Tuesday, 22 February 2011

"Oh, We're Half Way There" .....Tues 22nd Feb 2011

Am very very very very very very excited and pleased with myself and my gorgeous mare!!!!!!! Dare I say it, but I think we're probably about half way there to achieving our goal of riding out together, just the two of us...

This morning we've had a fab schooling session in the paddock with lots of attempted napping at the gate to start with but I managed to get that completely sorted out by the end, and then I decided that I wanted to get out into the big fields and do my own thing. So my instructor just stayed at the gate and off we went. It was fantastic, and I mean really fantastic. My mare was listeing to me the whole time and we trotted off with a couple of short walks and halts for half an hour. We circled, rein changed etc and every time I asked her to she came right back to me, even when we were heading for home. We did it all by ourselves and are very happily in one piece to tell the tale - woo hoo!! We walked all the way home on the buckle and both of us had worked up a real sweat. Its the first time since I've had her that I felt like I was the leader, and a good leader at that, and I feel soooooooo happy - woooopppppeeee!!!!!!!

Last Couple of Weeks.....up to Mon 21st Feb 2011

So, its been cupcaktetastic in my house recently - that's what I do for my job by the way.....

Have managed to ride but keeping the blog updated hasn't been a priority so I apologise for that. I thought I'd just write a short summary of each ride just to remind me of what I've been up and to keep you all up to date too......

Sat 12th Feb
Hacked out with Amelie, my 6 year old daughter, and it was just perfect. It was sooo warm, the grass was bright green, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. We had a great ride through the woods and along the golf course for about an hour, and had some great trots. My instructor led Amelie and I just got on and did my own thing - I can remember thinking that there was nowehere I'd rather be!

Tues 15th Feb
Lungeing - had completely underestimated what an art form it is!!! My mare took complete advantage of me and was cantering round like a looney taking me further and further towards the gate!!!! My instructor ended up having to run in to the middle to help me out - hilarious really...although Charlie wasn't too impressed by the state of the field - looks like he'll be rolling at the weekend - oops!

Thurs 17th Feb
Great schooling followed by a lovely hack and she was good as gold. I can definitely feel my trust and confidence increasing.......

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Thurs 10th Feb 2011 - Blue Sky and Robert Pattinson!!!!!

Well, who'd have thought that stepping into a magic circle coloured with bright blue sky whilst thinking of Robert Pattinson could make such a difference to my horsemanship????? Well, that's exactly what I did this morning, and as a result my mare and I cuddled for at least 20 minutes, both with our eyes closed (I cheated and took a peep once to see what she was doing).

At last night's confidence strategy meeting, Lisa from Holistic Horses once again pulled it out of the bag by introducing another great technique to help us build our confidence when with our horses. We had to think of a feeling that we wanted to anchor (mine was relaxation) and then remember times when we had felt like that with our horses. We were supposed to remember 3 times but I could only remember 2 so I had to think of another tine when I felt relaxed. The magic circle thing reminded me of the latest Twilight book as Bella has the power to create a protective field that she can wrap around herself and those she cares for to keep them safe from the Volturi. Anyway, to cut  a long story short, being the girls that we are the conversation digressed momentarily onto the subject of Robert Pattinson. It struck me that I feel VERY relaxed when thinking of him so I decided that he would be my third relaxed memory!

We had to think of the relaxed feeling, live that feeling through remembering sound, sights, smells experienced at that time, and then when the feeling was at a high, we had to step into our magic circle, intensify the feeling, and associate a colour with it; I chose bright sky blue.

So this morning, I threw my magic circle of relaxation over me and Kermit, allowed us to be wrapped up in a bright sky blue blanket, and dream of Robert Pattinson (or in Kermit's case maybe Vollegro!!!!).

When we were schooling and she was napping, I threw it over us again and felt a big grin spreading over my face. It really helped me to feel relaxed and happy with what we were doing. When she tried to nap I didn't feel at all frustrated as I usually do, but just calmly applied the right aids and asked her to move forwards. Although she still thought about it during our session, most times I managed to keep her moving where I wanted her to go and got a big "well done" from my instructor.

We had big rubs and cuddles afterwards and all felt good in the hood....oh, and she didn't try to bite me once - yes!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Tues 8th Feb 2011 - A Hole in One!!!

Well, the good news is that we didn't become the hole, but the golf ball that was fired at us by the most useless golfer on the planet of the earth landed about one foot away from us. My horse just stood and looked at it - I think she must have been able to tell from the golfer's swing that it wasn't quite going to get us...I'm glad she was more confident in his lack of ability than I was!!!!!

30 seconds before we were nearly knocked out, a bonkers dog (luckily on the lead) was going absolutely mad at us, so I tried to ride my horse away from it, but she was adamant that she wanted to take a closer look at the yapping spaniel and decided that the best line of defence would be to stare him out!!!

What an interesting morning!

Prior to our hack out we had had a brilliant lungeing session. My instructor lunged with me mounted, and my main aim was to work on my walk/trot trot/walk transition. I had to pretend that I didn't have any legs and just to use my seat. I love being on the lunge and being able to concentrate on just one thing like this. I feel like its really helping me to properly learn to ride - working on one very small thing and not having to think about anything else, but each week building in just another small step. Monty Roberts calls it incremental learning when referring to the horse, and I think its the same for me when riding.

The absolute pleasure of today was feeling the sun warming through my fleece and watching the mist rise as we rode - what an absolute privilege to be with my gorgeous horse on a morning like this morning. And to finish off with a short hack across the fields riding on the buckle just made it!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Thurs 3rd Feb 2011 - Yee Ha!

Coolio, I did it!!!!

Set out on my hack this morning on a new route that I've been planning with the goal to trot all the way along the track that runs along the side of the golf course. Its a goal I set last night, to complete that particular trot, at Lisa's confidence strategy evening last night. Its something that I felt excited about doing and had visualised how good it would feel at the end of last night's session. Anyway, we did it!! And it felt fantastic. My mare was really light in the hand and steady, and I could relax and enjoy it.....

We continued around the route and we were walking around the corner when all of a sudden my horse took off!!! We were cantering along flat out and I had no idea why.....I just remember thinking that it would be really good if I could stay on, wondering how far we were going to go, and then realising that we were picking up speed!!! The next thing I registered was my instructor's voice shouting at me, but I couldn't hear what he was saying!!! Then I thought I heard something about right hand, and remembered the right hand up emergency stop. So, up went my hand, and miraculously it worked! My mare turned sharp right and then stopped (narrowly missing a tree, but she stopped all the same). Wooooppppeeee!!!! It works and I did it!

Isn't it funny how the fear of the unknown and the anticipation of the event can be so much worse than the actual event itself???? Ok, so admittedly I wouldnt choose for that to happen on a ride, quite the opposite in fact. But at least now I know that I can deal with it when it does happen, rather than wondering..... I feel in a weird way its actually good that its happened.....

Funnily enough, it was a dog off the lead that had jumped out of a bush behind her that had frightened my horse, the thing that I had mentioned I was worried about at the meeting the previous evening.....

Anyway, we continued on our hack and I think the main difference I noticed in myself again was that now I was concentrating on my horse, and trying to reassure her and calm her, rather than wanting to cry, get off, and think about myself. This is such a big change for me and I know I've got a really long way to go with it to be able to do this completely in a relaxed way, but I am really trying, and so am very much on the right path...