Thursday, January 21, 2010

Holly The Big Horse

I went over to Molly's again, today. This time, I played with another one of her horses, a Belgian Warmblood (+ some other breeds, like QH, for one). She, like Cantata, was extremely friendly. When I went out to meet her to put the halter on, she quickly started to check me out and "follow me" (I just backed up when she started walking to me; there was no elaborate dance, just a simple two-step sort of deal; very positive and pleasant). She continued to be friendly as I put the halter on. When I went to put the halter on, I said to myself: "This is a big horse!" I think I said it allowed, to. Her withers are just an inch lower than the top of my head! I am so used to Misty, the small Arab, and Blu, the reining sized Quarter Horse, that it felt intimidating to be standing next to all of the height. I was not afraid, but you may know what it's like if you have ever walked into a remodeled grocery store. Where is the produce? Why did they put the bottle returns in the back? What happened to the pet supply? She had to learn how to respond to the pressure on her poll as I put the halter on, but she did fine. She even put her nose in once she found the hole; I told you: very friendly horse.
I learned the horse's true M.O. the moment we (Me and Holly, Molly and Cantata, and Molly's sister and a Morab named Cherry) left the gate. Holly started with crowding me. It is a tiny, crowded (with 3 horses, that is), so I could not do too much but let her walk in a zigzagging line as Molly worked the second gate so we could get out. Holly seemed to not think about how big she was. She had her head to high, almost bumping on the door way, and she was trying to squeeze into spaces she did not fit into lengthwise. On the walk to the pasture, she got a bit worse. She started to make the instinctual inhaling snort that signifies unsureness in fearful way. She was not wanting to trot, but she was swinging along at a good walk. I let her walk in front of me and then yielded her so she put me on her other side. A couple of those helped out a bit. I was just letting her cruise and staying out of the way because she was also not next to me at all. She seemed to be a couple miles away in a distant field (mentally). That is a dangerous combination if you care about not getting stepped on by a giant horse with shoes on!
Once we were into the big pasture we had come to play in, I rubbed her for a bit then began to work on her yields in the front end. She was like concrete in her shoulders--she was so strong against moving them away. After a bit of time, I made quite a lot of progress and she was feeling less and less like a horse who was going to plow me over (which never happened, by the way). By now, I had determined with confidence that she was a Right-Brained Introvert. Her introversion is frightening. It may be because my two do not become it so obviously and deeply. She is just gone from her eyes. Her position is head up, staring off into the distance, so the next thing I did, now that she was trying to play footsies with me, was to get her head out of the clouds by asking her to keep it down. I would walk a few steps, stop, and bow. She got a treat when she mimicked me. I progressed the head down thing to walking with me with her head down as I walked bent forward. She had this "Hee hee, what are we doing? Are we sneaking?" modality to her, which is exactly what I wanted. Anything but "I'm not here. You're not here." Later, I showed her how to search for the cookie on the ground when I tossed it there. That way, I could stay standing or toss a cookie to her when she was far away and I wanted her to stay out there.
I played with the yoyo game only a little bit here and there because I did not like that her head went up during it, which usually ended with her going stary-eyed and not thinking much. I really wanted to focus on her head staying down and her relaxing or engaging in conversation with me.
I liked this horse. She was not extreme at all, rather, a confident horse with baggage from her old owners from several years ago. She is kind and obediant and does not know that she is REALLY TALL. She definitely needs time to think things over. I did not do very many things with her, today, just small variations of the same things and relaxing.
It was not very challenging, but it was different from what I am used to. It was probably not challenging because I did not have to be quick on my feet. I did have to stay ON my feet, though. I sit down a lot with Blu and Misty, but I do not think it's a good idea to sit down next to a giant horse that does not really pay attention to where her feet are (specifically, what they are on!).

I really had a great time with Molly and her horses. All of them are sweet and well-meaning. I am used to other people's horses being conniving and distrustful. It is so sweet to see them so happy.

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