Since Carmen had recovered from her surgery back in November, I've been trying to book a lesson. Unfortunately, either timing or weather interfered and it never happened. Then winter hit and I gave it up.
But now it's March and things have thawed and I've been itching to get a lesson. I wanted to wait until we had a few rides under our belt but not too long to let bad habits get solidified. Finally the stars aligned: I had a vacation day this week, the weather was supposed to be nice and Jane was available.
Phew- that's a lot of logistics to fall into place. So I was worried when, in the morning, it was cloudy and windy. Prime conditions to create a fire breathing dragon. I was tempted to cancel but decided that I should go ahead and deal with whatever happened.
|A windy March day
By the time the lesson was due to start it was still breezy but the sun had come out. The thing about March is that how warm it feels depends on whether the sun is out. I got dressed and then got Carmen. She was actually pretty calm during our ground work. I set up my Pivo to record the lesson. Let me say I'm really loving it so far.
I was a little more thorough in my ground work this time making sure I did liberty work as well. Then when things looked really good I mounted. We were walking around when Jane pulled in. Carmen's ears went up and we watched her get out of the car.
Carmen: oh, I know what's happening now.
I told Jane about how great Carmen's been but I was struggling with the forward.
We went to work on the circle. Jane was having me do an exercise of putting Carmen's haunches out on the circle as we went around. Think of it like doing a turn on the forehand while you're walking.
I'm not gonna lie, it was hard to wrap our heads around that one. Jane was very patient. I know the idea is to get her using her hind legs active and stepping under.
|Carmen: do I look like a pretzel? This exercise is ridiculous
|Photo of not impressed Carmen
|Carmen: do I look like Secretariat?
At one point Carmen did a fake spook at the gate of all places. It was because she was getting tired. But we let the canter go on and I could feel her thinking 'that didn't work out like I planned'. After trot work we had a break. Carmen immediately wanted to head into the middle to get her praise from Jane. She clearly believes that all this progress is because of her and I am merely the passenger.
Then we did some canter work. And the same exercise with her haunches. Which is even harder because she likes to throw her haunches in at the canter and so getting them out is really hard. But neither of us had a melt down and we worked at it.
After another break we went back to the right rein and did some trot. By then Carmen and I were a little over it. Not that I was wanting to stop because I was loving the work we were getting and I felt totally in the zone. But my body was telling me that I was tired. After some really good trot work Jane said 'half halt and then canter'
Carmen: is she serious?
me: I think she is!
Carmen: we could say no you know
me: c'mon darling, we can do it
Carmen: *sigh* fine
And we cantered.
When it was time to stop both Carmen and I said 'oh thank god'
As a first lesson of the year I was thrilled. Carmen's mind was right with me. And even when she had feelings there was no fighting. Jane told me that she was pleased where we were starting off.
I got some good exercises and it will help to guide my schooling rides before our next lesson.
After we dismounted I stood with Jane and debriefed the ride. I then realised how cold the wind had become. I said let's go down to the barn and out of the wind. I then realised something.
was the wind like that for the whole ride?
Me: wow. I never even noticed.