I guess the title is a spoiler alert but if it's not enough- the lesson did not go the way I had hoped. The rides leading up to the lesson had been really good. So I was expecting the lesson to go well too. Not like 'we are ready for our grand prix' but along the lines of 'here's what you should be working on'.
It started off fine enough and then Carmen began to be tight and tense in the far corner (by the woods). The same corner that she had been drawn to the ride before. But she wasn't being really tight, something along the lines of a 6/10 on the Carmen scale. Shanea was having me flex her to inside and outside to get her supple and listening.
Anyway, we were riding down along the far corner and then she spooked. A big one but not so bad and then a switch flipped and she was bolting to the other side of the ring. I had nothing in terms of brakes or steering.
Shanea was videoing and you can see the start of it (turn on the volume if you want a laugh).
Carmen ran up to the other side of the ring and, for a minute, I thought she was going to run through the fence. But she did a bouncing stop and shot off in the other direction. I had a moment of 'oooh I stayed on'. I finally got her into a circle and then got her to a stop. I jumped off and we did some lunging. I'm not going to lie- my heart had been in my throat and it took a bit for my heart rate to settle. But after some groundwork I got back on and we did some work on getting her soft and working, rather than tight and running.
|Tight and heavy|
It was hard. She was so heavy in my hand that it felt like I had 20 pounds of pressure. I finally stopped and told Shanea that I needed to back up and do the things I would if I was riding on my own. It's a simple exercise:
At the halt I drop the rein and then pick them up. I'm looking for her to stay in her halt and to accept the bit. If she moves I simply put her back and keep at it. When that is settled I asked her to take the contact and step softly into walk. Rinse and repeat. then walk-trot etc. It does work really well. And it worked here.
We finished on a good note and I called it. We were both quite sweaty at the end. While I was disappointed to not have the lesson I wanted I did learn that I was able to handle the shenanigans and ride through it. And that I could get in a good place.