dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, December 1, 2017

Steady as She Goes

Sailing a boat calls for quick action, a blending of feeling with the wind and water as well as with the very heart and soul of the boat itself.  Sailing teaches alertness and courage, and gives in return a joyousness and peace that but few sports afford.~George Matthew Adams

I would quibble with Mr. Adams or at least require that he add in horse sports. However, I seem to be on a nautical theme as late. Sorry about that. 

Knowing that winter is appraoching and it will impact my schooling I've been trying to sort out what my priorities are for riding. 

What I've decided is that it is creating a calm and steady dynamic between Carmen and I. From that I can build. However, it won't really matter how wonderful her trot lengthen is if I can't get it reliably beause her brain is all over the place. 

This requires such awareness of my mind and body- I need to be calm and steady and make sure that my seat is with her not tensed against her. It sounds so very simple but the body reacts in all sorts of subtle ways when the brain thinks it's in danger. 

It is getting easier. I am definitely less worried. Cynthia came out to ride yesterday (on a sad note she will be moving to the other side of the country but let's put that aside for now). 

The same old spots were creating difficulty and I had to just keep my seat relaxed and my brain on the task. It was interesting- she would come and go in her attention but I stayed steady and kept bringing her back. She did one small spin away from some rustling grass and I just sat it out, gathered up the rein she pulled out of my haand and we carried on. 

I'm really taking the fun out of this. 

We worked on some leg yields and shoulder in. She kept with me and we managed to get some half-decent strides and some really really nice strides. All depending on where her brain was.  I had to be a bit insistent at spots where she was sure that she just couldn't because of all the danger but nope, here we go. 

We finished up with some beautiful canter work. Her canter is really coming nicely undersaddle. It's very powerful which makes it difficult for both of us - it's so easy for her hind end to dump all her weight onto the front rather then to pick up and carry. I played with shortening and legnthening the stride on a circle and that seemd to help. I could feel her start to understand the 'ask'. Although she wanted to use my hands as a prop to help her carry herself. 

We also had some true and proper free walk where she was marching over her back and over-tracking with her feet. Cynthia looked over and said 'hey that's new!' And it is. We even practiced riding it into the scary corners and I refused to pick up the rein in anticipation. 

If I can keep building on this steadiness next year will be so much better. 

let us take a minute to appreciate how lovely she looks in her
new saddle pad. :)


22 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you're losing your riding partner and friend. What a bummer. Carmen looks lovely in everything.

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    1. I know but life takes different turns! It's kind of fun having a grey mare, I can dress her in all sorts of ways. :D

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  2. that saddle pad is perfect on her ;) and good luck with the steadiness. i definitely know what you mean in feeling like as the rider we have to be prepared to offer that steadiness for the horse

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    1. Yeah- I guess one of us has to be calm. :)

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  3. Love the sailing analogy. I grew up sailing competitively (actually, before I ever rode horses), and while it's been years since I've been on a *real* sail boat, I do find that the parallels between sailing and riding are very real!

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    1. I've never sailed in a race, but I do love going out for a recreational sail.

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  4. Loving the nautical analogies.
    Also, that saddle pad on her? Carmen so sexy.

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  5. Boating and Horsing are a lot alike in many ways

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    1. It's funny but I had never thought about it until recently.

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  6. Ah, so fancy! She looks fabulous in that saddle pad

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  7. Love the saddle pad on her. Beautiful girl! Good work with her. The more you keep to your plan the more she will get what is expected.

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    1. Yeah- sticking to the plan when she has other ideas is a real accomplishment for me!

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  8. I love reading about your adventures with Carmen!

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  9. Carmen looks gorgeous. Sorry about losing your riding friend. The only thing constant in life is change

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  10. I love the way you are getting so good at feeling her. After what you went through, I feel you and Carmen are truly blessed to have found each other. Sailing is a wonderful sport, but I believe that when you get to know a horse, get to really work with one, like you do with Carmen, that's something very special. And that reaches perhaps beyond what I would call a sport. If that makes any sense.

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    1. It makes total sense. Thank you for your kind comments!

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  11. That marching walk sounds dreamy! And I love and hate the body awareness I've gained and continue to gain from riding. It's so hard but damn if it doesn't improve other aspects of my life, too, because I'm able to more easily pinpoint what I'm doing in a given moment to create tension in my own body.

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    1. It was dreamy. And I hear you on the love/hate body awareness thing

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