dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Me and My Shadow

While I am appreciative of the milder than normal fall temperatures this endless rain is driving me nutty. It's interfering with my horse time in a big way. Friday and Saturday were rainy and stormy. Saturday night was really windy as well- we even lost power from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Fortunately I had Guinness to wake me up in the morning although I was a bit confused with the clocks going back- my fitbit had set to the correct time but I hadn't realized it so thought he was trying to get me up at 5:30. Poor Guinness was busting a gut and getting a bit frantic about the whole thing.

Sunday dawned sunny but the wind was still fierce and not anything you would want to stay out in for any length of time. Or ride in. I was feeling optimist thought so in the morning I dragged the ring (I always do that after a rain) and set up a small obstacle course. The wind didn't start to die down until late afternoon. I tossed around the idea of riding and in the end decided to take her up and play with some ground work instead.
What did you have in mind? I was thinking treats...

I started with the walking around the ring and staying with me. She was right with me and not too worried despite the wind blowing.  The course wasn't anything special- some poles to walk and trot over, a slalom of cones and two poles for backing through or side passing over.

I led her through the cones using my body language to weave through and she was right with me. There was zero tension in the lead line and I began to think I that I didn't need it all. I asked her trot too and she was bemused but followed along with the air of humouring me.

I stopped and rubbed her head and then I reached over and unsnapped the lunge line. Using my hand I asked her to walk with me and weave through the cones.

And she did.

Carmen definitely knew that she was free, she stopped to sniff the cones:

what is this? Is it edible? I shall knock it over.
(I took this after I snapped the line back on) 
When I first learned about round pen work (way way back) I was taught that you chase the horse until  they figure out that staying with you means less work. I get that idea but I didn't want to do that. I wanted her to choose to stay with me. Carmen hesitated a few times and I simply stood, breathing quietly and she came with me.  

It was fun playing with moving my body and having her match me. And it felt really really cool. 
I snapped this as we were walking 
I put the lunge line back on and we played a little more. I walked her over a pole and then asked her to sidestep over it and she tried to figure it out rather than stiffen and get annoyed. 

I was ready to finish but wanted to try one more thing- I walked her on the right rein over the poles by the 'scary side'. I came around again and unsnapped the line. Keeping my body language the same I walked forward over the poles and, after a brief hesitation and a peek at the trees, she walked beside me. 

My inner 12 year old was dancing inside. I don't know if I'm reading too much into this but having her work quietly and calmly with me when she could easily leave felt like a breakthrough. When a horse chooses to stay when they have the freedom to go away seems like a gift. 



24 comments:

  1. I too would like it to stop raining. I've gotten nothing done around here, let alone riding. And everything is mud. Sounds like you're having a lot of fun with Carmen though. I'm so glad she's bonding with you like that.

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    1. I mean would it hurt to have a little sun? We're not normally this dreary!

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  2. Awesome photos, and I like the 1st one where her coat is glowing in the sun.

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    1. She's been trying to cover up the glow with lots and lots of mud!

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  3. That is a magical feeling when they could go anywhere and choose to be with you. I'm glad things are smoothing out between the two of you. A little less rain would be nice. It poured all day Friday, was nice Sat/Sun and I woke up to rain again this morning.

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    1. It is a nice feeling. Now to get it under saddle (am I ever satisfied? Apparently not!)

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  4. <3 Keep that 12 year old girl dancing inside and out! I am not sure if I have ever shared this with you, but I will share it just in case. I saw this a while ago and really loved it. I try to keep it in mind. https://www.facebook.com/Warwickschillerfanpage/videos/1730317497013722/

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    1. I do like Warwick! that is a good video.

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  5. aw i love these quiet moments of building that partnership

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  6. She was enjoying it just as much as you were I bet!

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    1. I think so! I just need to get it under the saddle too.

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  7. What a wonderful moment and a huge breakthrough for you both. I love the bond you have created. <3

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  8. I love that feeling, too. And, I think it does a lot for our horses relationship to us when they feel they have a choice to come along. That's what it's all about.

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    1. I thought of you when we were playing

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  9. It's the best feeling every single time! <3

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  10. She was probably having as much fun as you. It is a great feeling when they choose to be with you. Love the shadow picture!

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    1. I am convinced that she was having fun too

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  11. As you know, I love round pen work, but the chasing til they "want" to be with you thing makes me slightly batty. It's so much better when the horse WANTS to be with you and "play" with you. This entry made my heart happy.

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    1. I know that you love ground work. It's one of the things I love reading about in your blog. Things are feeling like they are getting better.

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