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May 27, 2017: Moving Forward: If Wishes were Horses

What a day. What a most amazing day. It might be one that I will remember in that I resumed (not that I stopped) moving forward. Or, I continued to move forward. I do not know yet. Right now, I feel good about the present and the future.

Today Pete and I went to Arctic Arrow farm in order to audit a clinic taught by Steiner, an Icelandic horse trainer and the co-founder of the Intrinzen program. Roughly defined, it’s the use of positive reinforcement training in working with people and Icelandic horses. I nearly didn’t go because I have his Intrinzen book. Turned out to be the absolute best thing I could have done.

Claudia and Katla

Pete and I arrived 10-ish and saw him working in Bernie’s arena. I knew in thirty seconds that this fellow was (as my neighbor Jim would say) the real deal. He was doing ground work, having the riders lead their horses and offering them suggestions. It was difficult to hear what he was saying, but I caught a lot in watching his gestures, and this right there says a great deal.

Steiner was using his own body, and in this respect he was having the riders and the horses “mirror” his behavior. I watched as the horse owners, over the course of 45 minutes, became more enlivened, less tense. More in alignment, as Steiner, in voice, manner, and posture, brought about this change. There were no commands and no dictates. Rather, it was all about heart and soul.

Steiner at times walked next to the riders, and without thinking about it, they matched their stride to his. And the horses matched their strides to those of the riders and instructor. The energy level of all involved became a steady state.

I would like to have seen the riders smile more because the changes were cause for celebration.

At one point Steiner did the Bones for Life springy step, and so did those of us outside the arena. This too was amazing; those of us outside of the arena were starting to imitate him. I got really excited and could hardly contain myself. I found myself telling those next to me as to what I was seeing – it was of course based on the training that I’ve had.

Over the course of the morning, I came to understand something that had previously eluded me. I was told at the Vermont Centered riding update clinic that I needed to be more “body aware.” What I am now thinking was that my instructors wanted to me, like Steiner, to use my physical self with more eloquence and grace, so that my students might mirror my behavior. I’m not there yet. But watching Steiner gave me the impetus to set a schedule and do my Bones for Life work. I must, I must, I must.

Pete and I talked with Steiner after dinner, and he said that he wasn’t really doing Intrinzen work here. I replied that I thought he was in the morning lessons in that there was a focus on the use of positive reinforcement. He did not use the clicker though some of the students did. So, this means that he does more of the sort of work that I saw him do earlier.

I’m back to thinking really big again. I badly want to hop on the Intrinzen bandwagon and in a big way for this would complement my TTeam, Centered Riding, Bones for Life/Feldenkrais, Positive Reinforcement training. Maybe it is not a matter of hopping on a bandwagon but attaching another train car to an existent series of trains.

I would like to propose doing an internship with the Intrinzen program and while in the area, talk about the things that I might do that might further promote this program. For instance, I could write about Intrinzen. Or I could compile a bibliography on positive reinforcement training. Or I could assist in putting together training manuals/classes.

Steiner is coming over here on Tuesday and giving Pete and me private lessons. This is going to work well for us because we will get individual attention. I am eager for him to meet all our horses, but especially Tyra, who is so eager to please.

Next: 146. 5/28/17: Stormy on the Horizon

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