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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 2 of Camp

As I write this first part of this post, I am sitting on the porch with Kara, overlooking the barn, the arena, the horses & the woods. We have both just eaten BLTs (Kara burnt the bacon *sad face*) and I am reflecting on this morning. I expect we will have a wonderful meeting once Brita has a moment to come up and sit with us.  Maybe I'll take a break for a moment and make myself a cup of tea...
It is about 11 am

Here is Day 2 of the "Back To The Herd" Course.

This morning I woke up at the 4th alarm clock. 4 out of 5. We decided to wake up at 5:30 and found out that there was no need to wake up at 5, and 5:30 would do just fine.
It was dark outside at first and as I strained to see Sharlie out in the pasture with Cherish, all I could see was shadows.

Once it was light enough I was able to see Sharlie pacing through the fog by the gate. At Mercy she is usually fed in the morning and she knew we were up and awake. However she was to be disappointed- feeding time is in the evening now.

"Don't be a dope at the end of the rope." -Pat Parelli

When it came time to finally head out I felt...confused for lack of better word. I caught Sharlie and led her around, allowing her to explore. But I couldn't place the uneasy feeling straight away. I sat down for a moment and looked on my leg. There was a tick. YAY!

Once I pulled it off and Germ-Xed the area, I felt much better. I noticed Kara walking out into the back field and so I followed. I was excited to take Sharlie out on the obstacles.
I was planning on following Kara because usually when we go for walks with the horses to the top of their hill, Kara & I talk about horse stuff that is hard to talk about over the computer or phone. I have always enjoyed those talks.
But I let Kara out of sight for a moment as I focused on Sharlie who was trying to eat a bramble. (Yea, my horse is smart like that) When I looked back up, Kara had disappeared. I felt insecure suddenly. I realized I had been following Kara around a bit since I arrived and so I knew she needed some time to herself. I scolded myself, finding my insecurities completely irrational. I know this place. There is no reason to be worried.
Maybe it was the fact that I had missed out on a chance to talk. But I knew Kara needed her alone time with Cherish and so I made the most of my alone time with Sharlie.

However Sharlie was completely focused on the grass. Usually she will pay attention to me, her ears on me even while she is grazing. Today, 100% about the grass. I quickly grew very frustrated. "Sharlie just leave the grass ALONE!" Kara still wasn't back and I didn't want to disturb Brita who seemed to be very in tune with Hope and I didn't want to ruin the connection. I didn't have anyone to ask for advice. I felt slightly helpless for a moment but then decided 'Fine, let her eat grass.' I took her over to the maze and let her graze in there, clearing away some of the plants so the maze was more of a maze and not a weed patch.

Proud Sharlie on the pedestal
What I noticed was is that I am ever so HEAVY with Sharlie. I watched Kara play with Cherish on the 22ft Savvy string and Sharlie & I on the 22ft regular line. The difference stunned me. That is something I will REALLY have to work on during camp. As I played with Sharlie my thoughts flickered now and then to other things such as Casper or Emily Larramore and possibly interning with her for a week or two. ( (This amazing opportunity was offered to me on Monday. Thus me not blogging about it yet)

We messed around with the other obstacles. My favorite was the pedestal. She climbed onto it almost immediately.
However then I noticed that bummed me out. Sharlie had a little stream of blood trickling down her back leg. It was probably a briar. Don't worry she is fine. Of course my horse would cut herself within the first morning of being outside.

Then we went back out to the obstacle course, ladida, it was all good fun. Sharlie slowly became less interested in the grass, but it was still very frustrating.

"What I think of me is none of my business." -Linda Parelli

I decided to try some liberty in the arena and finish off the session if it went well. I had recently read that a liberty session shouldn't be longer than 10 to 15 minutes when you are still beginning it. Sharlie and I are still in that stage.

I undid the halter with savvy and for a moment, Sharlie stood with me. But then she sort of drifted off...almost literally drifted. I however quickly got her attention back and then she was connected to me. It was amazing. I only picked up my energy a little bit and she picked up the trot and sort of half-circled around me. The first time she has offered to circle. I rewarded it by bringing my energy down and stopping. We sat still for a moment and then I asked her to back up by the tail. She was so light! I only had to hold a few hairs and she backed up nicely. If she keeps doing this well, the Liberty Audition will be easy! Then I led her over to the huge neon Smiley-Face Equi-Spirit ball Kara has. Sharlie actually kicked it! *jaw drops on the ground*
Brita & Hope to the left, Kara (bending over) and Cherish to the right.

