How did I get so far behind? Before it was because there was little to write about. Now it's because Carmen and I have been doing many things. And now I am a couple posts behind. I shall try to catch up.
Last weekend was a long weekend here in Canada (I don't know if it is elsewhere). We had originally planned to have a Balance Clinic like last year but it needed to be cancelled for personal reasons (not mine and not for me to post about. But I will say hug your family).
It's been a hard year for many of us and so we decided to switch the plans to a fun weekend. Paula came with Georgie and Karen came to have a weekend away. Except that we made her teach in the morning before she was allowed to have fun.
|Guinness and Paula having a very serious conversation|
Both Carmen and George were excellent all weekend. Paula was worried about how Georgie would react to the chickens but she was totally chill about them. The chickens themselves were hilarious because they like to hang out in the extra stall but I had it set up for Georgie. Every time the door was left open they would make a beeline there and give baleful looks when asked to leave. I now totally understand the phrase 'ruffle someone's' feathers'.
|we were here first. Also, how come we|
can't have nice soft shavings?
On Friday, Paula and I played up in the ring with our groundwork. It was a good reminder to me to not slack off on that. I've been working on getting Carmen to seek out the spots that bother her in the ring and rest. I've also been asking her to 'seek' out the tarp as a spot. What I do is set up the tarp and 'lunge' her, as she gets close to the tarp I take off all the pressure and then let her choose to rest (or not). If she doesn't, I ask her to go and repeat. Last time she did well with it in one location but struggled in the others. I got her to be a little better and then stop. This time her eyes lit up "I know this answer!" and she headed right there and stopped looking at me all proud of herself. It goes to show how just looking for a small improvement will lead to gains later.
|Yes I took a picture of Georgie knocking|
over a pylon but loo at her walking over the tarp
Karen arrived later and we ate a big dinner and enjoyed talking about horses. Over the course of the weekend I had two lessons from Karen. She remarked about seeing me warm up Carmen on a loose rein. Which is true- I do that now, unless she's sending all sorts of signals that she is not okay. I Of course, then I am usually not getting on until she's ready so that rarely happens. know I started slowly with this and I don't really know when we got to the spot of me just asking her to walk on a long rein but here we are.
Karen picked up on how Carmen weights her inside more than her outside. Particularly going to the right. It's subtle but you can definitely feel it. Karen had me think about doing a 'ground and grow' but with just the outside part of my body. That was different but it helped her to shift her weight over. It definitely worked better than my pulling on the inside rein and kicking the inside leg. The rest of it was pretty much the same- using my seat for transition, reinforce with the reins/legs, be insistent when I need to and let it go right after.
|No pictures of Carmen but here's Gorgeous Georgie |
I was able to really drill into the turn on the haunches. I've been struggling and I told Karen that I needed very specific instructions on how to ask/fix/support because, while I can recognize that she's walking a circle I don't want to be hauling on the reins to keep her there because that's not going to work. The best piece of advice I had was to walk the ToH with my seat bones. That helped me to not freeze or tighten and seemed to make sense to Carmen.
On Sunday we did run through of Second Level Test 1. It was a bit of crap show to be honest but mostly because I was asking things too late and not setting her up. I have fallen into the trap of only asking when things are perfect rather than working on getting them perfect in time for the transition spot. Definitely a thing to work on.
|we do have nice beaches here and the water was not too cold|
Aside from riding we also went to the beach and ate lots of food. Ed cooked lovely brunches for both mornings (sorry Carmen). We had a big steak dinner Saturday night and then sat around the fire chatting and having a few beverages. It was lovely. I think it's sweeter because for so long we couldn't get together. The value of getting together with friends for a quiet, low-pressured riding weekend cannot be underestimated.