( Warning: this post may get a little transendental)
A couple weeks ago I wrote about Carmen and I playing with liberty work. We had also done a little bit back in August. There was a marked difference between January and August. The difference, I think was me. In August I had a lot of idea and direction and probably put a bit of pressure on her (not that that is necessarily a bad thing).
I've been wanting to try this again, tackling it the way I did in January- with zero agenda and more about being with Carmen then directing her. The weather took a marked turn towards bitter cold and I didn't even think about doing anything until it began to warm a bit this weekend. Not that we were as cold as out west. At -40 I think I would just become a whimpering blob on the floor. Our temps were more like -15. Cold as hell but not the ninth circle of hell.
|The farm is pretty though and I'm wondering now, how many literary |
references I can put in this post?
Monday is a holiday here in Nova Scotia and since I don't work fridays, it made it a four day weekend for me. Friday was still pretty cold so I consoled myself with baking a cake. But Saturday was a lovely day. I wanted to exercise Carmen a bit as well since she's not terribly motivated to run around the field on her own. She was eager to go to the ring and seemed to enjoy stretching her legs. I then slipped the halter off and decided to play a bit.
Guys, this is so cool. Carmen had complete and utter freedom but she stayed with me. Wherever I walked she did. I even played with small circles and large ones. I would turn to her haunches and she would yield her hindquarters. If I 'leg yielded' to the right she would go that way - which makes sense because I was going towards her. But she also followed to the left.
Carmen's attention was grabbed by something in the next field and I walked up to take a look. She followed behind me. We stood there and she raised her nostrils to sniff. I lifted my head too and sniffed. She looked at me, then totally relaxed.
|Willow hung out with us as well|
We went up to the mounting block and she lined right up. I hopped down and left but she didn't follow. When I turned to her she was looking at me with a 'well, are you getting up or not?'. She stood there for the longest time so I went back and stood on the mounting block. I hung over her back and she nudged me with her nose- no, that's not right. stop fooling around. So I tried to get on. But my 50-something body, Carmen's height and the height of the mounting block make it impossible. I did really try and then fell. Carmen just looked at me and sighed.
We played some more and then I went to the gate and offered the halter so we could head back to the barn. And Carmen said 'no'. Every time I offered the halter she turned away. I walked back to the middle of the ring and she followed. Clearly she wasn't ready to head back to the barn. We did a little more and she finally was ready to go back.
Sunday I did more with her. I could have ridden but I was just curious to know if the day before had been a fluke. And at first it seemed like it was- she seemed more tense and less engaged. I then realized I was being tight and so I took a breath and began to relax. It was like flicking a switch. She became instantly tuned in. I set my phone up to take a little video. I am sorry for the poor quality but you can see her stay with me.
I sat down to see what she would do. All she did was drop her nose and hang out with me (you can see Guinness too trying to join in the fun).
Today was a stunning day weather wise. It was sunny and close to zero with no wind. It felt glorious. This time I tacked Carmen up and we went to the ring. I played with the liberty first and asked her to line up at the mounting block. This is what she did:
She simply stood there. She didn't leave and she didn't get tense. She napped. I did more walking around the ring and this time when I came back she lined right up. I didn't even pick up the reins when I mounted. The footing was a bit slick from the melting so we were just able to walk. I spent most of it on a long rein seeing if she would stretch into it. Carmen got a bit excited once by something down in the woods but settled right back. I don't think I rode for long but it was nice to just sit there.
|I never tire of this view|
|wish me luck|