me and Hrimmi being out front. This worked really well – Hrimmi followed right behind me. This got me to thinking that she might end up being a horse that enjoys being out in front. I also got to thinking that perhaps I should take her for more woods walks. I do want to neckline drive her soon. And, this got me to thinking that this was a sign that both Pete and I are flexible individuals, for we did not persist at ponying Hrimmi when it appeared that this would be somewhat difficult. Instead, we came up with an alternative.
At 2:30 p.m. Dick came over with Jokla. The day’s lesson was a bit more freewheeling than usual because while I had some things planned, I didn’t have a whole lot planned. I didn’t sleep well last night, so I was tired. We first went over Deb Bennet’s bone fusion schedule, which is her chart in which she indicates the time at which the ends of horses’ bone growth plates fuse. I’d previously misplaced that TTeam newsletter that contained this information – oh oh – but found it in a book as Dick and Pete were having a (political) values exchange. I took this article and my large animal anatomy book, and together Dick and I identified the bones and when they fused. The range was from birth to six years, the bones in the spinal column being the last to fuse.
This conversation opened the door in terms of our talking about how Jokla’s training ought to progress. Dick sounded like he’s going to be more judicious/cautious in his riding habits. I think that our talking about the fusion schedule and looking at a 2-D skeleton made him more cautionary. This was huge. How many instructors do this in working with their riding students? I don’t know of any.
We then headed outside. I did some body work on Jokla. Dick was eager to use the new hoof pick that he won at the trail trials show. I showed him how to circle the hooves before setting them down. He was receptive to this and as well to my putting body wraps on Jokla’s hocks, which had previously seemed a bit ouchy. I also showed him some other balance-related body work.
I then deferred to Pete to help with saddle fit. Both Pete and Dick put several saddles on Jokla’s back and talked about the merits of each one. Dick finally opted to first try using Pete’s Synergist saddle. We also elected to loosen Jokla’s bitless bridle – Jokla had previously been shaking her head –this was her way of saying that it was too tight. I did not say that horses hold onto pain-related memories because this would have resulted in more indecision. I instead waited to see what would happen.
I moved our horses into the shelter pen so Dick and Jokla could use the pen as an arena. Dick got on Jokla using our new mounting block. The energy spiral was downward the entire time. The pair (I am happy to say) did better and better and better. And after that, even better. Jokla began walking in an increasingly more relaxed fashion and repeatedly stretched out her neck. (I was going to say reached for the bit, but I can’t say this because a bitless bridle does not have a bit.) Dick, Pete, and I all thought that the bitless bridle was the problem. It was one of those times when things just went better and better. Had it been earlier, I think that we might even have continued. But it was dusk, so we finally called it good. Amazing, utterly amazing, I thought, that I could make a difference.
I’m really pleased with how today’s lesson went. I’m feeling like I internalized what I’ve learned and today, externalized it. It is fortuitous that Dick is an avid learner and has and remains receptive to print based knowledge. I do not know anyone else (yet) who is doing things the way that I’m doing them.
Field of Dreams Farm. I can live with the cliché because it fits. I also decided that when this materializes, that I will rename my website Field Notes. Today I told Pete about my proposed idea. He said upon hearing this that I ought to go to California and get Centered Riding certification. Imagine that. So I am going to do this, this spring. And tonight we were eating dinner and talking about horses and Pete intimated that someday we most likely get a fourth horse.
I would be the first to concede that we’d have to have more pasturage/a larger place before considering this. This is because right now, our three horses are happy being in one another’s company. They never ever kick, squeal, or bicker, and seem to be very companionable. Tinni likes being with his mares. And Raudi likes having a younger mare around. And Hrimmi likes having an older gelding and a young mare to interact with. So I really don’t want to, ahem, upset the apple cart.
More horsey doings tomorrow. We are most likely going to a pack horse clinic at the Saddle Up arena. Dick and Jokla will be there. Who knows? I might even ride her.
Next: 52. 2/21/15: Turning the Seasonal Corner