dancing horses

dancing horses

Monday, September 28, 2020

Showing Up and Doing the Work

 Fall has arrived with its mix of weather. On the plus side our drought seems to be over. Although it's probably too late for my paddocks. I do enjoy riding in Autumn- the weather is warm enough that you don't need all the layers but cool enough that the bugs are pretty much gone. Recently we are experiencing warmer than normal temperatures. 

I never tire of this view

I had a lesson booked for friday and the weather was stunning. Carmen was feeling pretty mellow along with the weather and I found myself humming as I got her ready. 

I have to confess that I really just want things to go along on a nice upward trajectory. But the reality is that Carmen is not always the same every ride. Like it's not like she suddenly woke up and said 'hey, I'm not worried about things anymore and I LOVE dressage.'  But I'm getting better of keeping myself centred. 

Not always though. I doubt I'll ever be the zen role model.  But I try to show up each and every ride/ground work session and figure it out. 

I've been loving our lesson warm up these days. We start with getting her to lengthen and shorten her walk stride. If that doesn't work we start with just walk/halt/walk transitions. I love how loose it gets her back- it really starts to swing. 

I wish my hands were so backward in the energy but 
otherwise this is a nice halt

From there we go to trot. Shanea has fully bought into the notion that we need to bring Carmen along and that pushing her too fast results in her arguing. So we accept some pretty crap trot at first with the idea that we work to move it forward and free. 

not bad but her neck is pretty retracted

Through transitions and circles we get her moving forward and feeling good. 


In this lesson Shanea set up trot poles to get Carmen to think about her body and moving from behind. Her tendency is approach the poles, fling her front end over and hope her hind end follows. 

You know, the slinky toy approach. 

Carmen: all these trip hazards, someone needs to pick these up

My role was to sit up, support with leg and hand but not interfere too much. Which is, like, really hard to find the right amount of support without dropping or driving. But we kept at it and it worked. 

When we switched to the right rein it was like starting over. No, not like at all. We had to start over. Part of it was she was getting tired. The other part is that Carmen is far more likely to spook/react on the right rein.  It wasn't an issue with the poles. It was an attention issue. I wanted her to pay attention to the poles and she thought that the bushes were far too interesting. 

From there we did some canter work- again working on her pushing from behind and not flinging her forelegs out while her hind legs fall behind. 

I can definitely feel her withers coming up in the canter. I like that I'm sitting up better. I do need to be a  softer in my seat. 

It was a good lesson. It wasn't anything spectacular, not by a long shot. But it's the every day work that will make the changes. As long as I keep showing up. 


  1. I'm glad you had a good lesson. The second to last picture of Carmen is gorgeous. She is such a beautiful horse.

    1. Thankyou for your kind comment. She is lovely.

  2. In my brief time as a mare owner, I too have learned to accept the crap trot at the start... The boys also offer that up to start but you can coax them out of it much more quickly.
    Sounds like a solid lesson!

    1. Well that is interesting. I wonder why the first trot is crap? I do lunge her first so I don't think it's stiffness.

    2. I don't lunge first, so I just assumed tight/stiffness... But maybe it's a little dominance. Or general, "Don't forget I'm the boss mare stuff?"

  3. Carmen is a beauty. It's sometimes easy to forget that even though every ride isn't perfect they all add up to a better understanding of what we need to do. Stringing the pieces together pays off every time we get back on. Look how far you and Carmen have come since you got her. I think you both look great.

    1. Aw thank you! I know we have come a long way. I just really want the tension to magically disappear.....:)

  4. Showing up everyday to ride is a good mindset to have, sometime I wish the horses got the memo tho lol


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