I decided to end it there and put her back in the stall. But then I saw Kara & Brita take Hope & Cherish over to the pond and they happily went in. I wonder if Sharlie will be the same...?
I quickly pulled her out on the 22ft line and led her over to the water. The response was almost instant. She confidently walked and started pawing at the water, then lying down and rolling over and over and over and over! Oh my goodness it was the most wonderful I have ever seen! She was completely soaked and loved every minute of it. I have a feeling we will go swimming several times so I will get some pics then.

As I sit here now on the kitchen floor Kara and I are working on an outline for these 2 weeks. No, not a calendar, but an outline. Of our goals, what we learned, etc...After lunch Brita came up to sit with us and we had a lovely meeting. Lasting from 11 to about 1:30. Kara and I are now assigned the duty of figuring it all out. On one side I'm glad cause it will help organize my thoughts. At the other side I am a little intimidated. For Level 2 Freestyle we have SO much to cover and I know we can't do alot of the stuff on the self-assesment. And I mean alot.
Oh my gosh. I just watched a Level 3 Liberty Audition video @_@ Hahahahaaa...I can't do half that stuff!
It is now 3:30. (No I haven't been typing this the whole time)

I have my outline almost done. I'll have to edit it alot of course over the course of camp but hopefully I'll have it figured out by the end of this week.
Here is what I have now.

Back To The Herd (Julia)
  1. Level 3 Online Audition
1. Seven Games at a distance/higher level
2. Do everything from more of a distance/use the whole rope.
  1. Level 2 Freestyle Audition
A. Seven Games in the saddle.
    1. Walk/Trot/Backup transitions 
    2. Patterns!
    3. Lateral Flexion w/ Carrot Stick
    4. Indirect/Direct Rein
    5. Balance/Fluidity
  1. Balance
A. Chasing/telling story
  1. Comfort Zones
A. Branching out
B. What is in/out comfort zone?
  1. Level 3 Liberty Audition
A. 7 games 
B. Transitions
C. Drive/Draw without turning her off

Anyway Kara, Brita and I sat down for our meeting. We talked about schedules and goals. Here are mine.
- Become lighter. Refine phases. 
- Don't assume that Sharlie is always all about the grass. What if she is thinking about something else but I don't know about it? I am assuming and that is breaking Principle #2) 
- Find the balance between control and trust. I trust her at the wrong times and I control her at the wrong times. When I trust her at the wrong times and she takes advantage of that, I end up becoming more controlling and much less trusting. 
- Actually enjoy riding. I haven't enjoyed riding at all these last few months so that is something I really want to accomplish.
This evening I took Sharlie out to play and get her ready for Kara to ride her. I once again was assuming Sharlie was diving for grass so I was yanking at the lead rope. I scolded myself then I tried to go through the phases. My phases: start walking/bringing up my energy, cluck, gently tug on the rope, yank at the rope. The first time she moved by phase 3, the second time phase 2 and since then usually around phase 2 or 3. I am proud of myself and it is only the first step of self-improvement.

Watching Kara ride Sharlie gave me a whole new perspective. I always thought Sharlie was more Right Brain while riding, being tense and scared. When I was on the ground watching Kara & Sharlie, I saw the exact same behaviors but I saw them from the ground and thus I could see that Sharlie was EXTREME LBI while riding. It was always about the grass grass grass. She wasn't tense and scared, she was tense and argumentative.

Watching Kara trot Sharlie around I recognized what was a really nice trot. But some part of me was still afraid. I felt my body tense just watching her trot and I realized I have some serious confidence issues. That is something serious we have to work on.

 Sharlie's view from her stall
Tomorrow we are doing a "Listening to Your Horse" time where for a few hours in the morning we will spend undemanding time, following our horses around and observing them. Also some Mirror Me...but we mirror the horses!

Check out Kara's blog for her version of today, including riding Sharlie.

Goodnight Everyone,

1 comment:

  1. Julia - you didn't have to feel bad for feeling nervous, because everyone gets nervous, especially with something new. Don't feel bad about yourself - you hadn't been bothering me with being with me. That is truly the whole point of the camp. I typically go on a walk alone every morning - it's just a normal routine - but I also enjoy the company.