Last night, Krisen and I brought Rockstar into the arena while the rain poured down and made the canvas Cover-All roof very loud. He came in and followed me into the dry sand easily enough, but then he got sticky feet and lifted his head and stopped blinking. One of his hind legs was out at an awkward angle, too, but he just stuck it there, all tense and still.
I remembered the mare in the Horsenalities section of Liberty & Horse Behavior and I just … waited. Kept my body language and eyes soft and friendly. Talked to Krisen. Put no pressure on him at all.
Guess what happened! Continue reading
I shall list highlights here, then expound on them after the jump. That way, the six of you who read this don’t have to wade through the bulk of my personal journal to find the main points. [This post is about 2,000 words.]
- Engaged the natural power of focus, steering with my bellybutton (amazing results!).
- Adapted the freestyle pattern to our individual needs.
- Experimented with saddle placement and just hoped for the best, rather than not try because I’m not already perfect.
- Walked over the tarp in both directions (first time!), after only two maaaaaybe the feets.
- Walked energetically during Follow the Rail and seemed to enjoy the adaptations I made to both the pattern and the saddle position.
- Snorfled his nose in the dirt a lot while I rode, when he wasn’t walking energetically. And just now, writing that, I realize how I could have handled that a lot better.
- Trotted for many consecutive minutes without breaking gait during “traveling circles” all around the arena.
- Stood quietly for grooming and lifted each foot before I touched each leg.
- Seemed to think that “I’m leaving you here with your halter and lead so you learn what to do when you step on the rope” actually meant “you’re ground-tied.”
- Could not get enough of watching the mini donks gallop around and wrestle like puppies, which made that side of the arena a good “rest here as a reward” place.
- Became curious quickly about the shiny tinsel “string” and was able to stand still, albeit interested, while I flicked and whirled it all round him (friendly game!). Then he tried to eat it and I had a heart-thudding moment trying to pull it out of his mouth before he swallowed.
Here he is with the silver tassels the first time they touched him. I don’t know why he looks so ewe-necked and lump-headed:
Now, on to the journal. Continue reading