September 28, 2013
Another practice with loose lungeing today. I closed off the gates with only Little Horse inside this time. Before, there had been other horses in with him while we were practicing.
The bubble is getting better. Still working toward 4 ft consistently, but I can see more respect for my personal space from him. I asked him to walk so that our circle would be to the left. He started, and then turned off to the right. I went around and herded him back to the left. He took a couple steps and then stopped and turned toward me. I think I am needing to let the more traditional lungeing positioning of my body go. I might need to start from a new place, both literally and figuratively.
Going to the right was so much better. Little Horse actually circled around me, and I kept him going two times around before I asked him to turn. And, he took one step and halted when I asked him too. I gave him many scratches. Then, I asked him to move his hindquarters to the left, doing a turn on the forehand. He did it with ease!
Next, I went over to his left side, and asked him to move his hindquarters to the right. Little Horse kept walking forward. I took the rope and put it over his neck so I could restrain the front end. It was like a switch flipped. He started walking away, pulling rope. Not feeling like I was in a safe position, I let the rope go to the end, and waited for him to stop walking. When he did, we paused for a moment. I needed to figure a plan where I could lead with calm, and make this go well,
I decided to have him walk forward with me with the lead rope looped over his neck. At first he was stuck in park. I combed my fingers down the rope, and with a couple passes down the rope, he was moving forward toward me, so I took a few steps. Then, as we were moving, I directed my energy toward his hind end, and got him to take a step and cross under with his left hind. I stopped there and gave him many scratches. Think I learned a lot today.
September 29, 2013
I got to feel and experience an awesome connection with Little Horse. The essence of how I want to interact with my horses was visible and palpable today! And, I am sure that it is only the tip of the iceberg of what is possible on this journey.
Today’s learnings started at Kathy’s farm. I got to sit bareback on one of her horses, a big, beautiful and sensitive mare named Liera. I was introduced to a perfectly obvious, but clearly new to me idea of “one step at a time”. As in, how does a horse move? One step, or one leg at a time. So, that is how you start them off from a halt. In order to do this, I took the rein of the direction I wanted to go off to the side. The same manner as if I was leading the horse from the ground. Release here, too! I really need to get better with my releases-complete ones. Along with bringing the rein out, I brought my life up. Then, to stop, I would bring my life back down, having the courage to wait for a response. A very different approach that I really love.
Then, we went over to work with Little Horse. All of the experimenting and awkwardness of new learning is beginning to a bit. It is so worth it.
It was raining and Little Horse was in the shelter, along with Smokey and Promise. I haltered Little Horse and let him out in the new manner I am learning, and there was a new softness to his responses to my initial requests today. How exciting! As I let him through and closed the gate of the area where we would be working, Kathy’s encouragement and praise completely validated what I had experienced. Fun!
Next, Kathy helped me with positioning my body in such a way as to have Little Horse flex his head toward me and disengage his hindquarters as he would turn to face me. Although he moved his front feet instead of his hind feet, Little Horse and I were definitely more in sync and connected today. I began to move from just being hopeful that one day I would understand all of this new stuff to believing that it truly would happen. I caught a glimpse and it was awesome.
We had some more teachable moments as I worked my way through unhaltering and letting Little Horse go. Although it’s challenging, I love the level of consciousness I need to work with horses in this connected way. The old manner of taking the halter off and leaving the area and my horse without much planning or though is now pretty much obsolete for me. Awareness is such a critical component to the journey and end result I am seeking.
I took Little Horse’s halter off and still had the lead rope over his neck. At this point we had some discussion which ended up with e dropping the rope as I was ending up in an unsafe position as Little Horse was expressing his opinion and heading away from me. I learned: not to let the lead rope get down by his withers, to keep it up by his throat latch; to make a different choice when Little Horse lets me know he’s on the edge-I can choreograph a different dance to better our chances of staying in harmony; that even with my blunders and fumbling, Little Horse was looking to continue the connection we had originated. This last point is by far the best of all. I love my Little Horse and am growing so much on our journey together.