dancing horses

dancing horses

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Smooth Sailing

Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic
~Van Morrison~

the joy of living near the ocean- being able to take photos like this

I didn't really have explicit goals for the weekend. I just had a 'sort of' plan. I think that that was a good idea because it allowed me to enjoy the time and not get caught up in whether I was meeting any specific goal. 

I am sure that you are all shocked that I could be super-obsessive about goals and achieving them; but I have been known to be a bit intense. 


What I did want to do was to break our pattern of tension when I'm riding. It's become so that I can predict when Carmen will start to spook or act up. So instead of a goal of a calm ride, I decided that I would just ride and school. 

Sure enough, when I first mounted I felt her tense up. As we approached the far left corner (the one she spooks as in every ring), I felt her tense up. I flatly refused to copy her. I left my legs dangling and ignored all the scary things she wanted to notice (like the diffirent coloured dirt, patches of sun, crack in the door). Instead I just rode like it was all fine. 


And so it was all fine. Our rides were nice and productive. I worked on what she was doing in the moment. I spent a lot of time getting her to stretch into the bit. And on Sunday was able to get some pretty consistent transitions without her stiffening her lower neck and hollowing. 

I also discovered that her canter has become strong and powerful. Nothing like riding in a 20 x 40 arena to realize how quickly a corner can come up! 

Karen rode her for a bit on Saturday. It was great to watch them work together. Carmen started off as 'I just can't do shoulder in, it's impossible and you are mean for asking me to' to 'oooh I can do it!'. When I hopped on after to cool her out she was so soft and relaxed over her back. It was lovely. 

It was wonderful to spend three days riding and working on things without pressure or an agenda. I could do a little leg yields, then switch up to something else. 

On Saturday Karen, Janet and I went out for lunch and then to Bits N Bridles tack shop. Where I found a very special saddle pad: 
Carmen: "hmm, that might just be fancy enough for me"
While some individuals may think that I have a saddle pad problem I know that it's perfectly normal to have about 15 pads. After all I have 2 horses so it's really just 7.5 each. Right?

Anyway, I have had my eye on the Baroque saddle pads for a while. Last year I had decided that if I had a good year of showing with Carmen I would buy one. Of course by the end of the year I hadn't gone to one show. 

All for very good reasons and I have no regrets. It was time (and money) well spent. But I had a plan and so while I could have bought the saddle pad I decided not to. You may think I'm silly and that's okay. It made sense to me. 

However, this year has been a huge success for us. I know that Bits carried these and I was not disappointed. I fell in love the blue and black one. I am impressed by the quality of them as well (fashionhorse.com).

As you can see it looks perfect on her. I rode in it on Sunday and she was so good. I'm sure that would be lots to fix if I was getting a lesson but she was trying hard to figure out what I was asking and I was trying hard to give her what she needed.

Obviously it's the magical saddle pad.

It really was a perfect weekend. There was so much laughter and sharing the joy that horses bring us that completely recharged my batteries. Riding is becoming fun again. And not just every now and then but all the time. Having another eye watch us go and give some advice was wonderful. Watching others ride was fun.

I even got to ride Karen's stallion. He's amazing and so powerful- I call him a Ferrari! I had him cantering and I couldn't figure out how to get him stopped (I didn't want to haul on the rein, he's trained to respond to the seat) but I never felt in danger. Just like, uh oh, where's the brake pedal? 

I am sure that Carmen felt the vibe as well. She was so calm and relaxed through it all. I had to laugh because on Friday she nickered to Kalimo (Karen's stallion) and raised her tail (I realized she must have been in heat!) but on Sunday she pinned her ears at him and her tail was firmly clamped. He didn't seem to notice either way.

The mare who walked off the trailer calmly and meandered out to her field later on sunday is miles different from the mare I had last year or even this spring. She has a confidence now that wasn't there before. And maybe I do too.

I definitely want to have a few more of these weekends over the winter: horses, friends, food and shopping. How could it be better?! 

32 comments:

  1. that saddle pad is perfect for her ;) sounds like a weekend well spent!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great weekend! I LOVE that saddle pad!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The magical saddle pad is BEAUTIFUL!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great weekend! And a lovely saddle pad!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love that saddle pad and she looks beautiful with it! Great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really suits her. I had thought our colour scheme would be purple but clearly we are gravitating towards blue!

      Delete
  6. Baroque saddle pads are my jam 😍😍 LOVE that one on miss Carmen, excellent choice!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love your photos of the sea. I'm glad you had such a beautiful productive weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you I need to get my camera out more.

      Delete
  8. That saddle pad is gorgeous. It matches your mare :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds divine. Definitely nothing better than weekends like that!

    ReplyDelete
  10. yeee so fun! I love weekends like that. Good for you for flat out refusing to copy here! You are getting good at not picking up that ball!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet you would have really enjoyed the weekend too- I've read about yours and thought that they sound like so much fun. :)

      Delete
  11. One of my favourite songs. I MUST HAVE a saddle pad like that!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes you should! They have so many colour options.

      Delete
  12. I guess I need more saddle pads. I live such a boring life when it comes to tack. Favorite color? Black. 2nd favorite? Brown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, I used to be very conservative. As I age I decide 'the hell with it. I'm going to have fun'. :D

      Delete
  13. That saddle pad is beautiful!! I love the color scheme on her - good choice.

    I rode a friend's baroque-type mare this year and when we cantered I also felt the "uh... where's the brakes?!" she just had such a HUGE stride and was SO powerful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. The canter is pretty amazing in Baroque horses.

      Delete
  14. Oh wow what a fantastic weekend. So nice when its getting fun to ride all the time and a calm horse :)
    And such a pretty saddle pad doesn't hurt either ;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. You need *at least* one more pad so each horse can have a solid 8 each. No one likes sharing. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm so happy for you guys and all of the amazing progress that you made this year :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. I love the feedback.