Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chocolate Sundaes are Tastiest When Shared with Good Friends

Testing is a state of being for some people. What happens in a test and how one performs in a test might not be close to how one would do in an "any other day" environment. I think the ultimate destination one would aim to arrive at is the absence of any discrepancy between the performance during a test and "any other day." This reminds me of what Kristi Smith told us during the last fast track about what it means for a horse to have a behavior or maneuver truly trained.

"When a behavior or maneuver is truly trained, the horse will do it no matter when, where, by whom, or why it was asked for"

When I reach the point of being truly trained to do what is tested of me, what I do will be a true reflection of "any other day." Today, during the final horsemanship testing for Fast Track #5 2011, I got one step closer to that goal for my personal growth; although our horsemanship has plenty of room for growth during testing, it also got better.

On line testing weather was gray and wet. Blu was a mess, but I went straight to testing anyeways because the line for the hose was so long. Blu was sluggish for his yoyo and sideways, so I played with him a lot between that test and the circling game test. It paid off because Blu had great connection on the circle. I didn't even attempt cantering because he had something great going at the trot.

Loading into the trailer was lovely and relaxing--and humorous. I stood on the fender because sitting on it would have gotten my pants all wet. Blu sidled up to me and it took me a moment to get him to go away. Then he loaded right onto the "float." I had a bit of trouble getting him off the trailer because he did not want to step into the giant puddle just outside tr trailer. Hehe.

Liberty testing in the 50' pens was just doing the 7 games in 5 minutes. I was last to go. First I squeezed Blu under a 12' line tied to the fence. I was the only one to not just squeeze between the fence and person. Woohoo! Then I did extreme friendly game and lead by the tail with a great turn. Next I had him do two close range spins on the haunches. He did a nice yoyo but left for the sideways. He got it on the second try, though. Finally, circling we got a change of direction at the trot on the first try. I tried to go for one at the canter, but he got frozen so I just drew him to me. I felt really happy with that.

Before lunch, we got through the first part of freestyle testing, which was to saddle your horse, showing the cinching process and to mount & dismount from the right side. Blu was great! We went on a point-to-point graze around the grounds before I put him to bed while I had lunch.

Warming up for freestyle testing was so relaxing. Not one sign of butterflies. I was taking it easy on how much energy I asked for, but I was very particular about snappy transitions and practiced perfectly. It felt SO GOOD. I wish that had been my testing. Then testing began and I was caught in an assumption that I had really been relying on: the canter back-up yoyos were done on the slope at the top of arena grande, not the flat on the bottom of arena grande. During warm up, I did yoyos perfectly with Blu within the smallest space. Our yoyos were supremely wonky during testing! That'll teach me, huh?

Our cloverleaf for Ryan was much better, but Blu still fell out of the canter and picked up his new favorite lead--the left one. I did a simple change after a couple strides, though. Our final task with Bonnie was indirect to direct rein with a supporting rein. Blu knew what he was about, but I over shot 180 degrees a few times. Oh, and he did hold neutral lateral flexion for 16 seconds without reins--too bad we need 30. Just another thing to keep improving on!

We flowed right into finesse testing. Tanya's test was walk canter transitions. It went much better than the first time, but we have plenty of room for improvement.

With Bonnie, we did shoulder-in and haunches-in. Yay! Something we can do really well!

The final test with Ryan was to leg yield in both directions at the trot then serpentine with two flying lead changes. The leg yields were wonderful and we did nice simple changes.

After testing, I went out to the pasture and rode around. First we loped up the hill and watched the new cows. Then we rode with Dani, Diana, Charity, and Stephanie. We cantered circles around Charity and then went home.

Just like any other day, I put Blu to bed like he was my best bud and then I deviated from any other day routine--Anna dropped me off at the Pagosa Brewing Co. for the last fast track shindig. It was a slow start, but then Ashley Tippets showed up with her new puppy and that really livened our little table up. What a cutey patootie. I chatted with Bonnie when she got there, learning a bit more about how she ended up as an instructor and intern at 19. Faith, Bonnie and I went into the bar to buy a sundae--Bonnie inspired us!

Faith and I shared one. It was DELICIOUS. I hope I get to have another before I go home. Then Faith and I inspired everyone and almost all the fast trackers present came into the bar for a chocolate sundae. It was so comical, this bar filled with women eating sundaes and two guys sitting off to the side drinking beer. That was a good time shared with friends.

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