A few weeks ago I had made plans to go visit Karen with Carmen but it didn't happen because there was a snow storm. We made a new plan for this past weekend and this time the weather cooperated with sunny skies and warmish temperatures.
I loaded Carmen up in the afternoon. She was a bit nervous about it but loaded obediently. When we got there she still seemed a little tense and I joked to Karen that I suspect I would be paying for this. However, she was really good in the arena that night when I rode. I made plan to have a lesson the next day with Karen and was excited.
|pretty chill here|
When I put her back in her stall she was pretty good until Kalimo came in. She became quite aggressive looking at him through the bars of the windows (they are up high, not at eye level). They have been beside each other before and I figured she would settle. The next morning we didn't need to hurry. There was barn help to feed and muck the stalls. Honestly, it felt like a vacation. We arrived shortly after eight and I was shocked to see that Carmen was a ball of nerves. Her stall looked like she had a rave in it the night before. And she was coated in dried sweat and ground in manure from the stall.
|Guinness: let me re-enact how Carmen looked!|
I was pretty sure that she would be at red alert during our ride. As I began to groom her and work out all the muck she began to relax and settle down. I tacked her up and took her into the arena to start out ground work. Like the night before I did all of our ground work with her at liberty. I really enjoy that because it lets me know how connected we are. After the ground work I mounted and began to walk around.
Karen came in and asked how she was doing. I said "she's nervous but trying really hard to listen". I know I said more words than that but I don't remember them now. "And how are you doing?" Karen asked me. And I was at a loss for words. I mumbled something about being the same as Carmen.
So Karen had me rate myself on a scale of 1-10 where 1 was comatose and 10 was super-excited. I put myself at a 8. My task was then to walk Carmen around, not worrying about what she was doing but to focus on getting myself a little lower on the scale. She had me visualize my energy flow and I told her it felt all knotted up. As I rode I was to visualize the knot being worked at by my fingers loosening it up. That worked - as I went around I could feel myself begin to loosen up and relax.
When I got a level 6 Karen asked me to construct a bubble around myself. I was to make it all around me and make it impervious. That meant that no matter what was thrown at me my emotional level did not change. Mostly what was being thrown at me by Carmen.
After Karen explained why she had me to this (I know it's out of sequence but it will make more sense if I explain it now). Karen noted that I was putting all my focus on how Carmen was feeling and then letting her dictate how I felt. This is so true that it's ridiculous. I've been working on not falling into the emotional spiral with Carmen but it's hard (the mare is pretty committed to her feelings at times).
This was hard but I put my imagination to work and created this clear bubble around me. When Carmen wold get tight and think about reacting (like to the many cats that were popping in and out the arena).
|Yes this is the horse that BOLTED from Willow the week before|
what you can't see are the kittens in the stalls bopping around
|Carmen: don't believe her- I'm never that dirty!|
|It warms my soul to see the winter's accumulation of hay, poop and muck gone|