Raudi has been more inclined to want to be with her herd mates when in unfamiliar settings. She’s also gotten away from me when tired, or after longer workouts. This happened at Beth’s, the CTR site, and yesterday, at Will and Mimi’s place.
I do know this: Others might not think so, but I did the right thing yesterday in leaving the clinic site when I did. This is because I knew that the mindset of those who were there to assist me was such that they would not have worked with me, and spent a few minutes thinking things through. Their thought was that Raudi was jerking my chain, and needed to be taught not to do this.
My mindset was different. Horses don’t jerk people’s chains. Raudi did what she did in order to get to what she perceived as being in a less stressful space, mentally and physically. I’ve read that quite often, horses will do something once but not a second time because the memory of their first experience then comes to the forefront of their consciousness. I also saw the clinic structure as being hierarchical. It was one of those instances in which the “teacher” tells the “student” what to do because it’s assumed that the student is there to take in given information. It’s Paulo Friere’s banking model of education. This comes from his book The Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
Problem was that I, the student, momentary drew a blank when Raudi ran off. If I had post insight I would have done things differently. My initial instinct was dead on, but I could not articulate what to do when presented with the teacher’s option, which was to put a rope halter on Raudi and “school” her.
Hindsight – going back in time is now an impossibility. But what I figured out since the incident will be valuable the next time around. Pete said that I ought to have stayed put on Raudi. Correct, had I been assured that it would have been okay for the clinician to focus his attention on me. As it was, he had a handful of students who needed tending to. It was inopportune for him to then leave me. So I got off Raudi and worked with her from there.
My best option would have been to have Pete and Vicki retrieve Tinni and Hrimmi and stand with the pair in the center of the field. Vicki did go and get Hunar, but Raudi does not see her as a herd mate.
Had she acted out, we then would have known that being herd bound was not the issue. Some might say that Raudi would not have learned anything had we done this. My response would be that the lesson would have then continued because we’d found a way of reducing her anxiety level.
The other option was to do what I did do and am going to continue to do – take Raudi out alone and conclude our rides by catching up with Tinni and Hrimmi.
I’m also now conceding that the problem is not exclusively that of the horse. I was, when I got on Raudi, extremely anxious. The previous day’s lesson took place in the afternoon – I’d gone riding beforehand, and before mounting up, sat and watched the other horses. We would have had a better time of it had I done some yoga and visualization exercises. The next time, I’ll allow for this.
Lastly, I’m going to continue to take Raudi to Beth’s place because I think she likes it. But for now, no more competitions or clinics. She and I have both been working hard, and we will do better in the future by taking a break, she resting up for our next adventure, and me continuing to reflect upon my actions.
Next: 206. 7/29/14: The Best Any of Us Can Do