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July 17, 2017: The Playground of Higher Learning

Today Pete finished putting fencing on the outside perimeter of the Playground of Higher Learning. He also put a gate up. This gives the horses boundaries – they are now unable to leave the playground and so must stay inside when we are interacting with one another.

I say interacting – because they do have a say in the matter. If I notice that they are getting bored I will take them back to their pen.

Today was a momentous day in the playground. I now have a philosophical basis for what I’m doing and I am going to adhere to this. It is that I am training while going under the assumption that

the horses are learning in an intrinsic fashion. They are doing what they are doing because this is what they want to do. I am not forcing any of them (while in this space) to do anything. I’m not using rope halters or a round pen. I am using a clicker and treats.

I came to the above conclusion today, after working with Raudi, Hrimmi, and Tyra. I did not get out for a ride – I spent the morning studying my nutrition class notes and writing up Chapter Four of my Bones for Life manual. Then I cleaned the goat pen and picked some plants and herbs to dry. They are for the horses.

There wasn’t time to ride when I was done with all this. Still, I decided to do some agility. I first worked with Raudi, off and on lead. She did so well with the July course that I wrapped it up early with her. I next did Hrimmi, and she too did well. I did things a bit differently with Tyra – and this was when I fully grasped what intrinsic learning is all about.

We went through the agility course at a walk. She did just fine. Then we did it without a halter. She did really well – it was like I could see the wheels in her brain going around. Her attention would waver and then she’d resume work.

I next worked with her on saddling up – she had to stand by the mounting block while I did this. It was really hard for her. She kept wanting to be close to me so that she could get treats. I worked at stepping back and having her wait for them. I realized that she’s not comfortable yet with me tightening the saddle girth – a good thing to know. If she was tied to the hitching post she would have had no say in the matter. I want her to have some say in the matter.

I gave her breaks, went to get treats. Each time, her focus was renewed.

Then, finally, I had her stand by the mounting block while I got on her. This was without a bridle or reins. It was so amazing. She did several obstacles – she really liked going through the curtain and the flag poles. It was almost as if my thinking about what I was doing – exhibiting clear intent – enabled her to get from point a to point b.

I am thinking that it would be really something, if I can train her to do as I ask with little or no reliance on the reins. And what I learned, and will continue to learn, from her will serve me in good stead in working with Raudi.

The Bones for Life training – this is making me more body aware. Great things can come of all I have been studying. I am really very glad to have the playground – it is the board on which I am placing the puzzle pieces. (This last statement is an ahh haa moment.)

Next: 195. 7/18/17: Time and Time Again

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