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April 13, 2017: Internship: Day #2

And so I am now on a roll. Got myself situated here at Hillcroft Farm – I know the routine and am adapting to it. Got up at 6:00 a.m., talked with Karol for a while and then hoofed it down to barn where the farm owned horses live. I then spent the morning helping with stall cleaning. Twenty-five or so horses live in these stalls – some of them, like Marnie, are very large. Marnie is 18 hands. Big horses piss and poop a great deal. It took three hours with three of us working companionably to get all clean and lime the stalls and the put sawdust down.

I decided that my job involved loading sawdust into the wheelbarrow and then spreading the sawdust in the stalls. The horses were very well behaved – none

attempted to mow me down or walk past me, as they used to do at Katie and Bill Long’s place. And in fact, some, like Lulu and Gabby, were fairly loving.

As I worked, I wondered why I came all this way to do this because I could have found a barn with these sorts of chores closer to home. Amazingly, my question was answered in fairly quick order. This is the only place I could find where the focus in teaching and learning is on Centered Riding.

In the afternoon my thoughts as to why I was here dissipated completely. I had yet another lesson, and again rode Gabby. Gabby is so much like our horses that it seems unreal. We went over yesterday’s lesson, which was mostly about using the inside rein for a turn, then Sally, my teacher, started giving me pointers as to how to sit the trot. Gabby did rush at the near midpoint of my lesson and I got sort of unhinged. But I internalized what Sally said, which was to find and maintain my center of balance. I tend to fall into a crouch when I get fearful – or am back too far. Raising the inside rein also corrects this. All in all, a good lesson. Sally is very encouraging.

Then, unexpectedly, Sally asked me if I wanted to teach Emily. Yesterday I watched Sally teach her. With more bravado than I had, I said yes. So I worked with Emily for a half hour on breathing and soft eyes. I didn’t say as much about breathing as I wished because I am still not clear how I might teach it. I again muddled along, focusing on seeing the color of the inhale and the exhale breath.

After, lots of talk about my lesson and about the lesson that I watched. Lots of talk. I think of the instructors I’ve had who haven’t wanted to provide me with the feedback. This talk is really, really good – I am learning a lot. For instance, Karol and I talked about picking up where the student left off the last time, by beginning and asking them what their thoughts on this matter might be.

Being here I will only become a better instructor. It would be impossible to get worse – too much support and encouragement. Tomorrow, more of the same, which will be a good thing.

Next: 104. 4/14/17: Ancestral Memory

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