Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Monday, September 28, 2009

A New Dawn, A New Day

It's a new dawn
It's a new day,
It's a new life for me,
And I'm feeling good.

Over the last two weeks I've ridden Cricket four times. Twice in my saddle, twice bareback. Once with a bit and three times in her hackamore. About two thirds of our time was in the arena and the rest outside, mostly grazing. I can count on one hand the number of times she shook her head.

I am happy. The Quiessence and the Spirulina seem to be helping her manage her response to stress. I am happy.

So, our ride yesterday . . . Cricket is such a complicated girl. She's been very introverted during groundwork. She turns from me and just doesn't feel into it. Maybe that's just too much "make it happen" and "get it done" from me. We're spending LOTS of time dwelling and finding itchy spots. Of which Cricket has hundreds.

She was great for saddling. It has been ages since she's tried to bite me during saddling.

Mounting is another issue. She's become increasingly snarky and I'm not sure why. I decided to take all the time we needed. I started by just sitting on the block and letting her dwell. She licked and chewed and relaxed. Nex, I stood on the mounting block and just opened my energy to allow her to come and get me. Cricket knows how to pick me up from anything. I decided just to invite her and let her come on her time. She started with her neck and I rubbed and scratched her. Before long, she just siddled up to me. Pretty cool. She was still snarky so we just did friendly game and approach and retreat. Hmm, this is all interesting to me.

The actual ride was interesting. Cricket has shed her under-impulsive self and becoming much more forward. That used to scare me. A LOT. Not so much any more. The strategies from the Impulsion Mastery Manual are fantastic. We did indirect rein downward transitions. That worked okay - it's been better. So I tried "trot as fast as you want on tiny circles." That was cool! I've never had the confidence to do that with her. We must have circled every cone on the track around the arena. Never once did she get angry or upset. Not once did she shake her head. When she sped up, we found another cone and did tiny circles. Finally, she offered the walk and we stopped and she licked and chewed. Good stopping point, good day.

I find it interesting that Cricket is becoming a little defensive about being ridden. I know it's not the saddle - she'd be biting at me during saddling if that were the case. I've changed several things lately. My seat is a little more forward in a more classical position. I like it and it gives me better balance and better control of my body on my horse. My confidence is increasing and I am beginning to challenge Cricket's under-saddle dominance. She's always had the upper hand when we ride. Not so much any more. I think she likes it but it confuses her a little.

Now comes the rush to get everthing wrapped up and ready for camp. I still have her saddle and some ropes to clean. Then I just need to start putting everything together. I'm so excited, I can hardly wait!

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