Today has been eventful and I feel like I haven’t stopped but some major positives to take away.
Normal morning work followed by some teaching. Very happy with the progress made this morning and by ‘taking the time it takes’ Hannah and Prince are coming along very well. Hannah is not getting flustered and ending up in panic zone and her growing ability to notice when things are troubling her and address the feeling she has is helping Prince to keep his cool and trust her judgment more. She is also doing well with Ciscero who is starting to test her boundaries. By standing her ground, being certain of where her personal space lies and the consequences for pushing through her space, in a consistent way, both ponies know the ground rules and respect her more for it. Although she had to put her foot down with them both at some point in the session, they both followed her around at the end of the session when all tack and head collars were taken off. When they could so easily have left they saw her as a safe and pleasant energy to be around and wanted to be with her. Showing her that putting her foot down (in a calm manner, the way your Mom can give you a look and you know your pushing the limits) won’t make the horses want to leave her. Also shown in the ridden work we did as they both responded willingly and softly to requests. I think possibly a little milestone for them all this week and I very much look forward to seeing them again next time.
Then a quick drive back to the yard for mine and Buddy’s first hack in company since moving yards. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Buddy and knowing his worst fear response usually comes out if he is at the back of the ride I took him in the lead. And then chaos…. one horse hadn’t been out in some time and the rider decided it was best for her to dismount and lead him until he had settled a little and she could get back on further in to the ride, when we all moved in to a driveway to let a big lorry come past she ended up with her foot trodden on (no fault here of rider or horse I believe, just one of those unfortunate things). So her and another rider decided to turn back to home (we hadn’t gotten that far yet and this seemed the best option for them) Then the next horse in the group didn’t want her friend to leave (one of the two heading back) so she had little choice but to go back with them. In the confusion myself and the other rider left waited a few moments to see if rider three was going to try to come back to rejoin us to continue the hack, and while we waited for a few seconds her horse decided he would head back to the yard with the others. Buddy was then upset that everyone had left him so I had little choice but to head back too. I knew trying to continue alone would not end happily. The others were already some distance ahead by this time with rider fours horse trotting/cantering to catch them up ignoring his riders requests to slow down. Buddy was anxious to catch up as quickly as possible but I knew if I didn’t keep him steady it would most certainly be enough to unsettle the others further. So I had to find that balance between showing Buddy we are catching up with the others and won’t be left behind completely, but not going too quickly and losing control over the situation. I was thankful of having my stirrups today and the unmoving seat that the month of NoStirrups has given me!
Once all back at the yard myself and rider 4 decided to try again and managed to go out for a short ride, the others deciding to school as it wasn’t typical behaviour for their horses and trying to go back out with all of us again was a recipe for disaster. Our little hack then took us past the DONKEYS!!! These are very curious and scary beasts. I wonder if Buddy is seeing fire breathing dragons? I dismounted to try to give him a little more confidence from the ground and then one of the donkey’s brayed… well that sent Buddy up in to panic until the lady with the donkeys lead them away from the fence line. We made it past fairly calmly then and I mounted again and continued back home.
Over the course of the day I’ve been battling a headache that’s been threatening to take hold. It was a dull fuzzy feeling this morning and I’m certain the majority of my headaches and migraines have a lot to do with body imbalances elsewhere. So while driving to the lesson this morning and while teaching I’ve put just a small area of my consciousness to work on listening to the feelings in my shoulder. On the drive home (paused at some lights) I found a way of rolling my shoulder up and back, actually concentrating while I was doing it on where my thumb was facing, and *BIG POP* then shoulder feels like it’s actually a lot closer to the right place! Combining that with the leftyness of my torso, drop of my right hip, and forwardness of my right lower leg, I found over the last week or so through Pilates and schooling, I felt super straight when riding, and felt like I didn’t budge an inch in the saddle through all of Buddy’s little strops. So in the midst of the ‘chaos’ the driving back and forth, the unsettled hack, and all the time leaving that little part of mind working on the shoulder feelings…. and I realised my headache/fuzziness had gone! Yippee! Also despite him needing a couple of firm reminders about being polite, I was quite impressed with Buddy’s behaviour. I had actually expected a lot worse but he was there with me even though he was stressed by the others leaving and even in his panic moment with the donkeys he didn’t go far.
My day today could’ve been looked at negatively – woke up with a headache, bursting for the loo after teaching, rushed to get out on a ride which didn’t work out the way we planned and even the ride I did do which Buddy and I have done alone several times now, had tension and panic and buddy having a strop. Tired hungry and ready for bed.
Or Positively – organisational challenge to fit everything in, started with a headache but managed to find a fix for that and a new body feeling at the same time, security of my seat tested by Buddy’s antics (nice confidence boost), Buddy’s antics much less than expected, had some time to chat with yardies. I’ll surely sleep well tonight!
So I urge you next time you have a day where it seems like there is only chaos, it’s been one thing after another and you’ve barely had time to stop. Take a moment at the end of the day to look back and recall all the positive pieces you can.