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

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gettin' Back in the Swing of Things

I am finally getting back into the swing of playing with my horse. We are still limited in what I can reasonably ask because she is still barefoot and I need to arrange a visit from the chiropractor.

Last night I decided to play with Etruska. Etruska is a big American Warmblood mare that belongs to my dear friend Becky. Etruska is a very RB, unconfident and emotional mare. She is heavily bonded to my mare. Unfortunately my mare isn't too fussed on super-clingy herd mates and it's beginning to wear on Cricket's nerves. To the point she's kicking. To the point she fired a warning shot at Etruska and caught the barn owner instead. It's time to do something.

I haltered both horses and lead them into the arena. I brushed one and then the other - working on helping them both feel where my energy was directed (Cricket stand still while I back Etruska, etc.). I looped Cricket's rope around a post and let her have a "patience lesson" while I played with Etruska.

All I wanted from E was relaxation and straightness. We started with some circle game since she wants to move her feet anyway. She is such a lovely, athletic mare. She tried so hard to offer me connection and was awesome about keeping the slack even though she was not really on the circle. Once she dropped her head and continued to trot, I asked her in. Lots of blowing and head shaking to release adrenaline; lots of licking and chewing. I noticed her yo-yo game is what Pat would call a "yo-nana" - straight on the back up, arced on the bring back. I had little luck keeping her straight in the open so I put her against the arena wall and helped her understand where her comfort was. She had some pretty intense RB hissy fits but I remained very clear and when she got it right, I got big lick and chew. We went back to circles and she was soft and relatively connected, if not arced and truly relaxed. As she came around, heading towards Cricket I would loose her attention. I added in some soft changes of direction and when she passed Cricket without loosing focus I called it a win.

Cricket had been standing fairly patient through all of this. She had pawed a few times, banged her foot against the wall a few times. She was calm when I unhooked her and she seem anxious to play.

I tried a few things on-line but was getting tangled in the rope so I just stripped the halter and we played at liberty. I'm working on strengthening her draw and motivation at liberty. We played with concepts from the L3 Liberty DVD - late and light and swing your hiney when I look over my shoulder. She was trying really hard to put energy into everything. Arcing around me was difficult with her current misalignment issues. We mixed in a few circles, stick to me and all four feet on the pedestal (one at a time) and then called it a day.

The farrier comes tomorrow so that will take care of the comfort in her feet. I'll call Dr. Jim and set up an appointment and then we should be off and running!


Tina said...

Yay! I'm itchy lately to play with other horses, too. Dixie is getting to easy. You might be doing Parelli when you go looking for challenging horses to play with!

Lisa said...

I'm going to try making E part of my regular play. I think it will be good for her because she needs more attention than she's getting. It will be good for me to stretch my savvy. I think it may teach me somethings I can use with Cricket. It will also keep my sessions with Cricket shorter and fresher. And Becky's totally on board with it so it will be good all around.