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February 9, 2018: My Horses, My Teachers

I’d envisioned myself as the horsey home-school teacher, a role that I needed to take seriously, otherwise my ponies would turn into hardheaded dunderhead brutes.

I will now freely admit that up until today, I’d gotten it wrong. I am the one who is in danger of turning into a hardheaded dunderhead brute. And the ponies are attempting to keep this from happening. Before homeschooling (and they know when class is going to begin), they get together and confer and talk with one another about what they are going to do with me.

I’m not a quick study. I’m willful, and have my own agenda. Today, I saw the light as it popped through the cloud cover. I can be a better student. Of this I am now sure.

I did my body awareness work this morning – it was a good session – I am learning to do less. This has taken some time because I have always been of the belief that more is better. The less I do, the more aware I am of my movements. And the more aware I am of my movements, the more meditative I become. The brain must be going into an alpha state at such times. And it’s working. It was starting to look like I was going to be a good candidate for rotator cuff surgery. But now I again have nearly full range of my arm and shoulder. I didn’t have much range before my fall, so this is really revelatory.

Anyhow, I felt good when, finally, I went out to interact with the horses. I first got Tyra out and put her bareback pad and body wrap on. Both help increase proprioception. She indicated to me that she did not want to do any one thing for very long, so we did a variety of things – panther walk, crunches, obstacle work. Then I picked up the yellow supplement lid and used it to guide her through the obstacles. I also clicked when she did as asked, then stepped back, behind the saddle before offering her the treat. The whole idea is to position ourselves on the ground in the same way that we would while in the saddle, and in this way, encouraging the horse to shift their weight to their hindquarters. “Finally,” Tyra said to me, “you are providing direction. How was I supposed to know where you wanted me to go previously?” And “oh yes, I will move forward and more freely if you are back behind my shoulder.”

Next Hrimmi – major revelations for me here. I did what I did with Tyra, and then I asked Hrimmi to do crunches. She obliged. Then I had an ahh haa moment. I went and got my ankle weights and had her do crunches with them on her back. “Well,” she said, “I suspect in time that you are going to want for me to do crunches under saddle. This is a very good idea because I will later be more aware of your expectations.”

Lastly, Raudi. Same as above, THEN I tried something very new. I put her bridle on her, and two sets of reins. I took the reins that were connected to her bit and tied them in a knot, above her withers, and took the reins that were connected to her headstall and took them in my hands. I then got on her and rode her around the obstacle course. This was way different for us both. But quite clearly, Raudi was communicating to me that she really appreciated the fact that I was for once not putting undue pressure on her mouth and using my body in riding her.

There was not enough time to work with Tinni because we had to head to town. I did clean his eye up and give him his slurpee.

I am indeed lucky, I thought. I have four of the best equine teachers, ever.

It is just too bad that so many feel that they, and they alone, are the teachers. And furthermore, many equate the terms “teaching” and “discipline.” Horses are quite capable of teaching us many things – if we allow for it.

Next: 41. 2/10/18: Our Own Olympics

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