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November 26, 2017: Horse Time: Part II

I was definitely on horse time today. I am not sure if this fits into the rubric, but my horse time began with my doing body awareness work. Yesterday I hurt my heel and it bothered me most of the night. This morning, I could hardly walk, so doing morning chores was a bit of a challenge. But after I did some proprioception-related exercises. The pain didn’t go away, but I was again able to walk. The most beneficial exercise involved rolling a tennis ball under my feet, though I am sure the other exercises also helped.

I headed outside at noon to do agility with Raudi and Hrimmi. I first rearranged some of the obstacles – the horses in the Advanced 1 star level (Raudi’s classification) and the Advanced level (Hrimmi’s classification) have to enter and back out of a box. My box has barrels on one side and rug remnants hanging on the other. I changed the entry point because Raudi balked at entering during our last practice. I also fastened down the tarp between the weave poles, and replaced the bucket with no handle with one with a handle.

Hrimmi first. She Followed me out of the pen, no halter, and trotted ahead of me, into the playground. I first did some autonomous off-lead work with her. She loves doing crunches, so I combined with this having her do carrot stretches. Crunches are X, her default activity. And the carrot stretches are Y, the new piece of the movement puzzle. Add to this Z, she was on a slope. She’s now so limber that she was able to touch the pool noodle from a variety of angles.

I put the halter on her and we did the November course. Hrimmi’s young, so her attention span is short. She did fairly well – this month’s toughest activity involves trotting to a supplement bucket lid and putting her left foot on it. She will trot to the lid, stop, and do this, but the movement isn’t yet fluid.

Hrimmi got edgy when asked to stand next to the mounting block. I was to pat her back for five seconds while she stood still. I knew then that she needed a break, and so did Pete who was doing the video work.

I next got Raudi out. She has a longer attention span than Hrimmi but is less eager to please than Hrimmi. She did a good job of putting her left foot on the bucket lid but not so good at backing through poles with me standing still. I’m not a big one for rope wiggling (the Natural Horsemanship belief that one should increase pressure until the horse does as asked, then gives in, is in my mind, a crock of shit) because the horse is being forced to do something. So I instead positioned myself so that Raudi’s backing distance was shorter. After three takes, we got a video that was suitable for submission and called it good.

Pete and I then ate lunch, and then we again attempted to video tape Hrimmi. This time, she did far better although she did noodle some.

Here’s the most amazing thing of all. Readers – take note. After the above sessions, we tacked up Hrimmi and Raudi and took to the trail. It was by now about 3:30 p.m. and the sun was low in the sky. I was concerned because Raudi and Hrimmi as of late have not been moving at the speed of light. I didn’t want to get caught in the dark. I figured that if this appeared to be the case that we’d forego doing Tin Can Trail.

The two horses started out slowly. But on the furthest part out on the trail Raudi picked up speed, as did Hrimmi. She started out at a trot, went to a canter, and then began galloping. We zig-zagged through the trees cutting the close corners really tight. Hrimmi, behind us, trotted and cantered.

Raudi and I did all of Siggi’s loop, about half a mile, without stopping.

When finally, we got to the base of Jim’s road, Pete and I dismounted, put Ryder on her leash, and walked alongside our horses. I let Raudi off lead and let her run on ahead. Then when she was about 100 yards in front of me, I laid on the ground and yelled her name. She turned around, trotted back to me, and stood next by my side as I pulled myself up by the stirrup.

I can only speculate as to why the horses were so forward today. I think it has to do with the fact my doing body awareness work on a consistent basis has made me more balanced. I also think that the agility and Intrinzen work has made the horses more agile and limber. Hrimmi in particular is moving more freely.

I always have other things to do. But I have no regrets about the fact those things don’t get done on those days when horse time becomes a priority. As today again verified, time spent working with Raudi and Hrimmi, both on-the-ground and in the saddle, is time well spent.

Next: 328. 11/27/17: So Many Forks, So Little Time

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