|September is beautiful in Nova Scotia|
There is an old cowboy saying that 'wet saddle blankets make good horses'. For the longest time I really believed it and worked hard to ride often and, well not 'hard exactly, but I had to talk myself into a ride that was just a walk or walk/trot because it felt like cheating.
I honestly believed that all and any time in the saddle was time well spent in terms of training.
Then Carmen entered my life and, although I had many a wet saddle pad it didn't seem to lead to the outcome I wanted (a horse that wasn't going to injure or scare me). So then I started to work on important things like focus, understanding and our relationship.
Which was really important and made a huge difference for both of us. But somewhere along the way I had begun to doubt the wisdom of the 'wet saddle pad' theory and dismissed it.
As you know I've started to lesson with Jane and, let me tell you, those lessons are hard. I am working on changing my riding style and being more clear with my aids. Jane is calling me out on my position flaws. She's definitely doing it constructively and I am very appreciative of the detailed feedback. It helps a lot. I'm finding that turning my shoulders to the right is really hard. I think that there's a lot feeding into that. My work set up for one and the fact that I'm left handed definitely means I'm more oriented to the left. Carmen is more left oriented but so is Irish and, while I know that horses also have one sidedness, I think that the common denominator is me. So I'm working on my shoulders turning both while mounted and randomly throughout the day.
Our canter departs and down transitions are so much less 'flail madly' and way more 'balanced and uphill'. In our last lesson we were doing serpentines with a simple change over the center line. Talk about making me stay organized and planful. At first Carmen was 'WTF is this new torture' but then was all 'I got this, look at me'. Then we did a canter across the short diagonal with the aim of doing a counter canter to M but I felt a shift and then we were on the right lead. I brought her back to trot and halt and looked at Jane.
Me: Was that a flying change?!
Jane: *smile* no, she did a single trot step.
As excited as I would have been with a flying change, doing a single trot stride into a new lead also shows how balanced she's becoming. Carmen was all smug you were wrong and so I fixed it. I never get enough credit for that.
|don't worry we get our fun in too|
At the end of our lessons both Carmen and I are sweaty and tired. But it feels good too. For both of us. Which is making me re-evaluate the wet saddle pad hypothesis. I don't think wet saddle pads are, in and of themselves, the making of the horse. I think it's the quality of the work that counts. Like you can be sweaty because you're running from a bear or sweaty at the end of an intense workout. Only one of those scenarios will have you feeling fitter and saying that was awesome!
I've been trying to incorporate this into our rides. We work harder, I ask for more and then we have a break. Carmen is tuning in more and clearly enjoying the work. I'm gaining confidence and even find myself thinking about showing again.
|Seriously, if you ever want to see NS come in September or October|
I agree with you that the quality of the work is more important than the amount of work when you're creating wet saddle blankets 😁ReplyDelete
I figured you would agree. With these dramatic spanish mares what else can we do?Delete
I love this! I've had to re-evaluate my relationship with Skeeter, which has always been contentious. I love her, but everything felt like it was a fight. On the rare occasions we clicked, it was like the heavens opened up. Now that we've changed things up, we're clicking more frequently and the contentiousness is leaving our relationship.ReplyDelete
I think lessons for the both of us are next on the goal list.
I too have been in those fights and it's draining. We still have them but they are far more fleeting. I'm glad to hear that things are going well with Skeeter.Delete
Sometimes I wonder why horses put up with us. If some other species decided to dominate me and take my freedom and decisions away, I would kick, bite, scream and contemplate their murder or my escape every waking moment. And yet, horses can be the most amazing and gentle partners in our journey and have proved their worth time and time again through wars, conquests, and agricultural revolutions. We continue to breed and foster hundreds of millions of them on the planet because of their willingness to work with us.ReplyDelete
I like to think of the “wet saddle pads” as the intention to partner together for a bigger goal (ie find the lost cows, save the girl, run to the frontlines to save the troops). I can feel my horse swell with pride and purpose when we are in workmode. Its a mode where I give some direction and let him, my partner, manage the details of where he puts his feet. The partnership drive takes us to a different plane, and sweatiness often ensues. But for me the connection and communication are the backbone, and much of that begins on the ground.
Thank you bringing this to light! Keep inspiring us! ❤️
I find your journey with Q very inspirational. Keep on writing!Delete
What a great lesson!! Honestly I think it’s all about balance and knowing what we want before we ask for it. I like to think of training sessions as “mental” or “physical” cycles, but not every ride has to be every *thing*. It’s hard with Charlie bc he loves a quick succinct school where he gets the answers right the first time and I don’t ask a second time. But…. Sometimes that means he’s less resilient when things get hard or we have to keep pushing through….ReplyDelete
It is hard. We have to be thoughtful but not overthink, physical but not too hard.Delete
remind me why we do this again?
So glad you are expanding your horizons with Jane….she is an amazing teacher!ReplyDelete
I’ve heard that a lot, too, and always figured it just meant lots of time with your horse. I’ve been spending all day out at our equestrian park, and it seems to be paying off. We work, rest, work, play, ride, and don’t worry about the clock. I think there’s a lot to be said for the breaks in between, and the time spent together—sweaty or not. You’ve done all that, and it shows.ReplyDelete
I've been thinking about how I could do with Carmen. I think it would be very beneficial.Delete
You seem to get a lot of it at your clinics. Those long days, and weekends, you’re always taking advantage of. Priceless time.Delete
Your approach with Carmen in inspiring. Sometimes taking a step back and re evaluating the process is really important. I'm doing a whole lot of thinking about my horses and what Im doing, why I'm doing it and what I can do to change the conversation these days.ReplyDelete
That is such a valuable thing to do. I used to joke that I was going to the olympics and now I joke that I'm not. But I'm not joking. I enjoy my horses and that is all that's needed.Delete
I love how much of a character Carmen is.ReplyDelete
You have really had some great lessons this year, I hope you do decide to show again. After all those wet saddle blankets should be rewarded!
She is definitely a character! I enjoy her- most of the time.Delete
YES! This! I don't think you gain anything from just aimlessly moving your horse (and yourself) to exhaustion and wet saddle pads. It absolutely needs to be the right work at the right time, for the right length of time. That's when you see the benefits.ReplyDelete
Thank you. you put much more succinctly than I did!Delete
I feel like the wet saddle pads theory can go wrong so easily, but I still think the miles make the horse... good miles make good horses, and if you put in a lot of good miles, there are bound to be some wet saddle pads along the way. Love this post and so happy you are having such productive lessons.ReplyDelete
I love that phrase- 'good miles make good horses'. :)Delete
Haha it took me a while to figure out that saying, when I first heard it I thought it meant there was some benefit to literally hosing down your saddle pad before putting on the horse. Not my brightest moment X)ReplyDelete