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April 18, 2017: My incredible day

I am never, ever at a loss for words. But I am at a loss for words this evening. This is because I am overwhelmed by all that I have learned here at Hillcroft Stables and today being my biggest learning day thus far. I feel already like I am forgetting things – but I hope that I am internalizing at least a portion of what I am forgetting. Go hippocampus, go. All this in the midst of my figuring out my ever changing schedule.

Today I watched, taught, and took a lesson, and making the connection between the three. This is the framework of today’s dispatch. A woman who rides here and I were talking – talking about dog shelters and how they word dog placement ads. She said to me “stories are what pull them in.” That in itself was huge because

it validated my writerly belief, which is the importance of stories.

My story thus far – as this relates to what I learned today: Most important, there are the four basics of Centered Riding – breathing, soft eyes, alignment, and centering. And there is grounding and clear intent. Grounding and clear intent are related to the basics. The four basics and their implementation precede grounding. And clear intent follows. I was teaching all this backwards – examples of how I erred are now coming back to me.

I told Karol that I was having the hardest time with alignment, so we first worked on this – she was the unmounted student and I was the teacher. I was at first, in looking at her profile, stymied. Then I had a breakthrough, and this was to use felt sense. For instance, I realized that if my breathing was labored, that perhaps hers (or another student’s) might also be labored. Felt sense and the use of the basics – what I relief to understand that I as a teacher can build upon this knowledge.

I next worked with a student who was riding Raleigh, a school horse. I lunged her, which was something I had not done in years. Karol assisted me in working with her on her building blocks, beginning with assisting her in finding her bubbling springs. Karol showed me how to do this in a way that got the student to relax her leg without me asking the student to do this. This also lead to her starting to become aligned. We worked on developing the rhythm of posting, first at the walk. The defining moment came when the student asked to have her stirrups raised. Her asking was huge – what was even more significant was the fact that she knew that she’d be in better alignment if the stirrups were raised. Heck, I am not even cognizant of this.

Towards the day’s end, I rode Gabby and asked if I might be lunged. This was the best lesson I have ever had in my entire life. I have wanted to be lunged for years, but of course have not had access to someone who could give me an assist with this. The first day here I learned to lift my inside rein in making a turn and the self-purpose of using the inside rein, which is to keep the horse and rider from collapsing. Now in being lunged I rode with no reins – and with my arm high up as I could reach, so as to keep me from collapsing. At the same time, I focused my awareness on my outside leg and used this to keep the horse in balance. It at first seemed counter-intuitive, but once I realized that Gabby was not collapsing, it became less counter-intuitive.

Then came yet another connection: Raudi’s problem, of not being forward, has to do with the fact that I am encouraging her to be forward by nagging at her. My making myself more vertical, thus putting a greater emphasis on my building blocks, is going to change this situation.

It was hard for me to get up the energy to write this because I am tired and because my thoughts were so jumbled. But they are less jumbled now.
Tomorrow is going to be yet another big day. I am considering coming back here for a few days after the agility clinic.

Next; 109. 4/19/17: Internship: Rattled

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