Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wading in the Water

ORI Misty 30 minutes, Blu 45 minutes, afternoon, 11-23-10

There are times in our lives when it feels like we are hindered by things in life that are simply out of our control. You can't bring lost loved ones back, you cannot force the world to grant your dad a better job, and you can't make someone like you better. It's like trying to wade through set cement at times like those. I think that during periods in my life where I was wading through set cement, the reason that I was able to make it to the other side was the presence of God and particular people in my life who were so inclined to support me. They came out with their chisels and pick axes and gave me a hand. Yes, I am completely indebted to those people and I keep my eyes peeled for people who need me to give them a hand in the same manner.

There are other times when we are hindered by things that are within the field of our control, but we chose to bear the hindrance and wade through the water (at least I do). I would say that these items are things like work, school, chores, or being a member of a family. You might think you have no choice, but you do. All you HAVE to do in this life is be born and pay taxes, and you don't even HAVE to pay taxes!

I would chose to wade through the water, though, and so will you, because you are an excellent person, and so am I. By this I mean that I would chose to endure the less loverly side of family life and making money in order to achieve my dreams. If you take too many shortcuts, the quality of your life begins to suffer for it, as does the quality of the realization of your dream.

On my left wrist, I have been wearing an orange bracelet that says "Reveal your horse...Discover you potential...Live your dream." It means a lot to me, because, to me, it is not just a slogan. To me, it is a motto, a mission. I am on a mission, and come cement or high water, we will succeed.

So, today I dealt with some water, literally. It is stinking freezing! And, last night, the water was left on for 12 hours. Luckily, my arena is in the back of the pasture, which is slightly higher then the front end. Nevertheless, I wore muck boots!

I walked to the back, didn't see anyone, walked to the front, and there was Connor about to leave Middle Earth. I greeted him and started to the back. I had been unsure if the gate to the back was even open, but now I saw it was, and apparently, as Connor called the horses, it was an official water break. Misty and Ginger called back to them. I did a whistle neigh and Blu called to me. I called again, and Misty called back. I saw movement through the brush and headed up. Unexpectedly, the three took the other way around, thundering up to Connor.

I watched the social interactions. Ginger flirted and struck out at Connor. Misty hovered around Connor like a bee. Blu was in the wrong place and oblivious to that fact. He wanted to touch Connor, too. They smelled each other, and I could see it was secretly turning into a dominance thing. It stayed very quiet, though, as Blu stepped back reluctantly. Blu's position amongst those three horses did not improve--he was still in the middle of them all. Suddenly, Ginger took off and Connor brushed by Blu to do the same. I fell in behind Blu and Misty took the caboose behind me. In a single file line, we all marched to the North pasture and got drinks (I did not drink out of the trough).

On the way to the North pasture, Misty was right on my heels. I gave her a treat and she gave me an ugly face and walked ahead. I just smiled and kept going. She stopped suddenly. I offered the halter and she probably would have walked off if I had taken it off right after it was on. Other than that reservation, she put her head into position and everything very nicely. She was also light on the line as we worked the gate and went to the water.

Next, we went out to graze. I stood at the gate and asked her to give my her hindquarters by raising my hand and doing the "come here" signal. She immediately did it. I think it is really cool that after all this time, she still remembers that so well.

Shortly after, Blu came up and I let him come out to graze. Then I took Misty into the dog pen and let my gramma's dogs in. Misty was pretty good as I went about my business. She wanted to smell the dogs, which made them nervous, though.

We went back into the pasture the same way we came out. This way took a bit longer. I had her tail and worked through her opposition reflex until it clicked and then it went very smoothly. She got a cookie for that.

Now I wanted to do something interesting with her--not just the boring seven games check up. I spotted a tire and asked her to come to me. She drew to me no problem, then followed me as I backed up to the tire. I stood on the other side of the tire and did a few yoyos away and to it. They were nice yoyos. She was sensitive, but could have been more rhythmic in her away. Also, she was getting distracted in the beginning, so I would rub ribs that were poking out with my carrotstick handle. On the third return, I stepped back so that she had to maneuver the tire to get to me. I waited a long time as she thought about it. I held a light phase on the rope and released when she tried. Each try got better until she finally walked around it and came to me. I don't mind her walking around it at all; she was solving a puzzle the whole time.

After some rest, I went to her left side and asked her to please sidepass to me. She was already in position. I had to gently block her from stepping forward a few times and the savvy string had to lay over her hip, but she did it very nicely once all her tries came together and she knew what the goal was.

