Sunday, September 19, 2010

Giving Her a Choice in the Matter

Misty, 9-19-10, morning, 45 minutes

I had a huge personal breakthrough with Misty, today. I did not ride her, because she was not ready, today. She told me each time I asked if I could get on, "No," and I respected that. I could have easily gotten on anyways. So, here is today's story about how I respected Misty's wishes:

Ginger and Connor were being ridden by Maggie and my mom, respectively. Misty was wanting to have attention--she was standing by the fence and talking to me. I had a pair of 22' feather lines, a halter, and a strung carrot stick. I held up a string and was just waiting to see if she would put her head under it while I stood outside the fence. I let her investigate it, which seemed to please her. I also gave her a peppermint treat. I ducked under the fence and put her halter on, which she was ok with.

Next, the 22' lines went on while I was talking to my Uncle, who was visiting. Misty followed closely as I mucked off through the mud, keeping my lines out of the yuck. She jogged to catch up. I sent her first to the pedestal because I knew that she would be very confident about that. I let her stay up there for a while before asking anything of her. Next, I made a connection with her mind, and asked her to step all the way on it, because I knew that it would be difficult for her to understand to step down. You might not recall that one of our stumbling blocks is asking her to leave an obstacle. So, when I put her back on the pedestal, I slowly asked for her to take steps back. When she was off it, I asked her to get right back on it. This approach and retreat was more like under the guise that her comfort zone is actually on the pedestal. After a few of those, I was able to ask her to come down with a few tail hairs, then I asked her to back away from it with two reins. Once we got several feet from it, I asked let her stop and rest. Next, I picked up her tail, felt for her, of her, and together, and backed up. I was able drop more and more of her tail til we were backing up together with just a few hairs.

I considered her warmed up and ready to move on. However, I wanted it to be 100% at her own pace, so I put a savvy string around her neck and took off the halter. My plan was to mount her at liberty, but only if she stood with no reserve. I was very clear with my intentions. She left. I just relaxed, and do you know what? I was not in one bit disappointed. I did not feel disheartened or get down on myself for not doing something right. It is just a simple fact: she was not ready to be ridden. It was her voice, and it is very important to her. She got to a threshold and turned to face me. I only at her and she cantered back to me. We had a repeat of the something like that several times. I would play at liberty with her, I would ask if I could get on, she would leave, then she would reach a distance from me and ask to come back. I had fun playing with her on the ground, no carrot stick, just me. She seemed to enjoy it, too.

I have, in previous times, given Misty a choice in this matter, but I doubt if I have done so without any lines or bridles on. Last year I took a month off using lines of any kind on the ground so I could see clearly when I was pushing to hard, being a bore, or whatever it may be. Now, I was applying that idea to mounting. It's just a little bit of a deeper level than having a rein to bend the horse to you. Misty tends to not be as honest when she has a line on, because she "knows" she will lose (that's the feeling a got from her). The other important breakthrough for me is that I did not take it personally. I think that my attitude is key with Misty. I need to be a source of good feelings and comfort. I can't go to her when I am not in good emotional shape. I need to be a lighthouse for her. Blu can be my lighthouse, but right now, Misty needs me to be her lighthouse of happiness. Does that make sense?

Onward into giving her a choice in the matter.

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