Friday, November 19, 2010

Snoozing on Stepping Stones

Today, one might say that we regressed from where we were yesterday, but I see it as a very important milestone. During this session, Blu began to do his right-brained introvert behavior of snoozing at the wheel. However, we overcame it and had success at the end of the session. Today was a stepping stone for tomorrow.

Blu, Misty, and Ginger were just inside the Middle Earth pasture when I arrived. I whistled and all three came up, Blu the caboose. I set out three small piles of hay. We began similarly to yesterday. Blu took longer today to mount because I kept not making it up there! I did a lot of clinging to his barrel trying desparately to climb up on his back--but Blu tends to fall over if I do that for to long because he doesn't know how to balance himself with 150 pounds of person hanging off one side of his body. Misty can, but not Blu. So, he was getting kind of tired of me pouncing on him. It was all my struggle to swing up with the two carrot sticks in my hand. Some day, I will be perfect at it. For now, it is all about entertaining my readers, right?

Finally I was on and he was fine. I asked him to go and just got to where I was going in loops to satisfy his desire to go back to one of the descimated hay piles. At the gate, he was very cooperative, but was not necessarily as good as he could be because he did not seem to know what was going on at first. I waited for the gears to start turning. Then I asked for a pivot on the haunches and away we went.

In the arena, following the rail, he basically destroyed the curtain rod part by failing at his job of following the rail. Since that is indded the pattern that we are working on, I think that next time, my goal is to make 5 laps (that is about 1500 feet) without correction. I will have two sessions with him tomorrow, so the first session I will aim for two laps with my arms crossed and the second I will aim for five. If I need to adjust those numbers, I will. I did put him back on the rail and he got better than when we started.

As for our backing up progress, we did make progress. I stopped, went through my phases and got to phase four (tapping his nose space/nose until he thought about going back). It happened the next time, but instead of going to phase four, I took a look at him. He was snoozing! Oh no! He was going introverted from the pressure! So, I released all the pressure and sat quietly. I waited for signs of presence to return. When he started to come out of it, I stroked his neck, did lateral flexion with face-pets and a treat. When I started to ask for a back up, I stayed at phase one until he took a shift back. Then we went off to do it all over again. Stop, hold phase one, oh, he is going introverted, wait. . . wait . . . there he is, phase one, hold, hold, hold, tiny phase two in the feet, shift, stop. We did that a few times. The shift turned into a step. Then, once, after a shift, I cut the engine, he licked and chewed, and then backed up a horselength. It's like when I am typing on the internet and my virus scanner kicks in for an update and I go on typing with nothing happening on the screen. Then all of a sudden. ajdfkladklfd;foiaesdfj. There is all of my typing in one instant. I have said in a previous post that horses are like computers, right?

Now, I decide Blu needs some cantering. I think it is my first time cantering him with no strings. I am a little nervous, but it is an excited nervous, not a brain trying to save your life nervous. So, off we go, Blu goes right into it. The first stop he misses by a stride or two, so we have to back up all that way. That goes fine. The next stop, he stops right on cue and goes right into the back up with phase one. If you are wondering if Heaven opened up and an angelic chorus began to resound, let me answer your question: Yes, in fact, it did. I hopped off. That was our ending point. I had been wondering back when Blu was snoozing what our ending would look like. I had been a little apprehensive about solving the problem. But then I realized that it was silly of me to be apprehensive. If I know anything, I know introverts. Right- or left-brained, I'm your girl.

Blu followed me to the back, again. The girls were right there and I stood with him until he started eating. He made no move to follow me up, but as I left, it was a different kind of contentment from yesterday. Yesterday I was giddy as I left. Today, I was very satisfied--and "wise" feeling. No, that sounds cocky. . . it's just that I felt quiet in a good way. Like you feel after viewing a serious movie. Hmm. I know: yesterday I could have jumped the moon, today I could solve world hunger. That is the difference between today and yesterday.

There is something beautiful in the realization of the simple answer to a perplexing problem. I would strongly encourage you to slow down at your next problem and try to stop getting in your own way. It is simple. Remember that. Anyhow, that is how we turned Blu's RBI "snoozing" into a stepping stone for tomorrow.

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