Friday, February 25, 2011

Warm and Pleasant for Eternity

Today, the sun is out and it is warm and pleasant out. Snow is melting, birds are singing. In between work shifts, I went out to have day two of my quiet time with Blu. He was sticky about going on past the gate that separates the pastures. At the round pen, he was patient while I worked the gate open and shut.

I had a vinyl table cloth to lay on so that my snow pants would not get wet from laying in the snow for so long. However, the table cloth smelled bad, so I flung it away. Blu was dilly-dallying by the gate when he noticed the table cloth. He did not worry about it when I was carrying it, laying it down, or even when I whipped it away from me, but now he was snorting at it from the other side of the pen. I watched, knowing that I was about to see him work through this confidence issue by himself and that it was notetaking time. The table cloth was behind me a bit. He had his head up and eyes and nose wide. He choppily paced left to right in an arc that cradled toward me. He would stop and dip his head. He pawed once. Slowly, the tension left his body. When he got to me, he still had some remaining concern, but it continued to melt away. He sighed. Later on, he confronted the table cloth as he casually walked around me. When the wind picked it up at another point in time, he looked up with surprise, but just as quickly returned his attention to me with relaxation.

Today, Blu did not move around so much. He did not try to move me, either. He also did not nibble me. He put his mouth on me, but no teeth. Sarah the black cat was with me, again. She randomly slapped him a few times. I think she is hormonal because the next moment she was rubbing on him again and he had just been sitting there quietly in the first place. I began to throw her out, but she kept coming back. I even tried tossing snow chunks at her, but she just chased them and came back to us. Funny.

When Blu lifted his head in reaction to being slapped by Sarah for the third time, I sat up and tried something. I pulled gently on the hairs under his neck and taught him to lower his head that way. He learned it really fast and I could just touch him under the neck and he'd lower his head to me.

It had been 30 minutes and it was time for me to move on to the next part of today's session, but I did not want to. Blu was chillin next to me and Sarah was sitting on my chest as I lay in the snow watching the extremely clear, extremely blue sky above and the sunlight play in Blu's long mane. I just wanted to stay there for the rest of eternity.

I finally mustered up the gumption to get up. Blu decided to investigate the tire and the spot I had been laying. I called him over, but he was completely engaged with the ground, so I smiled and left him locked in while I got ropes and halters. I had a feeling that he was finally going to roll in there. As I came back, he was rolling! He came right to the gate when he saw me. He was eager to have the halter on.

I let him go in the other pasture, but he was in a cuddling mood. The connection was maintained and it was so nice to stand with him for a bit. He felt so connected. As I stood with him, he noticed the salt lick bucket hanging on the fence and occupied himself with it. I felt his focus on me dissipate so I sneaked off to go get Misty.

Misty was on the other side of the corn crib. I surprised her when I came around the corner, but she came right over and was eager to get the halter on. I took her to a barrel and she automatically came up to the barrel for me to get on, but as soon as I settled on, she was movin'. I rode her around a bit to establish our feel and her impulsion improved. I used the pedestal and circling the cone to do this.

I yielded Blu's hindquarters and he very easily followed Misty and I. I don't remember how, but somehow Blu ended up unattached to us--I believe that Misty scared him away. I wanted to halter Blu (not put a line on him, just practice putting on a halter from Misty's back. Once he was following us again (which was very easy), I stopped and got the halter on him. I put Misty in front of him so his head was over her withers. It was the only way I could keep Misty from mauling poor Blu. Blu was very cooperative through the whole thing, though.

After walking a bit and gently asking him to keep up with us with the carrot stick, I moved into the trot. He went right into the trot with us and stayed with us. We went about 100 feet before Blu started to get excited and naughty thoughts (he wanted to bite and harrass Misty--he hadn't yet, but it was coming). I had wanted to make it to the pedestal together, but we needed to get his mind changed. I cut across in front of Blu straight to the pedestal. That surprised Blu and he stared at us, stopped in his tracks.

I took Misty back to him and pet him. I asked him to come with us and he got on the pedestal. I played the friendly game (extreme and then letting the string wrap gently around him) for a bit. Neither Misty nor Blu reacted. Then, I invited Misty onto the pedestal and she did not fight with him! They stood together peacefully and I knew this was our end point.

Blu followed us off the pedestal. I parked him at a cone while Misty and I got the line for him so I could manage him at the gate. Blu was doing great. He did not move one foot until, just as I leaned over to clip him, Misty bit him and he tripped sideways. He followed Misty and me to a barrel where I positioned Misty so she could not get him. He wanted to put the clip in his mouth, so I let him a little bit more than he wanted. No issue, no drama, we worked the gate.

Blu went to the water trough while I was letting Misty go. Misty had to be tackled as she tried to come back over to the wrong pasture, hehehe. When Blu finished with his water, he came back to me. I gave hay to everyone and went back to work.

It was such an amazingly awesome session. The connection, the success, the warm sun--so good.

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