We were out working up and down along the drive, one of the few places we have here that is level. I use it for Weaving, Figure Eight's, Falling Leaf and some of the other more complicated Patterns when we're warming up. Later we go out into the fields where it's all hills and valleys, holes, dips and rocks. Keeps us all fit.
We were up next to the dumpster playing games (it's one of his 'humpy monsters') when this huge truck comes up the drive. Now Lucky's an old veteran of trail rides, so he wasn't too concerned, but he was fascinated. We turned in behind the truck and played Approach and Retreat up the drive, following behind as the driver turned in at the house.
Last week the Foreman of the team that were going to be working on our curvy gravel road had stopped by to ask if I wanted the dirt from the grading they were going to do. Talk about synchronicity! Just the weekend before John and I had been going over our meager budget, trying to figure out how to afford to have some dirt hauled out to our place to fill in the back of the dry lot where the rains from the past two years have caused some erosion. I love it when things work out like that.
The driver of the truck was a young woman I'd met last year. She knew I had horses and wanted to ask about the dirt before she dropped it off. It had a lot of rocks in it. I showed her what I wanted to use it for and she agreed that it wouldn't be useful if it had too many rocks in it. She took it on up the road to the next place and will bring the not so lumpy loads to me. She watched in her back mirrors while I played with Lucky down the drive as she drove in. I even played some Sideways down the side of the truck, just little steps, while we talked. I arced him around us while we talked dirt and rocks, trucks and horses. It was an interesting morning with another opportunity to give out one of my little pieces of paper that had Parelli.com written on them. (She'd asked about what I was doing...how she could learn and would I teach her.) You never know where the seeds will sprout or the ideas will find the opportunity to grow.
But that's not what I wanted to tell you about today. It was supposed to be a story about Apache, my Left Brained Extrovert, and John (a Left Brained Introvert and my husband). John is working with Apache now. He took over when I told him I was having a hard time keeping up with both of our complicated horses. He's fully committed too, reading books, doing research and watching videos. He and Apache had their first completely on their own adventure yesterday.
He told me he was going in to the living room to sit down and read the new book that just came, a book by Dr. Miller, DVM, about Natural Horsemanship. When he looked out the kitchen window, Apache was standing there staring at him from the paddock, waiting. He set the book down and answered the call by going to get him and take him on their first Walk About...just like that!
He and Apache stopped at the door to my downstairs study to knock and show me what they were doing. Talk about surprise! I opened the door and there was my big, beautiful seal bay Curly looking at me and John standing next to him with a huge smile on his face because they were out on their own without me and Lucky! Huge step for both of them! Best thing was that it was working too. Apache had been pretty nervous without being able to see me or Lucky, at least up until yesterday. But, in that way that horses have, he was confident because John was confident. Working together for three months while they learned the Games and built the relationship helped too. John had set themselves up for success by taking the time that it takes.
I stood there and watched from the little stoop next to the door as the two of them took off across the pasture in to uncharted territories, walking and playing through the long grass, up over the terraced hills. Apache walked with John, head down, ears following John. They looked like they'd been out walking those fields for years together, like it was old home week and they were just out for a stroll. I saw so many of the Qualities, Keys, Responsibilities and Principals going on between the two of them, it would be hard to write them all down. Maybe the best one to describe them would be #5, Qualities of a Horseman... "Attitude and Focus. Positive, Progressive and Natural." The two of them together were a walking, living, breathing example of everything we've been working so hard to learn and practice.
I let them be. Lucky and I went out on our own journey, with Willow following us. When we all came back to the barn after dark, the lead between John and Apache had no tension in it at all. They are partners now and I am one proud 'Mom'!
I know I keep saying this, but it just doesn't get any better than that!
Nancy, smiling so big it makes my cheeks hurt!