Me: just stand here, K?
Mike: are you sure that this is the mare you described?
|celebrating a good day's work on Saturday.|
Here's a video of us riding part of the pattern.
I also think that perhaps my intention is not always clear.
Armed with this knowledge I feel that I can move forward. It's always a worry when you think you are making horse work when they are in pain. Now that that is off the list I can move ahead. I'm also on 2 weeks vacation so I can take as much time as it takes to work through our stuff.
Carmen looks happy and relaxed in this work. Maybe she just needed a break from dressage for a bit? Or new scenery? I too always think pain first when Eeyore starts acting up (or Gem in the past too) but sometimes I think they just have my numberReplyDelete
Maybe. Literally though, nothing I’ve asked is outside of her comfort zone. I think she just had my numberDelete
I’m glad the clinic felt like a breakthrough or moment of clarity in communicating with Carmen! I really want to try something like this with Charlie, or truck training..... can’t you just see him as one of those animals who paints pictures?? LolReplyDelete
I was wondering what ruck training was and then I realized you meant trick. That said, I don’t think you should train Charles to drive.....Delete
Sounds like a great clinic! Just a thought, but with my Jet Set, he tends to get tense and spooky when the work is at the edge of what is difficult physically for him. By difficult, I mean harder not impossible. Could it be that Carmen is comfortable doing the groundwork/trail clinic work but that she thinks the dressage work you are doing at home is too hard so she spooks and acts up? I guess I am saying the same thing as your clinicians but instead of trying to make her do things she is convinced are too hard, but really aren't, you could focus on the easy stuff that builds partnership for a while and then add in bits and pieces of harder work, until her comfort level increases with being asked for harder work.ReplyDelete
Totally unsolicited advice, so take with a grain of salt please! I just find with these sensitive horses the anticipation of harder work that might be too hard(in their own mind) causes all sorts of tension and resistance. It's not that they can't do the work, it's almost a form of anxiety that it will be too hard. By going back to "easy" things that they like to do and then adding bit by bit the harder stuff the anxiety is lower and the trust is higher.
Sorry for the novel, you are doing a great job with her-she is not an easy personality!
No offence taken, I appreciate the thoughts. The work she’s objecting to is literally trotting a 20 m circle. So I don’t think that’s it. I’m still working on getting them here for a consultation.Delete
Sounds like a good plan!Delete
Oohh this is valuable insight indeed that she was so awesome during the clinic compared to her time at home. I hope this can help you two find a happy place again.ReplyDelete
So awesome! I love trail clinics and have done three so far. What they have taught me has been invaluable, especially the part about letting go and timing the release. What a genius idea to have them come to your home and give you a special session. That will be priceless!ReplyDelete
I have to talk them into it first!Delete
And I agree, timing is everything
Sounds like a great experience! Maybe Carmen is feeling a little bored with the routine at home? I know you were playing with some poles in the springtime, maybe some of that stuff will get her interested again?ReplyDelete
Either way, glad she's not hurting, and that you had a great weekend! Sounds like a lot of fun!
I second this idea - when Dante is bored he can get very spooky, very quickly!Delete
Keeping her brain busy definitely helps.Delete
What a wonderful weekend!ReplyDelete
It was. I hope you are doing better.Delete
Interesting! She's kind of too smart for her own good :) I used to feel Bridget startle a little and start to be on her best behavior as soon as she heard my coach's voice getting closer to the arena. They're so funny!ReplyDelete
You mean too smart for my own good. 🙄😁Delete
Its always good to have an outside perspective. And to have your confidence boosted by a good outing.ReplyDelete
It is very good.Delete