Sometime, between spring and now, Carmen has gotten pretty fit. Which is, of course, a good thing.
Most of the time.
However, I find a fit Carmen who's also in a snit quite difficult as she's very will to canter all day and bounce around like a fool. Not that she's doing that a lot but I can definitely feel the muscle there.
On the other hand, when the work is good, it's amazing. As long as I can keep my core engaged and my seat following we do well. But it's tiring.
|Sometimes I feel like all I need is a lance|
Last week Julia and I had a shared lesson again. I do enjoy this format- it gives me time to think through things and try them on my own. Plus I get to see Irish go and that's always fun. In the end we had been riding for about 90 minutes. Before you mount a rescue mission- the first 20 minutes were spent hacking in the woods and then 10 warming up in the ring before Shanea arrived.
|warm up trot|
I'm trying to make sure that I identify the things that are going well. It helps to create the positive, forward flow rather than being stuck in the 'I suck swamp'. In riding it's easy to focus on what is not going well. Especially if you received lessons from those who believe that teaching was all about the yelling. Shanea is good at helping me see progress.
Funny thing is that research shows that optimism has positive impacts health and performance wise. Here's a link if you want to read more.
So as we go into summer here are the things that are going well:
1. Carmen's canter is much improved. On the left it's light and fluffy and very malleable. On the right it's straighter, and when it's not, she responds to me straightening her.
2. I am riding in my bubble and, 95% of the time, it's successful. I do not fall into the emotional whirlpools that were so easy in the past.
|I love her current weight right now|
3. Battles are short(er). It's not that Carmen does not argue or have opinions. To be honest, if that happened I would think that she was dying, or I was. But I'm so much better at dealing and dropping it. For example, the other day we were hacking out and I asked her to lead. She balked a bit and then tried to spin back to go home. I just turned her in a circle and released the pressure when she was facing the way I wanted. I didn't then put Irish in front. I just sat up and rode forward.
|Irish: they'd be lost without me|
4. I'm more consistent: in my riding, my direction and in my expectations. I have dropped 'hope' as a strategy (as in 'I hope she doesn't spook by that bush') and am more like: 'we're going forward and by that bush and then leg yielding to X and then halt'.
5. I'm riding better- my shoulders and hands are more following and I'm vertical much of the time. In fact, at Karen's she noted that I was leaning back too much.
6. I'm learning to feel when she's on her hind end and when she begins to tip forward.