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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Parelli Pony Party and Post-Poned Plans

Cricket, two years ago at fall camp, playing in Carol's outdoor playground

Saturday was fan-damn-tastic. For the past three years a small group of us from fall camp have been promising to get together. Karen and Margaret live only 45 minutes from where I board and Becky and Genia are local. Saturday we finally managed it and by the end of the day we were kicking ourselves for waiting so long.

We started with some ground play in the outdoor paddock. The space I set up for my L3 online audition has just become our outdoor play space. I had Cricket on the 45' and everyone else was on the 22'. We played with the toys and just enjoyed being with each other. I eventually slipped Cricket's halter off and we played at liberty. She gave me some nice circle game with good draw. We did some yo-yo over a jump. I didn't push her too hard. We are still rebuilding our liberty confidence and I wanted to prove to her I was a good leader.

We broke for lunch and when we returned it was time to ride. We spent a little time in the arena. Karen and Margaret have not ridden much away from home (other than camp) and Margaret was nervous as was her horse. I had Genia watch me with my cantering. Though I only did one circuit of the question box on the left lead, it felt good and I stopped on the positive note. I'm trying hard to preserve my cantering confidence and so far it's working.

We decided to ride outside the arena in the paddock where we had played in the morning. Margaret is very unconfident outside the arena but she wants very much to trail ride. We all helped her feel safe and gave her space and encouragement to trust her horse and provide him the leadership he needed. We were just walking around, using the obstacles and having a grand time.

At some point I started goading Genia to jump. In her younger days she took 4' fences with or without a horse. Despite the lapse of time, her body remembers and she is just beautiful over jumps. After rising to my "dare" she turned the tables and sent the challenge back my way. I said, "No way!" The first time I ever fell off a horse was when I began jumping and it's made me slightly afraid of jumping. Genia kept it up and finally I agreed. Margaret lowered the pole and I walked Cricket over it twice before attempting anything else. I then turned her towards it, asked for the trot, grabbed mane and kept my eyes up. Cricket was a little wobbly but she jumped the rail and continued on at the trot.

WOW! I jumped my horse. In an open paddock. Without anyone holding a safety line. I JUMPED MY HORSE! I know the jump wasn't big. But Cricket didn't trot over the pole. SHE JUMPED. I was so proud of myself and my horse. I decided to do it again and it was just a tiny bit better. I cannot believe it.

I know it only worked because of the time I've put in over the last weeks. I am even more eager to start my next Progressive Parelli Program with my Precious Pony. But alas and alack, it's going to have to wait. I have to be realistic. The impending holiday weekend just isn't going to allow me the time to properly start my next adventure. So the plan is to start Monday November 30. We are going to progress through the Patterns with a focus on riding. I can hardly wait!

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