Welcome to my blog about horsey life in the North East - the good bits, bad bits, endless coffees and plenty of mud!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Tackling the shadow monsters

What a cracking weekend! 
On Friday my instructor Joanne Forster came out to give me and Cady a lesson on how to handle the shadows in the arena...Cady finds them terrifying and I'd failed to convince her they weren't poisonous  snakes.
We'd had an awful fall-out at the start of the week which ended in me forcing myself to give up and get off before she hurt both of us. 

By the time the lesson rolled around I worked out at least three huge mistakes I'd made which had led to the problems. I'd been in a rush, my head was full of work still and instead of being on Cady's side I let my frustration get the better of me so she was contending with a scary situation AND she'd lost her normal supportive partner and found herself between a rock and a hard place. 

Bearing this in mind, I got down to work applying Jo's practical advice which was based around giving Cady the benefit of the doubt, staying calm and making sure she gets answers to her questions. 

Cady is quite insecure and when she stops to look at things that's when trouble happens and she'll spin, rear or plant. But Jo taught me to spot her asking me 'is this ok?' and how to respond quickly by opening my hips, using lots of leg and positive attitude and sending her forward. 

Then I have to remember to reward Cady more when she does relax so she learns to take the 'handbrake' off. By the end of the lesson I felt we'd made some really good headway which was proven the next day with a good schooling session. I gave her ten minutes to look around and relax and then got down to business, which seemed to work well.

Joanne and her daughter Ayla demonstrate balance techniques

On Sunday I attended Jo's unmounted Reflective Riding workshop which was excellent. I've been to one before and they're really good fun but you also come away with so much sound information. We did all kinds of balancing exercises and learned how to get our seat bones even - I found I'd lost my left one completely until we did some work to find it! We also did some Feldenkrais exercises (a method of becoming aware of your body and how it works and freeing up your neurological paths to create more harmony in your body) which I'm now researching as I liked the flavour of it. 

Feeling very chilled out I then went and rode and had another good session with Cady. It was beautiful weather and the sun made lots of shadows in the arena but she handled them really well (she even felt slightly lazy she was so settled) and we finished with big pats and a mint from my friend Leanne who came to say hello. I'm now planning a really positive week leading up to my next lesson on Saturday. Bring it on :)  


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