Horsey Therapist

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Finally I rode

The cold and snow have required my attention since I got back from my wonderful week in Salome, AR, with Harry Whitney and friends. Today I took a break from shoveling, etc., and rode Rusty. Brief but delightful. Poor fellow had to negotiate about 20" of settled week old snow in the arena. We got into one spot that was deeper from snow drifting and I wasn't sure what he was doing but it felt something between his yoga stretching (never before done while I'm on his back) and some thoughts to back up or lie down. Really I'm not sure what he was thinking. So I invited him to move to where the snow was less deep and continued.

I am surprised how disruptive it feels to be using RNB's computer -- I am so accustomed to using my own computer it feels strange. No access to all my bookmarks and email addresses for starters. I hope to get the call tomorrow, telling me my computer is fixed and I can come get it. Then life will feel more normal!

Meanwhile, full of good memories from time with Harry. I've started typing up my notes but process interruptus due to lack of 'my' computer. But I rode today full of the successes in AZ and Rusty responded easily and well. I must admit I was really noticing how much I've let his attention stray, and thankfully it didn't bother him for long that I asked for more from him than I had been.

The horses all seem a bit fresh and lively. I do wish the footing was better, however I will ride when I can even before a great melting occurs which hopefully will reduce the depth of snow without leaving too much crusty stuff when the cold air freezes things up again. Spring isn't for another month!

A week in AZ was a treat weatherwise. It shocked me at first being back here, especially facing quite a bit of snow that still needed to be moved in order to function well around the farm.

I rode two horses in AZ. One was a former dude string type horse, 30 years old, and oh my, what a super horse under a layer of dullness! He was fun, and a great little project for me in terms of asking some new things of him (imagine he'd never been asked to bend before, or stop from the rider's seat) and riding with him as he loosened up.

Our first canters were horrendous! I felt like I was sitting on a glider that was rocking off balance on the diagonal, sort of a very braced pacey canter on a tank of a horse! I was some pleased to feel that change as he loosened up, mentally and physically. And frankly, amazed how quickly that all happened.

I rode him for the first two and last two days. The middle day I rode a mare who Harry has owned and ridden for a few years now. What nice things I learned from her because when she let go of some thoughts and was there with me and my requests, it felt wonderful. We talked about a slippery saucer feeling, which I have thought of as moving a piece of furniture with precise and well lubed bearing rollers. She was invisible in her presence, if that makes sense. Ready, responsive, with me. I thanked her many times for giving me a feeling that I can look for now in any horse I ride. I have felt it before, but this time I was clear about what I was experiencing, and will remember on purpose. I even had some moments that fluid with the old guy.

I will share right now a little from the clinic. Harry talked about when to be insistent, and when to be persistent. Be persistent when the horse is learning something new, set it up and wait for him to figure it out -- don't lose track of his learning, don't hurry it. Be insistent when you know the horse already knows what's being asked of him. Don't tolerate his holding back, avoiding, thinking about doing what he wants instead of what you've asked of him -- get a change, but then just move on, don't harp on what happened, just go do something together when he's with you and ready.

Harry talked a lot about responsiveness during this clinic, similar to other times when he's talked about not leaving a horse feeling bad, doing something now to help the horse feel OK inside himself, that a horse who isn't giving 100% is a horse who feels troubled. It should come through my notes once I get them all typed up.

1 Comments:

At 21 February, 2007 20:05, Blogger ZinniaZ said...

"I will share right now a little from the clinic. Harry talked about when to be insistent, and when to be persistent. Be persistent when the horse is learning something new, set it up and wait for him to figure it out -- don't lose track of his learning, don't hurry it. Be insistent when you know the horse already knows what's being asked of him. Don't tolerate his holding back, avoiding, thinking about doing what he wants instead of what you've asked of him -- get a change, but then just move on, don't harp on what happened, just go do something together when he's with you and ready."

This is good to think about-- like cool water for my thirsty heart. (Ok, so I am a little corny, but really! This is good for me right now!) I am having trouble with persistence and insistence. It feels a little... Bad. I am glad you have more to write about this. Maybe your words will help my brain and my horse figure this out...

 

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