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March 2, 2018: The Horse Life: The Fifth Wheel

As depressed as I might get (and sometimes I get really depressed, dangerously so) interacting with the horses makes life seem good again. Not great, but good. Good is great. And for this I am grateful. I do not value my life to the degree that I am told that I should, but I also don’t disparage it. It is what it is.

I also get to feeling depressed about the fact that no one around here sees that the means in which I have chosen to interact with the horses is really cutting edge. This is actually getting less important as time goes on. I now every so often remind myself that the incredible things that are occurring are in and of themselves quite wonderful and also revelatory.

Lots of ahh haa moments today, on Tinni, Tyra, Hrimmi, and Raudi’s part, and on my part. It started out with my doing some carrot stretches with Tinni. He is very cautious and will only put his two front feet on the mat. This is a start, a way of reducing his tension patterns. We then did carrot stretches. After, I got out my fat tire(d) bicycle we went for a ride around the loop. This was the first time since last fall that I’d done this. He enjoyed himself and we both got a bit of a workout.

Flowers from Bill

Next, Pete rode Hrimmi and I put on my running shoes and Tyra and I accompanied him. I divided my time between working with Pete and Hrimmi and Tyra. This was fortuitous in that I was able to give Tyra breaks. She still has a short attention span. She loves the activities, but can only do so much for so long. So she would amble off for a while, and I’d spend time with Pete and Hrimmi. Pete and I worked on her rear leg movement; this involved our both paying attention to the movement of his and her hips. I, who was on the ground, could see her stride lengthen. Like Tyra, Hrimmi was at times a study in concentration.

Tyra would return and I’d then resume working with her, mainly on doing the panther walk. She now is able to engage her abdomen and raise her back muscles, while lowering her head. This is going to serve her in good stead when I resume riding her.

At home, more Intrinzen work with Tyra first, then Hrimmi. Then I decided to take Hrimmi for a bicycle ride. She had never done this before. However, she was very willing and enjoyed the outing.

Lastly, I took Raudi for a bicycle ride. Raudi did well because she’s my well trained horse. I was able to say “go around” when she was on the right hand side of my bicycle – and she then went behind the bike, back to the left side. As did the others, she had moments when she was fully engaged – she was on the upper road, a good distance to the left of me, moving at a nice, even trot. I trained Tyra to do this in the Playground – but I need to do more of this with Hrimmi.

I want to further develop all the horses’ trots – and this is a great way of going about it.

Now here is the revelation, and it is HUGE. I am now thinking that most who ride regularly, equate riding with movement, and movement with conditioning. Riding needs to be de-emphasized. More time needs to be spent encouraging off-the-horse movement, and in a more autonomous fashion. Lunging isn’t an autonomous activity. It is forced movement, which negates what we should be attempting to do, which is to enable the horse to own its own movement. And round penning isn’t an autonomous activity. It is pressured movement, which negates what we should be attempting to do, which is enable the horse to own its own movement.

I have been taking Tyra out on the trail and letting her run around, and taking her bicycling with me. She’s now very fit, very energetic (in a non-reactive way), and in this respect is the way an Icelandic horse should be. I now am thinking that I need to do more off-the-horse movement activities with all the horses. Bicycling (for us) works really well. This way, I’ll better strengthen their backs without their having to deal with my weight and balance constraints.

This is my way. There are (I am sure) other ways. Being creative is key. I know that Bernie Willis was using a four-wheeler to exercise his horses. I now think that this isn’t such a bad idea. However, it is limiting in that the rider doesn’t get any exercise. Also, there is no human/horse give and take.

A good day was had by all, and we are all looking forward to tomorrow.

Next: 62. 3/3/18: The Horse Life: Snow Day

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