dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Summer Lovin': Lesson Recap

I had a lesson booked for early Saturday morning. Shanea came for dinner Friday night and and stayed over so we could have an early start.  It was nice to have time to chat and catch up. I brought her up to speed on the clinic and what we'd been working on. She was in agreement that I needed to be more clear and that Carmen's issues were behavioural and not physical.

Saturday dawned with blue skies and warm sun with the promise of heat later in the day. I was happy to be riding early. Truth be told, morning rides are my favourite anyway.

Carmen was pretty chill in the barn getting ready. This has been the case since we were away- she's quiet and not being at all pushy. I went through my groundwork checklist and then did some lunging. The task is simple- she's to stay in the gait I set for her and I leave her alone unless she breaks. Carmen has caught on to this pretty quickly. This time, at the canter she started to break and then was 'oh right, keep going' and then self-corrected. That made me happy.

I mounted and, you guys, she was so soft and easy.

screen shot from video
Shanea even commented that she'd never seen her start so soft before. I have to say that Carmen seems to be really liking this new bit. I find I can be a lot more refined in my cues. Also, interestingly, she's not opening her mouth or gaping. Look at how soft and happy she is here.

The lesson itself was nothing earth shattering but it was soooo nice to be working with a forward, happy horse rather than a bolting, spooking mess. Not that she wasn't tense at times- she was, but everything was so much easier.

remember when Carmen couldn't go in this corner without bolting or rearing?
yeah, me neither. Carmen has no idea what I'm talking about....

We made sure to give her breaks and rewards for when she was really good and kept working when she was resistant. She's definitely figuring that out. 

Shanea focussed on me keeping her underneath of me and stepping from behind. She definitely
felt less heavy. And she wasn't leaning on my hands and trying to steamroll around the ring. 

so could I stop leaning forward? but at least my hands are soft....
We did lots of trotting and walking. I didn't hear a lot of Shanea telling me to let go of the inside rein, so that's good. I also found that I was able to not be so heavy in the stirrups. 

yup, this corner is good too
It is amazing how much better you can ride when you are not worrying about being lawn darted into the ground.  

I just love this photo, everything looks so soft and happy. 
We worked on some leg yields with me keeping her on the outside rein. It was fun, even though it was starting to get hot. 

We finished up with some canter work. Carmen was starting to tire and began to demonstrate it by being a bit spooky at B. I know that this means she wants a break but I can't give her one for this behaviour. So we worked through it and then gave her a break. 

I was so happy with this lesson. It was awesome to be able to go to work and learn things without arguments. I know Shanea was happy and I'm pretty sure that Carmen is too. 

I know I have to continue being diligent but it feels wonderful to be on this path. 

reaching under with her hind leg and I'm actually sitting up. 


  1. So glad you were able to get such an amazing lesson after feeling lately not so great about the work!

  2. Those good rides have a tendency to make you forget about the crappy ones!

  3. Yes!

    And also, I was completely mesmerized by the perfectly raked lines in every photograph of your arena. My OCD is so very pleased lol!

    1. I might get a bit obsessed with those lines ....

  4. Also, that halt-walk-canter transition was GORGEOUS.

  5. Glad things are back on the right track! Sounds like a lovely lesson!

  6. Diligence is key, which isn't easy in the heat! That walk to canter looks excellent, and since Tumbleweed's trot is equivalent to a jackhammer, I would like to just skip it and do this.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I love the feedback.