and synaptic clefts and the like. I also have a pretty good idea as to how nerve impulses are generated.
Today is indicative of the fact that I am making the instructor/rider connection. Raudi and I did really well together, but in part this has to be attributed to my near obsessive, no call it obsessive focus on body awareness training – right now the Feldenkrais work and the internal martial arts training. This though, is just partially it.
Pete and I got the horses out fairly early this morning. We’d planned to go out for a short ride, but Raudi indicated to me that she wanted to keep on going when we got to the Mud Pit/Lower Loop Trail cutoff. I had to be at the Saddle Up arena at 1 p.m. so I was sort of pressed for time. But I agreed with Raudi that we should keep going, which was what we all did.
We went about a half-mile further than planned. At one point I dropped Tinni’s line and had to retrieve it. I did this by backing Raudi around him, so I could grab it. And this is what I did. She backed and sidepassed. On the ride home, Raudi and Tinni walked at a fast pace but there was no feeding off one another, as in you go fast and I will go fast and you go faster and I will go faster. Rather, both horses ambled along contentedly.
Several times, all three horses (Little Hrimmi included) snorted softly. And so did I.
No agility today, instead I headed for the arena. Quite the crowd showed up – all people I know well – the Lemays, Claudia and Frank Sihler, Heather Ashe, her son Rio, and Dick Stoffel. All brought their TRAIL horses. All the horses were energetic and in good health.
I had a plan, sort of. This is because it’s really hard to have a plan when you have seven trail riders and seven horses, two of whom are thinking about their babies back at the trailer. So I divided us into two groups – first had the females work with Claudia who does clicker training, and the males work with me and Kenzie, one of the Lemay kids. I asked the guys to ride together, but oh no, they jumped around like crickets, as did their horses, and began working on going over and around individual obstacles. So I bounced around like a ping-pong ball, going from one rider to the next. I was all over the map – I did not go into depth with anyone about anything, except clear intent – telling riders “Tell your horse what do – be specific, and he will do it!” Once again, I got looks of disbelief. But heck, it worked.
Claudia and I then changed groups. I was equally at loose ends in working with the gals. Claudia’s horse Giff was really wound up – I encouraged Claudia to continue to work with her on trotting – “Just let her go!” I said. And Heather’s horse Rio was a tad bit anxious. With Heather and Tyler, her son and secondary rider, I too did some shakedown exercises. And with Renee, I told her that in time, her very young horse Rowdy will move – that her long pauses are just related to inexperience.
Today I determined that I will continue to praise people for doing something minimally, that is if it something that they need to be doing more of. For instance, I at one point yelled out “Claudia, I like how you are sliding when you are cantering.” Sure enough, she accentuated this movement.
My first realization was that there have been many important realizations, this being because I am putting myself out there by instructing whenever I get the chance. My next realization is that the more people you have riding, the less overall improvement you’ll see, or should I say, the less expected overall improvement, meaning hat that people will, on their own, do things they would not do if given individual instruction.
Next realization – trusting the basics – soft eyes, breathing, centering, alignment, grounding, and clear intent – works. I don’t have to give riders a dozen orders, just one at a time.
Next realization – I can get along with just about everyone if I go with the proverbial flow. Some might think they know if all, so I no longer try to convince them otherwise.
Next realization – I need more instructor-related feedbacks. Update clinics are useful, but in and of themselves are not enough. I need to work with someone who knows more than I do. Clear intent – build it and they will come.
Next: 17. 1/17/16: A Conversation with (disgruntled) Raudhetta