dancing horses

dancing horses

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

 First of all, THANK YOU for the kind comments and support following the loss of our chicken. It was a hard day and caused a little regression. It also let me see how far I've come in terms of my resilience.  I am doing well although I'm having recurring dreams of the horses outside of the pasture. I am sure those will fade. 

I really wanted to write a goal recap before the end of 2020. But I am late and that will have to do. 

Overall I am counting 2020 as a success from the equestrian standpoint. Sure I didn't get to any shows but I had a lot of other highlights that I didn't even miss the shows in the end (although I did miss my show friends). 

Without further ado here's the recap on my 2020 goals:

1. Increase our confidence and trust in one another: 

    A.  Increase Carmen's tolerance and confidence in dealing with the unexpected.
    B. Increase my confidence and trust that Carmen can deal with the unexpected.

We both have increased confidence. I worked really hard to not let my mind go to the worst case scenario but to focus on the positive. And it really helped. I honestly feel that Carmen is quite self-confident most days. I will also say that a large chunk of her bolting/spooking this year was more about work avoidance than actual fear. 

The proof? Two big things this year were the obstacle clinic and the solo trail ride we did. 

A collateral gain of this is that I have more confidence in myself to deal with things and I don't worry so much about her feelings in the sense of fear.  when she's agitated I soften and try to be supportive rather than tense for the bolt and shorten the reins. 



2. Actively choose my emotion when I'm working with the horses.

This is a work in progress but I'm a lot farther down teh road than last year. I can remember when I felt like a victim to Carmen's emotions. I realized that I do this with people too- feed off their energy and let it dictate mine. It's not easy to work on this but it sure does pay off. 

It's not that I'm never frustrated or that things don't spiral. But it's rarer and of shorter duration. If I don't feel in a good place emotionally I don't ride. And by 'in a good place' I mean having the resources to deal with what comes up. There are times when I'm tired or less than chipper but I still ride. And times when I just don't because I have nothing. Then I groom and spend time puttering with the horses. 



3. Increase Carmen's adjustability- 

This is definitely improving. I can put my leg on softly and feel her stretch out in her stride, or I can still my seat and feel her come back. She is understanding the work and trying hard to listen. In fact, lengthening and shortening her stride is my 'go to' exercise when she's feeling amped up and like she's going to 'blow'. It helps her settle down. 

there is a lot more to improve with this and she probably could have come farther (especially with a more talented rider) but I feel that I worked within her zone. 



4. Improve my seat.

Honestly, I feel this is one of my bigger improvements this year. I am so much better at staying with her and in the saddle. The Better Balance Clinic helped a ton! I've been working on the concepts and each time they make more sense to me. The 'ground and grow' is so helpful to not pinching my thighs and leaning forward. 


last year


this year

 I've also been working on my own fitness which helps.  I got a ton of help in my regular lessons with Shanea. She was able to help me understand when things weren't working whether it my ask or Carmen's emotions causing the difficulty. 

5. Support horse events by volunteering. 

Well, *gestures vaguely with hands* you know. 



6.  Do things that are fun.

My 'fun' plans definitely changed this year. But honestly, the things I did were super fun. I think 2020 taught us to really enjoy the time we could get because who know if it would last. I spent a lot of time with some friends in early February at all the lobster events. When things shut down me would meet over zoom and now we get together in our small 'bubble'. I hacked more on my property than I have a in a long time. 

And who could ever forget the epic BEACH RIDE? Not me that's for sure. A lot of my epic horse moments involve Karen in some way. I don't want that to ever change. 

this? oh, this is just me riding an Andalusian stallion on a beach



21 comments:

  1. It's cool that so many of your goals were process-oriented, that way you could still make so much progress even with... gestures wildly at the entire world. It was lovely to follow along this year and watch how much your confidence in each other grew :)

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    1. I agree. If m6 goals had been about showing than I would have lost motivation.

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  2. It has been so fun following your journey and love the animal voices!

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  3. It's so cool to watch your progress with her each year!

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  4. I must have missed your last post somehow, just went back and read it - I’m so sorry :( losing an animal is never easy but that particular circumstance with the dog... ugh terrible.

    Really tho, what a year you’ve had. Carmen looks so incredible in all the pictures and video and you should be super proud of how far she’s come! Excited to see what happens next in what will hopefully be a closer to normal year!

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    1. Thank you. I think it will be a while to be normal but I hope we’re more normal this year. If we even remember what that is.

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  5. You've got all good goals to keep you busy this year. Never forget how far you've come and how far Carmen has come. It's been a wonderful journey so far. But we always keep moving forward and learn and achieve more every time we ride. Good luck to you and Carmen.

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    1. One reason I keep a blog is it allows me to look back and see progress.

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  6. Sounds like real progress! You guys look great!

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  7. Reframing our mental approach to things is absolutely huge and it really comes across in how you wrote about riding Carmen this last year!

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    1. Oh,thank you ! I tried hard and it’s nice to be validated.

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  8. We have to have goals! I like how specific yours are. Here's to 2021!

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  9. I love the way you structure your goals, and this post gives me a lot of productive food for thought...

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    1. Oh I am glad. I've been mulling over 2021 goals.

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  10. "feed off their energy and let it dictate mine. It's not easy to work on this but it sure does pay off."

    This. Damn. I've never seen it written out so succinctly, but boy oh, does it ring true. And what a beautiful thing to work on!

    And yes - that beach ride was so very epic! I always smile really big for you when seeing the photos and reading your memories of that ride.

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    1. I am glad this resonated with you. I'm going to be working on this for 2021 as well because I am not done.

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  11. Glad you were able to accomplish so much despite the year we all just had!

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