Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Fri 1st April 2011 - Can I Get Join Up With My Mare?

Oh my goodness me - this join up malarkey is rather more involved when you move off shetlands and onto big cob girls!!!!!!

I think pretty much, my mare was just shrugging her shoulders at me, and if she could speak would have been quoting the words of Catherine Tate i.e. "Am I bovvered????" !!!!!

So, it took me a few minutes to start to get to get to grips with the amount of energy I would need to use to drive her away properly, and to really focus on my body language, keeping eyes on eyes and shoulders square.

She trotted away, and then she decided to change direcetion, and then stopped for a poo - clearly I was missing some basic Join Up skills!!!!! It was also windy as could be, so every time I tried to throw the line at her it just kept landing back on my feet - hilarious really!!!! I think me trying to do join up with my mare could become a good income generating spectator sport!!!!!!

OK, it was time to get serious!!!! I took a breather (as I was now quite red faced and puffing a bit!!!), doubled over my line to give it some more weight, and tried flapping it across my body and started using my vocal making a sssshhhhhhing sound, but very loudly!!

Good, so I got a response, and although only got a bit of cantering, she was trotting round well. I managed to get her to change direcetion and then after another 5 laps changed her direction again.

I was starting to see the signs of negotiation.....her ear was starting to lock in and her head was lowering. There wasn't any licking and chewing but her circles were starting to get smaller - was it time???????

I turned inwards, drop my shoulder and waited, and waited some more....nothing. She was looking in but she wasn't advancing towards me. So I walked quickly towards her in an arc, waited next to her for a couple of seconds, and then walked away....nothing.

I walked over to her again, waited for a few seconds, gave her a rub, and then gently pulled her headcollar to show her what I was hoping for. I let go, and she did take a couple of steps with me - pretty good......

But then I lost her to her one true love, to whom she will always be loyal.......grass!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mon 28th March 2011 - Horse Whisperer Extraordinnaire!!!!!

We have a lovely shetland, who is absolutely good as gold. He's been with us for 2.5 years and he has never, never, put a hair out of line. He is adorable and perfect in every way.....

So, I decided that he would make the perfect guinea pig for me to practise my Join Up on, as I really didn't want to get it wrong with my big powerful mare in the round pen!!!

What a moment - it was text book perfect. He joined up with me, and followed up with me beyond my wildest dreams. We were literally 'dancing' around the round pen together, with his nose at my hip whichever way I turned. What a privilege to have experienced something like this. I think I'm going to have to practise on him a few more times though before I try my mare...........

Bucked Off - Sat 26th March 2011

Had a lesson this morning schooling my mare in the paddock and was working on my technique to master her napping at the gate. My instructor described what I should do in a different way today, by asking me to create a barrier with my outside leg and rein, to stop her from being able to move to the outside - something clicked and I finally started to get it - and it worked!

My mare was schooling really well, I was managing to stop the napping, and we were going round in a lovely balanced trot, and we had gone past the gate several times, when on about the 4th approach to the gate, she suddenly quickened right up and started to lean on the bit. I felt like she was going to try and nap, and put my barrier in place and put leg on to ask her to move forward, but lost my balance slightly and my feet went through the irons. Instead of asking her to come back to walk, I was so determined to conquer the nap that I asked her to keep going, which she did, but just after we passed the gate, she put in a massive buck and I was catapulted off, landing on my head and then lower back. Thankfully I landed on mossy paddock, and she stopped to eat the grass.....

I heard my instructor saying "Oh Dear, are you OK?" as he went over to hold my mare as I picked myself up. I felt abit dizzy and stiff, but other than that completely fine. I had a quick stretch and my instructor asked me if I wanted him to ride her, to which I replied "No, I want to get straight back on. I'm fine, let's get this sorted out".

TALK ABOUT A LIGHT BULB MOMENT!!!! Are any of you in shock???? What a major breakthrough.
I got back on, asked her to walk on, and then started to get the giggles. I felt such an odd combination of feelings and emotions including relief, thanks, pride, courage, strength, determination, but absolutely NO FEAR!!!!!

I waked around for a couple more minutes and then spent ten minutes asking for short trot sequences, some past the gate, making sure that I was relaxed, sitting up straight, hands carried high, with heels down. I then called it a day, and felt like I was now a real horse owner and not a faker!!!!! It felt weirdly like I had collected my first trophy!!!????

