Friday, December 18, 2009

A Good Day

So far, today has just been a good day. I woke up to my mom asking where a box on the front porch had come from. At first, I thought it was one of my christmas packages, but she said it was addressed to "The Green Family." No return address, also, no postage. It was six in the morning, and my sister was up til three, so someone dropped this box off in the early morning. They went to great lengths to be unnoticed. Inside the box were some delicious muffins and . . . $100. We don't know who did it, but I think it's better we not know. My mom seems concerned to find out who it was, but just knowing that someone or a group of people is selfless and thoughtful enough to do something like this is a miracle to me.

I went to the farm to feed the horses after eating a muffin. When I was finished feeding, I brought brushes out and brushed Misty and Blu. They enjoyed that.

I got home and was getting out Christmas stuff (very much in the spirit, might I add) when my friend who plays with Conner called at 9:15. She was coming down to the farm and wanted to know if I'd like a ride down. I said yes and away we went.

Official Records Information:
2 hours

Again, when we got to the farm, the horses were still cleaning up loose hay. Unlike yesterday, it was much warmer today. I set up a box made of four ground poles with one of the ground poles elevated with a drainage tile (less than 12''). I also got all of my ropes and grooming stuff around.

Misty was not 100% about me coming over to see her after I made initial contact with eyes. I went to the fence near her and tied my halter to it. Then she gave me permission to brush her. I picked out all four hooves from one side with no problem. She still does not lift her hoof when I snap my fingers.

When I was done, I stood up straight and drove her to her halter at liberty with the carrot stick. She seemed surprised at this as I have not tried catching her that way very often. Haltering her level two style was a cinch, as there was hay on the ground!

On the 45' line I drove her from zone 5 (behind the tail) to different things with the intention of eventually taking her to the ball. She was trying to do all sorts of things with a barrel on its side beside touch it with her nose. I just stayed focused and when she finally looked at it with intent to touch, I relaxed. Then I drove her to the tire pedestal. This was more clear to her, now. So, after visiting the barrels with less confusion, it was off to the ball. I moved on from the ball after she rolled it once with her nose. Some notes on her driving, I swung the carrot stick at zone one to turn her and she is getting better at turning before I swing. The next step will be for her to keep me in zone five.

Next I had her squeeze over the barrels, or through the gap she made between them. It took a couple passes before she had a high quality turn face and wait. That is when I decided to make the squeeze game the main focus of my ride.

I put her on the 12' line so I could work on backing by the tail. I got 4 steps with just the tail. She got it pretty quick.

I made reins out of an old set of draw reins that I will not use as draw reins anymore. She was great for mounting. No trying to move or having a bad expression. When I was on, she went right off at a walk, and instead of asking her to stop, I asked her to go more than she planned to make it my idea.

In the box, I did yields on the haunches and fore hand, aiming to stay inside the box. Then I did some point to point riding to get her going. She had an ok focus on my focus factor, but it could have been better.

My pattern today was to ride through the box, stop, bend neck, yield hindend, wait. Her job was to keep the line straight, watch where she was going, and maintain gait and speed. At first, she kept needing to be corrected with the straight line, she would hit the ground poles, and slow down inside the box. Also, she was not too sensitive with the hindend yields. I did a good job maintaining a focus and energy, and by the end, she was trotting straight over at the same speed, was stopping with me, not knocking the poles, and she was much more sensitive to the rein (I just slid my hand down to get the bend) as well as not dropping the inside shoulder.

Misty was in a great frame of mind after all this. I was really happy with her. She even hung out with me for a while as I coached my friend with Conner. Then she decided to go and eat more hay, of course.

I learned so much as I coached my friend. I am reading the book True Unity by Tom Dorrance. What a read. I am currently in the chapter that is his students writing about their experiences with Tom. I read some profound things. Some of them I used with Misty, but a lot of them I used in being a better teacher today for my friend. She had a huge breakthrough with her horse and with herself. She has a problem being assertive enough and was talking about how she does not want to become aggressive. I just suddenly said something that I did not read in Tom's book, but from his readings, it inspired me to say it: "Horses forgive. If you ever push him over the edge by being assertive when you shouldn't be, you of all people will be able to get his confidence back again. You are an expert at building confidence." I don't know how that made her feel, but it is probably one of my favorite things that I have ever said to a student.

I am returning at three to work with Blu. I felt really good about myself today. What a good day.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

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About Me

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I am a young horsewoman with a million things on my mind. I have been a student of the horse all my life. As a little girl, I had a desire to understand horses on deeper levels. I believed that there was no such thing as a bad horse, and I believed that all horses were beautiful. One might say that I was a naive child, but I guess I don't have an excuse anymore, because I still believe all of that, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship is helping expand on this perspective.

What We Are Currently Playing With

  • Moving Close Circles at Liberty
  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
  • Zone 5 Driving