I was a little late to the morning meeting because the time on the board was off by 30 minutes. I was fortunately only 10 minutes late, though. When I came in, Ryan was finishing up collecting the long term and short term goals of the students. Then we all stood up and introduced ourselves. My non-horse fact was that I am studying graphic design.
My long term goal is to become a 7-star instructor. My short term goal is to achieve a more consistent connection with Blu. To me, that looks like Blu taking off at whatever speed and gait I ask at any point in time and understanding our finesse maneuvers or plain old yields.
On line testing was in the morning, but first Pat Parelli dropped in and chatted with us. He blessed us with his presence for a long time. I love listening to Pat and it's always exciting to hear him when we are here because it is a rare treat. Pat talked about the mustang event a bit, of course, but his main topic was that this campus was a dream and that it was especially chosen for us students. That is amazing. This place is amazing.
Pat also spoke on the 7 types of riders and the three ways to stay positive out in the real world. The 7 riders start with "N" (and I can't remember one):
- don't go the extra mile for someone going in the opposite direction
- teach at the student's level
- feed with a spoon, not a shovel
I was headed for Arena Grande when Ryan Rose spotted me (not to difficult as I was walking right by the trailer) and asked if I was ready to trailer load. This was the task I did first on the first testing, too. This time, though, I knew it was going to be so much better. "Sure."
We had to start by picking up all four feet from one side. Blu displayed some opposition reflex for the back feet, but he relaxed after a moment. I hopped on the fender and Blu hopped right on the trailer.
Next was Humphrey's circling and yoyo in Arena Grande. Blu was slow and crooked for his yoyo, but did 45' and he trotted to me part of the way. His circling game has plenty of room for improvement, but it was SO much better than the last fast track's final test circle. He was maintaining the canter MUCH better, just a few corrections. His change of direction came to a trot/walk then into a canter. The other direction was quite wonky because he kept changing back to the other direction.
Bonnie's test was to squeeze over a barrel then stand face and wait for both sides then go sideways to the end of the 45' line without a fence. Going over with me on the left, Blu stepped over after one approach and stop. I just backed him up and asked again. The other side, he jumped right over. For sideways, we only got about 15' and he petered out. Weird, right? He did come sideways back to me nicely, though.
Lastly I waited in line for the zone 5 driving weave and figure 8 without a Carrot Stick with Karin. I noticed that Blu was really understanding that when he stepped through the line and got stuck, he could come toward me to get untangled instead of following the feel of the rope on his chin. The weave had a very confused energy. The figure 8 was really slow and had some brace at first, but then he got better connection and relaxed.
Liberty testing was SO cool. Karin had us stand on and under the tarp then squeeze over barrels and SFW (stand face and wait) for 7 seconds both ways. Blu left at first but reconnected quickly then did a nice job standing on and under the tarp. He had a graceless squeeze game, but he went over. That was the only task I made it to before we broke for lunch. Leaving the honey comb, I hopped over a log and Blu hopped over right after me.
When I finished lunch, I spent 15 minutes on line on the embankment letting Blu graze then I asked him to jump up the short side and down the tall side. I accepted little tries and asked him to back away every time he tried a little harder. In the end, he went down nicely and I got to see a real picture of NOT pushing my horse over the "embankment"/''cliff'' that came in handy when I was asking him to squeeze over into the honey comb the same way he'd left earlier. Going in, I accepted his tries and ended when he scooted a foot from zone 4 closer to the jump.
I got in line to do Humphrey's task, but no one was going to Ryan's task, so I volunteered myself even though I really did not want to start with the circling game. Circling entailed WTCB and change of direction showing maintainence of gait throughout. Blu maintained gait nicely after an intial grass dive and he did not anticipate the send. For the COD, he broke gait and I had to wait for the draw. I forgot to back him up on the circle so I had to resend him. That time, he anticipated the send and I just went with it. Backing, he did it lightly with some stick.
Then for Bonnie we had an unsticky stick to me with good stops from the canter, though. His tail backing and zone 5 friendly game were great. Finally, Humphrey tested sideways, 360 FQ and HQ yields and a close spin. He did great for the sideways and yields, but left me for the spin both times we tried. However, he earned quadruple cute bonus points because from the other side of the pen, he came into the outheld halter. SO CUTE! Everyone watching said he was adorable.
Testing was such a different experience this time around. I couldn't believe how different the atmosphere was just by having half the class familiar with the schedule and tasks. It was an amazing demonstration of a positive affect of herd mentality.
Later that night, I rode Blu over Arena Grande so I could warm him up in the far end that he is afraid of. Following the rail, I asked for rein positions every time he got impulsive. When we got to the far end, I got him onto a fig 8 and stayed on the same tracks at the walk and trot and in a bend until he relaxed and began blowing out. Then we did giant cantering loops of consistent size along on the rail until we got to that spooky corner and we stopped and dismounted. By then, it was pouring so on the way back to the pen, Blu wore my shirt on his head to keep the rain from going down his ears.
Sopping wet, Faith and I got into Suzy's newly fixed truck. She stopped at the city market and bought ice cream and boston cream pie to throw a good bye party for her last night in the condo. It was so much fun and it was a delicious dessert.
Natural Horsewoman Out.