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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 3 of Camp

Day 3 of Back To The Herd

This morning was...slow. And I was tired. I was rather slow as to getting it together but once I brushed my teeth I was a bit more awake. I was first out to the barn so I was able to do Sharlie's medicine before Kara had caught Cherish.

Kara and I then went on a lovely long walk. We didn't go far but the horses grazed a lot and we talked a lot. I loved it, as usual. We were probably out there for 2 and a half hours. Beautiful. And we saw deer, and a turtle! (And as we all know, that made my day there and then.) Something I really learned and improved on during the walk is finding the balance between trust and control. I copied Kara in the sense that I just held the very end of the 22ft lead rope and trusted her not to get tangled up and to pay enough attention to me as she grazed not to let me hit the end of the rope as I walked. It was great. I interchanged between leading in Zone 1 and when the grass got really tall and I wanted Sharlie to clear a path, I went and drove her from Zone 4/5. It was amazing!

"Simple things please simple minds, while the other fools look on."

When we got back we had decided to do the 'listening to the horse' thing where we can mirror our horses or follow them around in Zone 5 or both. While Hope and Cherish could graze at liberty in the pasture Sharlie and I only had the choice of the arena or the empty field. Arena would mean no grass (for the most part) and she would probably move around a lot and maybe even expect me to do something. I wanted her to eat for some of the time because it was more natural and I was hoping she would do as she did that morning when I went to go catch her and follow me around a bit, maybe even go for a walk. So I opted for the field. I tried to keep her interested after I unclipped the halter but she was only interested in the grass. We didn't move more than a few inches in over 20 minutes. I found myself very distracted. I was chasing grasshopers, trying to count the flies, thinking of random thoughts like cheese. 
I saw that Hope & Cherish were moving around now and then, actually giving Brita & Kara something to pay attention to and mirror. I quickly grew frustrated and thought "What if I just keep the leadrope on and let her graze near Hope & Cherish. She will walk around just like them! 
Same thing as before. 
I found myself focusing on my stomach ache which caused the pain to seem to magnify. 
I saw Kara draped across Cherish's back now and decided to try a passenger lesson like her. (It was still within the rules)
This helped a bit. I really tried relaxing but it was hard because she was STILL eating and I had to MAKE her walk, and it only was a tiny little step, no real effort.
I left it at that. 

"The dynamics of horsemanship can be obtained naturally through communication, understanding and psychology. In contrast is normal horsemanship, which is sometimes obtained through mechanics, fear, and intimidation."

During the day I napped. Not on purpose but I was exhausted (its catching up to me now. Everyone else is asleep but I'm wide awake)
I did get the chance to read some of my Horsenality and Match Report when I woke up. I hadn't printed off the Humanality yet but I knew it had assessed me as a mild RBI. Before today I disagreed somewhat but reading the match report I realized it to be true. But more on that in the next few posts.

"One ounce in the rein, two ounces in the leg, 4 ounces in the stick....... and a TON of effort in the mind."

After it started getting cooler Kara, Brita & I went out to have our balance lesson. Well Brita and I had a balance lesson, Kara taught it. I know I have terrible balance and that its a big step so that Sharlie & I can make progress with riding. Kara helped me loosen up, stand on a barrel, balance on my stomach on a barrel, etc...some pretty fun stuff that I should do more of. 
Then it came time to mount Sharlie. I made a point to stay balanced. Sharlie was very good about it. She walked around slowly, checking stuff out. Kara pointed out I had tension in my shoulders and upper back. But only when we were moving. At the stand still I was for the most part completely relaxed.
After alot of walking around and some awesome point to point (Sharlie was paying attention to where I was focusing) I decided I wanted to try trotting. Worst mistake ever.
I instantly tensed up. I actually felt myself tense up. I tried to loosen up but I couldn't. Then when I tried walking again, I couldn't regain that balance and fluidity anymore. Not even at the stop! It was all shot.
We then rode out of the the arena and I probably shouldn't have. It was a constant battle for the grass and I got so mad at Sharlie...ugh.
Then when I got off after becoming unbearably mad I tried to end things on a good note by doing a bit of circling game. She usually will go into the canter pretty nicely, but she just refused.
"Okay" I thought, she is just sweaty. Lets go to the pond. Its not dark yet. I took her over to the pond and suggested she go in. She basically flipped me off with her expression. I then put her up, feeling frustrated, hurt, angry, depressed and negative.
I then talked to Kara about it (who had fallen off of Finale that evening) and we talked about persisting and not stopping when we really should. It had happened before and I knew I should have. But its in the past now so I just have to change my outlook from negative to positive.

"There are only two emotions that belong on the saddle; One is a sense of humor, and the other is patience." -- John Lyons 

On a side note, I want to address anyone who may be concerned that I have become focused on these Auditions and not on the relationship, don't worry. I have Kara and Brita watching over me and I am much more aware of what I am doing here than I would if I was doing the same thing at Mercy. I realized that at Mercy the relationship wasn't being put first so I know I need to pay attention to make sure I don't fall back into old habits.
If I were to intern with Emily for a week or two, I would hope to go with a new blue string. Not because of the status, or that I need to achieve levels in order to feel better about myself. But I know from experience from when I got my red string- yes it did make me feel like I had achieved something finally after a year of flailing around like a fish out of water- but it boosted my confidence, my imagination, my feel, my listening, my senses....everything. It was like a major boost in everything positively important.
It is almost like an addictive craving but its important that one works for it. If I can pass Level 2 Freestyle, it would show me that despite all the crap and all the flailing around for almost 3 years...we have made some progress, if only a little. It will be a while for us to reach Level 3 Freestyle, probably not till next summer (Do the Audition at Kara's next year too. But seriously I don't think Mercy is the right environment for someone with my confidence issues to do Freestyle. But you have to live with what you get.) But I have to accept the fact now I may not get to do the Freestyle audition.

"A horse is the projection of people's dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence" -- Pam Brown 

Tomorrow we are going for a lovely trailride which I am looking forward to and I am going to start focusing to Level 3 Online & Liberty. I know those are possible if I put the relationship first.

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