Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dame, Por Favor

Official Records Information: Blu/2hours/11-27-10/afternoontoevening

After fixing up my homemade arena, I went to the back pasture to round up the horses. I did not have any equipment on me, but I felt like that would be okay. I could either have Blu follow me up, or I could catch him once everyone was up. I whistled and sent Connor off, which set everyone into motion. As the mares headed in behind Connor, I got in line. Connor began running and the girls followed suit. I wondered if Blu would go after them, but he was just following me with his head low and quiet, about 15' behind. I expected that, but it does not make the moment less-savored and it was not wasted on my soul.

When we got to the gate, we found an interesting puzzle. The gate was not locked open, so it was only agape about 4'. Connor had gone through, but Ginger and Misty were behind it wondering how to get through. In order to go through, the horse either had to cross a puddle or open the gate. "Let's show these ladies how this is done," I told Blu. I walked through and turned to watch. Blu stopped when Misty began pushing the gate shut. She almost had it shut when she changed tactics and began pulling it open with her nose. Once she had squeezed out, Blu came right through. Ginger ran past us, but Blu stayed right there with me.

Blu followed me to the other pasture. But when I went to yield his hind end, instead of yielding, he just walked off indefinitely. Interesting thing to note and I took it into consideration when I was thinking about what kind of horse he was going to be today. This was a very LBI thing he did.

When I began walking to the gate, Blu saw me coming in his direction and began walking straight to me, so I stopped and waited. We continued on to the gate together. Going through the gate, I pushed his frontend away and he immediately knew what coming next because he lined up his butt and backed out toward me as I backed him by the tail. After I haltered him, which he was super cooperative for, I grabbed a couple brushes and groomed him on the lawn while he ate. I let him graze for about 10 minutes.

In the pasture, I wanted to test his yoyo and observe what the introversion at the end of the line looked like today. I rubbed his belly and loved on him, first, a friendly thing so he didn't see me just come up and start pushing him around. He tentatively stepped back (unrhythmically) with my phase one energy. I played back and forth from phase one to phase three energy. Too much causes Blu to shut down, but too little was not enough to back him steadily. I only had 12' of rope to work it out, but he was going slow. I found that he was most comfortable if I turned my belly button away from him slightly. As I did a phase two of energy. (MILESTONE: phase 1-3 are only energy based, no wiggling of anything. There is a phase 4 for energy, but phase 4 is really whatever it needs to be to get him going).

I waited for Blu to go into his introversion, but he wasn't, so I asked him back. I softly combed the line. He was not coming in, but I did not increase the phases. He did not look worried per se, he just looked like he was processing. It seemed that the send was not enough to put him into an introverted state, but it was enough to get him a little tight. I just stayed steady and smiling as I combed the line lightly. When I saw him think about forward, I stopped and waited. After several seconds passed, Blu released the tension completely and walked to me. I noticed, though, that he went to the left of me and stopped with me at his withers.

After a few more yoyos, he was getting even better at coming back. Not one time of introversion! This was very encouraging, indeed. Then, the song on the radio sang to "set me free" or something. I can't remember how the song goes, but that is why at that moment I took the halter off and put it on a fence post. The God of the Radio was telling me it was time for me to try my yoyo at liberty; this was the ultimate test for my progress.

I sent Blu out at a phase 2 of energy. He backed up steady. I waited, looking for signs of him going to sleep into introversion. Nothing was happening, though. However, he was very distracted and looking at everything but me. This could have been his next step away from introversion: instead going inside himself to escape me, he just doesn't look at me. So, I stepped my left foot back further and completely relaxed my body at the same time as I looked even more away from him. When he looked at me, I invited him in. After a minute, I leaned over to look at his hindquarters. That got him mobile and seemed to unstick him. He came right to me, all at once. I was very satisfied with this.

Next was mounting. I spent 15 minutes jumping around while he took swings at me. I tried all kinds of things: I kept my hand up by his head and just pet his face while he was trying to bite me; did the funky chicken when he came my way; stuffed a cookie in his face once; kept my hand on his mouth while it was in reach and played nibbly with it. Everything was not working, in fact, I could see it was getting worse and making him more upset. I thought this was either the dark before the dawn, or it was not working for him. I also wondered what sort of dawn it would be if that was the case. Would give up with a sour face? I did not want that.

I was standing there, now, thinking. Blu was just waiting for me to start jumping again, so I left him to sit on a tire-do the unexpected. He immediately and curiously followed me. I ignored him and he walked away to nibble on the scumbly greenery. I looked around and saw the halter. At this piont, it dawned on me. It was time to channel all biting thoughts that Blu had built up into something positive; it was time for some dame commands.

Dame is the command form of "give" with the direction of "me" at the end meaning "to me". So "give to me" in Spanish. I walked to the fence, climbed on next to the halter, and waited. He was not ignoring me, just eating, so I knew he would come over. He came right over and was all innocent looking, but I knew all those biting thoughts were in there. I proceded to piont to the halter and give the verbal command. One loop at a time, he lifted the line off the post, and dropped it on the ground. Then he got the halter and the whole item was on the ground. I tried dame, then. I had never done the command in this postion. He picked it up on the first try and lifted it to me. I missed the catch before he dropped it, but this was amazing. He has still not made the solid connection that the goal is for him to put it in my hands, so you can imagine my excitement. Unfortunately, he wouldn't do it again, so I had to climb down and get the halter. In fact, I got the halter 4 more times before he finally handed it to me from the post. Blu was in position for me to mount, so I asked permission and got on. No sour faces! Now, with the halter on the post and the line in my hand (so could just reel it in if it fell on the ground), I did the dame command from his back. This is a first attempt. The first time, he grabbed the leather popper and pulled it off the halter when he pulled down instead of lifting it up. I lamented for a moment. Now my Parelli halter is not proven authentic. Sigh. But the next try, Blu handed my unproven authentic Parelli halter to me!

I gave him a cookie and then we went to snag my carrotsticks off the fence. I got one, but for the second one, I cantered a lap around and tried to grab it as we passed by. I got it, but lost my grip on it. Regardless, it was a success in my book.

We rode off to my arena and proceeded to have a great ride of changing directions and sticking to the rail. I just remember it being a great feeling when I was done.

I would like to assert a thought upon you. I have been struggling through this mentally, at times. I wonder if I should ask for help solving the problem, but I imagine that I will be told to do what I am doing already. Then, before I get around to asking, my efforts are fruitful and the problem blows away.

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.

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