dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, October 11, 2020


Sorry guys, this is probably going to be a bit of a ramble. 

The weather is getting cooler and the trees are really starting to show their colours. 

I love this old maple at the end of the driveway

Normally, at this time of year I'm really easing back on my riding. We would have had a busy summer of shows, clinics and lessons. Of course, 2020 is different. And yet I find myself easing up.  

I've doing a lot of hacking and not so much schooling. Sometimes I feel guilty but mostly I don't. 

I've even  found myself getting up super early to hack out with Julia. I've been listening a lot to Jane Pike who's been talking about transactional vs transformational relations: 

"At the core of it, riding and horsemanship can be transactional or it can be transformational. Transactional means that we ride in order to experience a specific result; transformational means we recognize the possibilities of practice that exists when we engage with our horses and the possibility for that to elevate us to states of awareness and consciousness that weren’t available to us previously."
Jane Pike

It's an interesting idea to me and one I'm trying to figure out as it relates to Carmen and I. Carmen is not a project for me- she is unlikely to be for sale. I am not against people who do that. We need people who can put excellent training on horses and then sell them to people like me. 

I feel when I switched to focussing on our communication and partnership that the big jump has happened for us. Not that I don't address behaviour- I do. Part of addressing is knowing my own limitations as a rider. And that means sometimes I don't ride. 

Like this weekend. It's been sunny but incredibly windy. Like blow you over windy. I cancelled a lesson on Friday and rebooked for Saturday. Which was also windy, albeit a more southern wind and less bitterly cold.  In the morning I lunged Carmen and she was quite agitated. I did ride her for a short time at the end, focussing on getting her to breathe and relax. I wanted to cancel the afternoon but Shanea didn't want to. Instead we decided that she should ride. 

Before the ride we discussed the goal- I wanted Carmen to develop confidence that she can deal with this stuff. It was so interesting watching Shanea work through this with Carmen. the key is that she is able sit calmly through some shit that, even if I could sit it, would result in me feeling uncomfortable and nervous. 

If Shanea gets nervous it never shows. And she is able to make things super clear and create a path for Carmen to find her calm. 

Not so long ago I might have felt disappointed that I bowed out. But if the goal is to help Carmen, rather than my ego, then the decision was the right one.  The truth is that I'm also okay with possibly making a wrong decision if it's putting up in the right direction. 

In the meantime it's Thanksgiving here in Canada and we've been visiting family ad eating far too much. that may help Carmen be grounded next time I climb on. 


  1. Just remember it is a progress and you have come such a long way with Carmen. Happy Thanksgiving a day or so late.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving! It always seems like we do eat too much with that holiday but hey, it's only once a year right.

    I agree with you that its not always about our ego but the horses well being and getting them to feel calm and have confidence in themselves. There are lots of times I opt our of riding and longe or do something else. If we're not confident and calm neither will our horses be. I'm lucky in the fact that my daughter is a wonderful trainer and a calmer person you'll never find. A horse could be rearing and carrying on and she never loses her cool. So the main thing I would think is it's okay to opt out sometimes if you just don't feel like it. Just enjoy yourself and your horses.

    1. Thank you. I agree, sometimes it’s better to let someone else help.

  3. "... the goal is to help Carmen, rather than my ego..."
    I wish more people would come to this conclusion. It would spare a lot of unhappy horses, and prevent some awful wrecks. As always, I love reading about how your journey with her progresses and how your relationship continues to blossom.

    1. I agree with you. Sometimes it's faster to let someone else take the reins.


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