Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Finding a Rhythm

Okay, so this phrase "No rest for the weary." ? Yeah, definitely true and then some. I'm never going to give up on that conviction. I just cannot seem to get a good night's sleep in my life. Today, I played with horses for 3 hours, and went shopping for 3 hours, and since have done nothing, but yet, am TOTALLY exausted. So, I'm writing this post as the cream of mushroom soup simmers on the stove, and after I consume said delicacy, I'm effing GOING TO BED!

Anyway, to the horsey part of my day. Firstly, Anne and I went out on a trail ride. Which, on a normal day, wouldn't be a BIG thing, but first of all, it was a freaking GORGEOUS day, and secondly, it was Anne's FIRST TRAIL RIDE on her property! How EXCITING, right? It went GREAT, we rode all over the place, we both rode Clearwater and Bailey, and everyone was happy and enjoying themselves.

Later on in the afternoon, (well, evening actually) I went back out with Anne to do a low-key session with Blixen. I've been using Blix as a guinea pig of sorts this visit, since I'm so fascinated with his horsenality, and so I've been playing with every single possibility as to what he could be, plotting charts for every imaginable situation, trying to get a grasp for this horse's pattern.

Anyway, we got out there, and this session, I decided that I wanted to play with keeping my energy low, but requesting things, regardless, and seeing how Blixen would respond. Blix started out totally RBE reactive, just totally could NOT collect himself mentally. He'd over react at a tiny movement, and would seriously try to escape pressure so violently that it scared me a couple of times. I brought my energy up a little bit to take care of that, but more kept my intention up, and in director/leader mode. Eventually he came to the point that he was actually doing things with his brain, and then I passed him off to Anne, with the instruction to keep her energy low, but make firm requests, as well.

Things started out really well, I directed Anne through a series of little challenges, and then decided to up the ante in the sideways game, and introduce an element (PVC pole) under Zone 3. Blixen went almost instantly RB again, being a very claustrophobic horse, and I took him back to play with zone 3 confidence. We started out squeezing between the pole and me, then between the fence and the pole, then over a log, then over a log stopping straddling with it under zone 3 and friendly-ing, then finally putting it all together. Blixen actually OFFERED his zone 3 and went sideways both directions beautifully.

Next, I started to play with finding a rhythm over an obstacle. We played with an exercise from "Jumping with Confidence" where I sent Blix over a log in a circle 10 laps, switched direction, did 10 the other direction (or until he found the rhythm. At any point, if he lost his rhythm, or got RB, I would send him in a squeeze so that he would have to collect himself mentally. He did GREAT there, took two rounds of 10 each direction, and he was totally level, even, and relaxed. Even offered a trotting change of direction which, for the horse who had no draw whatsoever 2 days ago, is great. Then, we moved to the same concept but moving through a narrow space and not getting claustrophobic or bracy. That took a bit more, since Blixen would just tense and speed up a little within gait. But again, just a few repeats, and he got it.

We unhaltered on that note, and he just hung out with us, which is HUGE for Blix, who is usually straight back to his herd after a session. I realized just how important it is for a RB horse to find that rhythm. The change in Blixen, while subtle, was profound. Definitely a wonderful note to end on, can't wait to play with him more tomorrow!

Bedtime now.

My soup is long since gone, and I want some ZZZZZZZZZ's!

Savvy out!

1 comment:

Always In Training said...

That is so cool I've had to do the same thing with my friends horse.