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May 3, 2017: So much depends upon . . .

William Carlos William’s red wheelbarrow. I thought of this poem today as I was doing my lesson. It was windy, so lessons were cancelled. I figured that I would instead do agility with Gabby. I did do the arena groundwork lesson with Gabby, and it went quite well. I am starting to figure out how to position my body in relation to a horse’s body. I started going into the corner of the arena, and Gabby trotted to where I was, repeatedly. Way fun. I also worked her over and around obstacles – I found poles, barrels, a floaty toy tarp, and jump stands. She did seem to enjoy the work.

Then I had another groundwork lesson with Karol. This, I realized, is a very opportune thing because most lessons are on horseback. And here, the lessons are a

half hour apiece so there is not time for the groundwork training to the extent that I have, with Karol, been doing it.

We started out doing a horse and rider lesson, using a bridle, with her being the horse and me being the rider, then reversing the roles. I got what she was getting at when I was the horse, which was to be soft and consistent with my cues. She even had me doing side passes. I thought that my being the rider would be easy, but I found it quite difficult. Karol wasn’t sure what to do about my not getting this, but then we had the same idea at the same time. This was to have me be the rider while pushing the wheelbarrow.

This proved to be the ticket. She first had me push the wheelbarrow the way I usually ride a horse – I noted that my shoulders were slumped and that I was indeed pushing with considerable effort. Next, Karol began offering directives – some being to stand up straight, hold the handles from underneath gently, tip the barrel up when making an inside turn (so as to prevent collapse), and to breathe.

We actually did this for over an hour. In a short while I was pushing the wheel barrow FORWARD rather than pulling it BACKWARDS. I stopped every so often and centered myself. While walking, I could see where this would be easily transferable to riding. This exercise also complemented two others that we did in the house previously – the first being me walking around the living room with a child’s plastic pyramid on my head. We did this exercise for twenty minutes. I had also done this at the agility clinic – I had the riders walk around with small arena cones on their head.

This was much like a Bones for Life exercise, one in which we walked around with turbans on our heads, made from sheets. Same principle. Same result. This creates new neural pathways in which we create new movement options. Made total sense to me.

I also (one evening) walked around while holding a tray with a ball on it – this, as did the wheelbarrow handles, kept my hands steady and even.

I will not know what I internalized until I externalize it, which is when I ride my own horses.

But what a great idea – to do these exercises – I would like for them to be a part of my regular riding program.

Next: 124. 5/4/17: This Charmed life of Mine

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