I'm back...somewhat. We've had a bit of a glitch here in our computers. John's laptop had the LCD go out in the same week the desktop fell apart. We've jury rigged the laptop to the moniter and the tower is in the shop being analyzed. You should see the mess of wires! Things are snaking everywhere. The things we do to keep things going here.
We're in the use it once, use it twice and use it once again category...then take it apart and use it all over again. It's not a bad place to be actually, and keeps us stretching in creative ways we might not otherwise. It's a pretty tiny bump in the road. I put it in the "small stuff" category.
Speaking of bumps... Lucky and I have been playing every evening. The weather has been gorgeous here. It's been in the sixties or seventies everyday, so we're using it up and then some. He's been frisky too. I love it when the temperature's drop. It's so much easier on the horses, and us too for that matter.
I decided to take the idea of colored strings and levels out of my thinking and it's working! I go out with ideas about what we can do and think, at the same time, "Oh boy!" . He loves that! I swaney. I think horses must be psychic!
Since his Circle has been kind of crunched and dented, I decided not to do any circles at all...unless he offered. He's a Left Brained Introvert, so he loves a reason to do something and straight lines. Add in cool, Autumn grasses to munch while we listen to the "silence between the notes" and we've got something much closer to being a winner for motivation.
I think I'm beginning to get the idea of how to get into his head. He only tried to grass dive twice this evening and that was more like a habit than something he was serious about, maybe because he knew we were heading for an even nicer clump of grass?
We did all kinds of walk/stop transitions, walk/gait transitions (note to self: do research on how to begin to ask for each gait separately. He has three I've counted, so far.) and even some canter. Canter does not come easily to Lucky, so I was pretty excited when he offered it! I think that was a nice little breakthrough for us.
He's still not real keen on jumping barrels, but the cavaletti is acceptable. Guess the barrels look too imposing yet. No worries. I'll just keep making the space he goes through smaller and smaller. He has found out that they move, oh my. He pushed one of the barrels clear across the arena with these loud "BONK...BONK...BONK's". I wasn't about to stop him. I think both of us were laughing the whole time. I love it when his eyes get a twinkle in them.
We did do some Figure Eight's, Falling Leaf and Weaving on the way back to the barn. We're practicing all kinds of partial Circles when we do that, so I don't think his Circle is completely broken. It's just badly bruised. It needs to go through all of it's color changes (Black and blue to green and yellow, then a nice healthy pink) before we do more OFFICIAL CIRCLES. You'll have to imagine a kind of deep echoing voice saying that.
I've also gone back to the Round Corral with him twice because he wanted to. He took me there on his walk abouts. We didn't do anything inside. I sat on a box in the middle and let him be each time until he came to me with a soft face and asked a question. The first time it took nearly 40 minutes, lots of tension and pacing, nervous sweat and standing there looking like a board. The second time it took less than 25 minutes with some tension that he relieved with rolling in the sand.
Even if we don't use it as anything else, maybe the Round Corral will end up being a kind of therapy for him, to help him deal with whatever horror he relives when he's in there.
I was very careful not to go in with him unless his face was soft and he was willing. It really surprised me when he took me there. I need to think about that. Maybe he knows he needs to face it? I think I'm putting people thoughts into it, but I'm willing to go there when he wants to and to stay away otherwise. It's going to be fascinating to see what happens. Watching him work this out will be something we'll have to do for many years, I think. We'll take as many teeny, tiny steps as we need to.
I learned about the THREE LAWS this week. 1. Put the relationship first. 2. Foundation before specialization. 3. Never ending self improvement. It goes up on my board as soon as I have a way to print it out. In the meantime we'll keep working on that together, Lucky and I.
I remain yours, Nancy...smiling at you from Oz in the Autumn