So I just saw the perfect saddle on ebay for $1200 less that it costs to buy it new...a Parelli saddle too, my size and Lucky's size. Whew. Sometimes it's hard to show self control. It was the color I wanted, the style, the full monty. I watched the seconds tick down and felt the adrenalin come up. I love auctions, and there I was sitting this one out. Fardles! C'est la vie. I'm taking the time it takes, but sometimes that isn't the easy choice.
But the up side is that yesterday and today were wonderful! Lucky calls to me now, even from the back of his pasture. And I never have to go out to get him anymore either. He comes in, foxtrotting all the way, ready to play! HUGE!
He talks too. He's probably the most verbal horse I've ever known. He nickers, whinnies, mmm hmmm mmm's, to me and to his herd too. He's the alpha in his group...one of those quiet but insistent types. He rarely uses force, just waits for Apache and Willow to follow. He's the best example I've seen of what I've been taught about how to assume leadership. Horses teach humans and humans teach horses. Funny how that works!
I do my best to be his leader, trying to "be like Lucky". I think I'm getting there too. His excitement when I show up is an indication of how he feels. Horses never lie. (and that's why I didn't BID on the saddle. I would have had to use a charge card. I'm trying not to spend money I don't have. Doing that would be "lying" to myself. Horses teach humans and humans teach horses.)
Yesterday we worked on being very light together. I want him to really, REALLY want to play with me, so the lighter the better. The more I do for him, the more enthusiastic he is. Even in the early morning heat and humidity, he was ready to rock! We flowed from one thing to another, focusing on Sideways (sidepass), Moving Circles that flowed into Sideways and back again, Weaving that moved into Figure Eight's and back again and then back to Sideways.
His rewards (pressure motivates, release teaches) were the stops in between when he ate grass and, of course, the stop itself. I'd set it up so that all of the places we ended a game were right on top of silky, green grass. I thought maybe that would feed into his need to have a purpose for everything (he's a classic Left Brain Introvert). Foxtrotters were bred to be trail and work horses in hilly terrains. Everything we have here is on hills, so he's loving all of it. And so am I.
For all of you KU alums, I know you remember being in school and having to walk up or down hills to all your classes. We all had awesome legs by the end of our time at school, didn't we? Well, working out here with my horses is the same thing. Our part of Kansas is in the East where it's all hills. He fits and, now, so do I. We're getting fit together.
Our breakthroughs yesterday were when Lucky was able to play Sideways through the barn doors and up a hill. He did it very smoothly and without his usual tension. That was a red letter day for both of us! Sideways isn't easy for him, being gaited. And he's been building himself up physically too after having been sick. He's strong enough now that his Sideways wasn't taxing up the hill. His legs didn't get tangled either. HUGE...HUGE...HUGE!
When I gave him destinations for his Traveling Circles (ie. green grass going down a trail into his OUTSIDE pasture), they made sense to him and he just sailed through them. Easiest it's ever been! (And I'm still thinking about that saddle. But, bareback this year and saddle next year. Patience is...)
We ended after about 40 minutes because I didn't want to go monkey brained and push. He was having so much fun, seemed like a good time to stop while he was wanting more. (Qualities of a horseman, #7. Timing)
This morning was a Walk About day. He came to me, nickering all the way. "Heeeellllooo Ma!" And then off we went, him leading and my arm over his back. I love doing that. I never know where he's going to take me.Today we went to the back of a field, towards the East, and down a hill that's been kind of scary for him before. It goes down into the trees. Monsters live in forests, from his point of view. He was a bit tense, but he was also leading so I went with him. He stopped part way down, listened, looked around then looked at me. I stood quietly and said "It's up to you, Big Kahuna." His head came down a bit and he sighed, just a little, but it was to scary for him. We went back up the hill and into the sunshine.
Whew! He stopped about twenty feet into his field, sighed and then yawned. We walked another fifty feet or so and then he just had to stop and roll. After we dumped adrenalin, we walked back up to the barn, past it and around the back of the house where the really good grass is, under the oak, in the shade.
When he got thirsty, we turned around and walked back to his barn for a drink (I always fill water buckets before we leave. Nothing like cool, clean water on a hot day to take us home again.).
I love going on adventures with him taking us there. Today it was on the ground and at an easy pace. Perfect way to start the day!
Feels like Qualities of a horseman, #1. Heart and Desire. to me!
Funny how that works out.
I remain your horse crazy, liberal humanist, tree hugging artist smiling at you from the land of OZ...Nancy
PS. Y'all come back now!