Ok so it's chilly and their lunch time so why not just focus on the one thing we've been playing with... transitions on a circle with me using my body vs swinging the stick and string. Old rational me again as I thought keep it simple even if deep down I felt my horses were bored with this already. Hmmm.... wrong again. They had interesting answers ... no make that revelations to share with me. OMG. I am still not sure I can explain.
So I decided to take my girls together first. We make our way to the new uncovered and sunny arena. No one else but an instructor is here and he likes the covered arena (which is quite chilly in this weather BTW). I figured one can hang out while I play with the other and it won't be so intense in a new spot. Ok so maybe only half of it is new as it used to be where our round pen was. My girls quickly made use of the fresh sand and rolled. Spice was reluctant for at least 10 mins. But that is her MO. Make sure no wolves are around first. Make totally sure coz they might have brought their friends the bears too. Gotta love her instincts. Dove just about hit the dirt upon entering. She is my rock I tell ya.
So I started with Dove while Spice relaxed a bit more. Dove is amazing. After all that she lets me know she has been through before we became partners she tries sooooo hard. We are alike in many ways...both ambitious strawberry blondes who don't necessarily forget but we try really hard to forgive. Pat's note about Magic needing alot of time to forgive Pat for the mistakes of other predators rings in my ears with my dear Dove. Thanks Pat for the insights. And today was no exception. We played with our short transitions intervals with me following her and occasionally mixing it up with passing the rope behind me as she circled. At one point she really engaged her HQ in her canter when she was in the deeper sand and I brought her in. Well done my dear pony! I could see in her eyes she was thinking about that one. My big "ah ha" moment came when I was on her left side and she was freaking out with my energy to ask for a canter. OMG I suddenly saw it as she did... the old ghost of lunging horror past. Someone must have flogged her to lunge to the left poor dear. She doesn't have the same reaction going right. When I first met her she didn't even understand how to circle to the right. This new game must feel so predatory to her like I am constantly driving her. She probably misses the relief of pressure she gets when she passes behind my back in our old circling game. I also realized how much more extroverted I am than her. Some of you who know her may say really more extro than Miss Dove? But today I saw it loud and clear. She must have thought I was screaming CANTER NOW. So I really toned it down and just thought trot or canter and tried to subdue my body as much as I could and voila she read my mind. Together we worked it out and she had nice canters each side. When I unhaltered her she didn't move a muscle, standing in her spot while I played with Spice.
Next up Miss Spice. She was ready as a couple times she came in when I asked Dove to. LOL she is so funny how she chooses to communicate with me. Spice was so willing and quite particular today about my requests. She has caught on quick and when I say "yes" or "ah that's it" she stops. Literally in her tracks stops and looks at me or comes in. Smarty pants that she is! So now she is asking me to be even more clear as she is ready to be 150% connected. Whoa Nelly stop the train... Spice has arrived!!!! Ok I know it is me who has finally arrived but it was a THRILL to see her ear on me the whole time. Then next big moment came when she was offering canter departs. Ok that is just way too cool. OMG my dream horse is here. I have been waiting for the moment I was good enough for her to emerge. Is that today? Wow I may not sleep tonight. Either that or the draft in her has joined the party (she's a mustang and I fondly refer to them as mutts- a lovely mix of the best of many breeds). What a session!
I bring my lovely girls back and since the sun is still out I have time to play with Chero. Since it's just me and him he is a bit on edge poor boy. A nod that my leadership (and/or his trust in my leadership) is still not enough for him to feel safe. We play with some falling leaf and start our walk/trot transitions. At one point he has his head in what I call his anteater position (what others refer to as the peanut roller). Here it comes... his desire to roll, to get off adrenaline, so let's do it together. I just know that he'll be the first to lay down for me one day. :) Boink down he goes. Once he's gotten both sides scratched we continue with our transitions on a circle. Like I have said before he is Mr Sensitive with a capital S. So I try my best to take what Dove & Spice told me and apply it. Still not enough and Chero is sometimes blasting away, kicking as we speed up and rearing as we slow down. Oh boy.... I really need a Valium... sorry buddy. So I really crank down my body energy and ask ever so politely to trot... trying only to think it really and he is happier about it. Sometimes it feels like his old habit and sometimes like he's hypersensitive - that old 50/50 chance deal. Next up asking for a canter. I find it harder for him from a trot than a walk. Hmmmm interesting. Must be something I am doing differently. So we end our session with a step or two of a canter depart and he seems as pleased as I am. OK I am BEAMING.... much more than pleased really.
WOW what a day this has been for me. I really hope that it was as good for them as it was for me. I saw each one of them calm way down (still, leg cocked, quiet almost contemplative) after our short sessions so I hope that is a nod.