the entire course in short order, with no refusals and with considerable enthusiasm. This was why, after a bit, I suggested that we make Heather’s June video, which is due June 15. We did four takes, and in the end we had a respectable video. Rio will score high this month.
We decided to next have Heather ride Tinni and practice mounting and dismounting. You see, in December Heather in dismounting came off Rio at an odd angle and tweaked her knee so bad that she had to have surgery. Heather would want it known that this was not at all Rio’s fault. Immediately after the accident Rio stayed put, and then he allowed her to hang onto her mane as she limped back to the barn.
As we walked our mile loop, it occurred to me that I should integrate centered riding/body awareness into our mount/dismount exercise. And so, I had Heather use her soft eyes (peripheral vision), breathe into her breadbasket, and perhaps most importantly find her bubbling springs in the soles of her feet. I worked on these basics one at a time, adding a component to each dismount. By the time we were three quarters of the way around our loop, Heather was dismounting in a safe and confident manner.
All this would have been enough for one day. But Heather and I kept building upon what we knew. After lunch we agreed to yet another mount/dismount session with Rio. I distracted Rio when Heather mounted, using treats. We then went around the loop, this time the other way. The second time around I forgot to bring the mounting block, so we went around the loop without stopping, me leading Rio and holding the second set of reins very lightly.
And once back on the home front, Heather and I both mounted and dismounted Rio. I badly wanted to ride him, especially when I was on his back, but I didn’t offer to do this because I wanted the focus to remain on Heather and Rio. After all, the day’s events were their combined accomplishments.
The day was a huge triumph for Heather because Rio did so well, both during the agility and the mounting and dismounting exercises. At the same time this was a big triumph for Heather personally because she overcame the anxiety about dismounting that followed on the heels of her accident
And the day was a huge triumph for me because I was successfully able to assist a friend in a horse-related endeavor, while drawing upon my TTeam, agility, and centered riding training. I say successfully because the nice progression of events culminated in Heather’s having determined that she will soon be riding Rio again, perhaps the next time unassisted.
Next: 154. 6/11/15 Successes