I felt like this was a good place to stop for today for Misty. Our next goal was to get Blu into the pasture again. I left the gate open and began to drive him in that direction. I made sure to let Misty eat and have good timing with our little breaks. As we got closer, I saw Ginger notice the gate was open. She began to head up to the gate from the back of pasture. It was like a game of billiards, now! I was not going to make it in time if I went slow and mosied--we were 30 feet from the gate and Ginger was picking up speed. I aimed my string and shot Blu toward the gate as I sent Misty into a position to block an out and he collided with Ginger just as she came out. He rushed in and Ginger, a bit beffuddled, spun around and trotted back in. I stopped Misty and smiled. I let her eat a few bites before going over to the gate. Blu and Ginger asked if they could come out while Misty had that grass and I told them no (politely, of course).

I took Misty over to Connor and let her go, hoping that would keep her from trotting off. I did not take the halter off until she kept her head in position. She turned away, but then seemed to think better of it and stopped. I gave her treats by having stretch her nose to each hip. Then I stood at her tail for a while before leaving. It was very pleasant.

On to Blu! I walked over to him with the halter and 12' line. He stepped over to me and put his head right in. I pet him a bit before walking off. He followed, but he had a sour face. Hmm, I thought. I wasn't sure if he was in the same mood as Sunday, but I most certainly was not going to get right on and ride bridleless on windy day like this on a sour-faced horse!

I walked through the flooded drain pond (6' around, 2' deep, 1' of water in it after 12 hours of water flowing out of the hose last night). He went around it. So, naturally, I played the squeeze game with it: I pushed him to the other side of it and squeezed him between me and it. At first, he tried to look at it, assuming he was to squeeze through it. It surprised him when I pushed his nose away and told him with our language to NOT go in the puddle/pond. I also did some circling with me standing in the pond. The final thing we did with the pond was for him to go through it. He stopped and went to sleep (introverted). It took him so long to wake up. I just stood and waited, facing away from him. Finally, he put his nose down by the water, did a big snort (good kind), and shook his body. We moved on.

He stood on the tire pedestal then I began the yoyo game with his butt to the tire. He backed up to it and came back without sleeping. I thought that maybe he was staying alert to the tire's position, so he did not go to sleep. The best part was he came back with the lightest phase. The next send, he did fall asleep. I waited, he woke, I asked him back, he came back. Then the final send was followed by a very long introversion. This was even longer than the last one. I squatted down because the wind was so cold. When he came around, he finally looked at me. Big snort and he started to eat. After a moment, I stood and asked him to come back to me. He came right back. It makes me wonder why each sleep got longer with the pedestal. He is quite used to this exercise. In fact, he backed right up to it everytime. I am going to think about it tonight.

I went to the fence, set him up, stood on the fence, got permission, and mounted. He was great. No pinned ears. Worried at first, but then fine. I had the halter, 12' line (one rein), and two carrot sticks. We rode off to the arena with a nice forequarter yield. I liked it, but I had to use my leg.

In the arena, Blu was full of it at first. He did not buck, but he wanted to canter. So, we cantered around on the rail. One of my curtain rods fell in, so one corner was always shallow, but with the canter, he did not really do ANY high corners. Naughty! He did go high in the corners for him, though, so props for that. We had done change of direction and I could feel him start to run out of gas. Next time we hit the cone, I stopped. BAM! He slid to a stop and started backing up, and all I had done was stop riding in my seat. It amazes me how ready he is for the halt. We did changes of direction in the tear drop away from the fence. They were large, so I would like to refine them down to smaller tear drops. We did canter some more. I was getting terribly cold, so I ended it a little sooner than I wanted (I would have liked to do some more changes of direction).

At the end, I had him laterally flex without reins, took off the halter, and and rode a lap with just the carrot sticks. We cantered around arena, went high in the two corners we passed . . . and when the cone came, I stopped, he stopped, and his feet slid into the stick fence and toppled it over! Another BAM! only with crashing, too. Then we did a bullseye into the center where I dismounted by sliding off his butt. Blu did not even lift up his head.

Blu followed me to the back. When I left, he deliberated over who to follow before walking off to follow the horses heading out to the back. I was really happy.

Natural Horsewoman Out

1 comment:

  1. We have choices, sometimes we need to be remembered that we do :-)

    Petra Christensen
    Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
    Parelli Central


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

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