I felt like I had dealt with it in the same way I would if the children had a tantrum - ignore their reaction and quietly and calmly ask them to do what I wanted them to do again, until they started to listen to me.

I am so, so proud of myself.

Then my husband arrived home with the round pen that we've hired for two weeks - Join Up is next on the agenda.......

A Message From My Dad - Weds 23rd March 2011

OK, this is a big one.....those of you who read my first entry will know why straight away, but for those of you who haven't yet, my Dad died nearly four years ago, so getting a message from him last night was a very major deal for me!!!!!

So, now I'll explain how I came to get the message.....stay with me, hopefully it will all make sense by the time I get to the end.....

Here goes...... Last night I went for my final follow up strategy meeting with my Holisitc Horses gang as the conclusion to Part One of the confidence course I'm on. Lisa introduced us to a new confidence building technique called the Time Line. In short, we had to think of a quality that we wanted to have more of in our future with regards riding. I chose self belief, as my fear is subsiding and my confidence is increasing, but there is still something missing that I need to help me to achieve my goal of riding out on my own, and I think it is self belief. Everyone else is telling me that I can do it, my horse is showing me that she can do it with me, and so I just need that final 'push'.

Lisa told us to imagine our life as laid out on the floor in a line and decide where we are on that line (the present). She then asked us to backtrack to a time when we had the quality we wanted more of. She asked us to fully associate into that time and then to continue to go back along the line and gather up three or four experiences and associate into each one. By associate Lisa means to re-live the moment, remember the people who were there, how we felt, what it looked like, what the colours were, what sounds we could hear, what noises and voices there were, smells etc.

We then had to step off the time line, go back to the beginning, get back on and walk slowly along the line pausing at each experience, associating each experience, until reaching the present.

We then had to get off, go back to the past, and walk along the time line a little quicker this time.

We then had to repeat the last line but then continue a few steps into the future, imagining a time when we had more of that quality, and turn and pass back a message to the current us.

We then had to step off the time line and get back on into the present, and receive the message from the future us.

OK, a lot to read through I know, but if I didn't explain this all to you then I think you wouldn't fully understand what I want to try and record about what happened.

So, I got to the bit about thinking of past experiences in my life when I had high self belief. The first experience I thought of was when my Dad died, and I selected a very personal reading for his funeral and magaged to read it out, 6 mths pregnant, at his funeral. I was so proud of myself for being able to do and it felt like a big leap forward in my life in terms of realising my inner strength and higher self.... I was determined to do it for Dad and he kept telling me that I would be able to do it and so I believed I would. The second expereince was the day I married my lovely husband. There's nothing quite like someone saying they want to spend the rest of their life with you to boost your self belief. I visualised my husband grinning from ear to ear, and then saw a picture I see regularly in my mind, my Dad's face just before we walked up the aisle, looking at me so lovingly and telling me I'd made it! The experience before that was when I had my first big promotion at work and was given a huge pay rise and a sports car, and ringing Dad to tell him and him being over the moon and saying how delighted he was but how he wasn't at all surprised as he always knew I would be successful, and the final experience I went back to was passing the entrance exam into Oxford High School, and Mum and Dad coming in to my prep school to give me the news as they were too excited to wait until I got home, and them both whooping and cheering and cuddling me and telling me that I could do it. 

Well, you might be able to predict the realisation that hit me once I'd associated all of these experiences. You guessed it, it struck me right between the eyes, there and then, that when he was alive my Dad had been my champion. My Mum is too, very much so, but she is also a worrier like me, and sometimes that feeds my doubt. But it dawned on me that the giver of a huge amount of my self belief throughout my life had been my Dad. And so I completely broke down, because how could I step into the future, having acquired more self belief, to pass it back to the present me, when I didn't know where to get it from, as my source of self belief had died??????.........

So, how did I work through this? Lisa asked me if I could imagine what my Dad would say to me if he were alive, but the pain of imagining this was physically taking hold through my body, because thinking about what Dad would say to me if he was alive was something I had stopped allowing myself to do. I think this is because my way of trying to come to terms with his death was to tell myself to not go down that road, to accept that he was dead and that I would never see him again, and to try and get on with my life.

So, what Lisa then suggest I do was to think of those times in the past, during my moments of high self-belief, and just remember the words he would have said to me.

We left it at that for the evening. I got a tissue, and was very quickly chatting to others in the group. I started to feel lighter, better, very quickly after that experience, and felt very calm and grounded on the journey home.