With Dove I learned the power of relaxation.
This has been a topic we have been exploring for some time. Dove came to me a bracey, racey pony with picture perfect bad banana posture- the perfect Parelli cartoon of a RBE- yep that was my Dove. This past year we have played with asking her to lower her head down as a first response when she gets tense or worried. We played with this as she stood still, at a walk, then trot, on a circle, on a straight line, while riding, while playing with transitions and even while changing direction. Then we added moving her HQ out and creating a soft bend in her ribs while she moved. What I believe Pat refers to as traveling straight on the circle. When Dove finds relaxation as her first response the possibilities are endless. As this year closes we played with the beginnings of flying lead changes online on a Fig 8. Whoot Whoot! This is HUGE my friends for my little blonde pony was doing this playfully tonight. I mean it, she was having fun versus all tense and bracey. She was flicking her pretty blonde head at me as we played our little game of tag. When I unhaltered her she hung around, lowered her head, exhaled and then offered her version of spanish walk to me! We played with a little left and then right leg pawing the ground as we walked together. Friends there is nothing you can't do when the horse becomes a part of you! Thank you Pat Parelli ....thank you!
With Spice, I learned the power of my belly button. LOL.... no kidding!
Leave it to Spice to point out the obvious! She is quite direct my little spanish filly. While we played tonight Spice didn't want to trot let alone canter. Over this past year she & I have been exploring ways to elicit a soft canter depart (minus the head flick) while we play with transitions. Spice came to me with a good dose of LBE in her. Although she can get unconfident and big when worried and use her big shoulders against you, when all is right in the world she hovers between a LBI and a LBE. One minute she's asking What's in it for ME? and then the next second she can be a bit playfully naughty. So of course tonight I learned another lesson from Miss Spice. We were ending our session with some Fig 8's. As I mentioned earlier she wasn't keen on cantering tonight so I thought why push it. So instead we played with trotting the Fig 8 and speeding up to a fast trot as we changed directions. As I ran through my phases she started buck jumping into a canter as she changed directions. With a 50/50 chance staring at me I decided to reward Spice's buck jump "try" because frankly she did speed up - from a trot to a canter. The results were hilarious. As soon as I said the word good she stopped immediately and then looked at me.... you know the "where's my cookie?" look. We repeated this a few times and what I soon learned was that she was responding off of my belly button. My stick never left the ground. As she'd round the cone and I ran backwards, the minute I began to move forward facing her she was buck jumping and changing directions. I played with trying to not bring my life up so much as we changed directions and the results were better but not great yet. I think she plans to play this with me for another 6 sessions until I get it. LOL.
When it came time for us to play tonight the sun had gone down and fireworks could be heard in the background. Needless to say my little gelding was quite uptight and looked like the Parelli cartoon of the RBI complete with puckered lips poor guy. I knew he needed time to be quiet but also needed help moving his feet constructively or else he'd explode in a frenzy. So we played with the Fig 8 for almost our entire session. When we tried a little circling he was gone- no connection- lost in his worried mind. So back to our Fig 8 pattern we'd head and soon we could change to a nice falling leaf or backwards S pattern. I ended on a good note and we headed back to his herd. Once back at the hay bar he was relaxed. So we played with another pattern- were we ride point to point up and down the lane. Ah the power of patterns as a place to go mentally, emotionally and physically and relax. Chero has taught me to see the pattern and use it to help him move to a more confident state. And from there we can do amazing things!
Well my friends the New Year is fast approaching. Tonight as midnight rolls around I will be dreaming of all the adventures to come in the New Year and all the lessons my horses still have to teach me!