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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 6 of Camp

Day 6 of Back To The Herd

So, I have inserted alot of quotes today simply because I haven't for the last couple of posts! Its time to catch up! :P
I am also inserting photos from yesterday. It took me about 20 minutes per photo to load up so please be grateful for what I was able to upload any at all. Remember. THESE ARE FROM YESTERDAY!

Circling with 'excitement', happiness and intrigue

I woke up this morning fairly easily. I actually took time to do my hair rather than just brush my teeth while running a hand through my curly red mess. When I came downstairs I ate some cereal (which tasted stale. Mom the cereal went bad!) and 2 Nutella sandwiches (Mom they have Nutella!!!! WE NEED SOME!)
While Kara was sleeping/drowning in the shower (I'm 100% serious.) I went outside. For the first time, it was chilly. I mean, it should be normal for it to be that way at 6:30 in the morning but still it took me by surprise.

“Don’t kill the freshness and desire to please in your horse. Don’t lose your own sense of humor or make what you are doing look like work. Don’t take yourself too seriously.” Dominique Barbier

Linda said once (I think in the Liberty and Horse Behaviour DVDs) to take notice of when your horse first sees you. I remembered this this morning and decided to watch Sharlie to see when she would see me. She was with me as I was opening the door. 

Later, when Kara finally got out of the shower we went to go get the pedestal and moved it to the arena so I could use it in my Liberty Audition (thank you!) I decided to play on the 22ft Feather Line to see if it would remind me to stay light. Plus it was very difficult for me to go to Phase 4 on the feather line so I couldn't get frustrated. Sharlie HAD to respond by early Phase 3 and she usually did by Phase 2 if not Phase 1. (The 22ft Parelli Feather Line is now on my wishlist!)

“Horsemanship is difficult because it requires that we work on ourselves.” Buck Brannaman
I did focus on the pedestal this morning. Kara, Brita and I moved it out of the back field and into the arena. Sharlie was already very confident with getting two feet up onto it but I asked her "Can you stand with your hind legs on it and stay there?" and when she did that a few times I asked her "Can you stand on the pedestal with all 4 feet and stay there?' It took her a while to figure it out and I ended up having to try and mold the ground to fit the pedestal so it wouldn't move so much.
When she finally got all 4 feet on and stayed there I felt so proud and joyful. I did the Friendly Game, starting out with Level 1 stuff and going all the way to level 4. That included Helicopter and slapping the ground hard 6 times from Zone 5. I even crawled under her belly, sat there for a moment, then crawled out That is the first time I have ever done that.
In total she probably stood there for about 15 minutes before i took her over to the water trough for a quick drink before going and trying again. Also I quickly popped out to get some treats! *wiggles eyebrows mischievously*
“With animals …, we cannot simulate confidence; their power of perception is as nature made it, simple unambiguous, and very acute.” Henry Wynmalen

She had a hard time grasping what I was asking her, even though it was the same thing. All she could think of was the smell of treats coming from my pockets. But I didn't get frustrated. It was impossible on the feather line. It was like a line that fed Sharlie and I each other's emotions. I could feel she was just confused and was asking me for guidance. How could I get mad at that?
She was able to get onto the pedestal with all 4 legs 3 more times. Each time I gave her a cookie after she stood on there at least 5 seconds. Then if she was able to stay on for 5 seconds, she would stay on instead of rush off.
Trotting with happiness, calm and intrigue. Sharlie is rounding her neck, has  lots of slack in the rope and is listening to me intently.

“If a person prepares ahead of time,

then he has lots of time to get the job done. But if you wait until the last moment, sometimes it’s too late.” Ray Hunt

I had one cookie left and I wanted to try a little bit of sideways. What astounded me is that as we passed the barrel Sharlie stopped beside it and took one step sideways. Did she read my mind? My wishful thinking? Maybe...but the point is she went sideways over a barrel! For the first time ever!
“Let the horse leave at the pace they want, they will come home at the speed you want.” Cowboy Wisdom

I decided to try and ride this morning. I didn't know why. But I did. Sharlie's top line has become much much worse while she has been here (as you can probably tell from the photos.) So I adjusted the shims to fit her new and needy back and then knelt down to attach her reins. I stayed there for a bit after Sharlie had lowered her head to attach the reins. I gently stroked the reins, applying slight pressure till Sharlie's nose was almost touching the ground.  "A horse is only as tall as the tips of his ears when his nose is touching the ground." was what came to mind when this happened. I tried to preserve this calm as I led her over to the fence to mount. I got on, did lateral flexion 3 times on each side till it was soft. Then I got off. That took her by surprise! We walked forward a bit then I did it again. But I didn't get off. (I know you are supposed to mount/dismount 3 times but it was starting to get hot.) Sharlie was still calm and wasn't tense. 
But then the unexpected happened.
Ever since my run in (literally) with the round corral fencing last summer, I have had some confidence issues when the horse gets too close. As I asked Sharlie to flex one more time- toward the fence- she moved to where my stirrup brushed the fence. I felt every muscle in my body tense as I had a mini panic attack. I tried to turn her toward the fence but she just changed direction and my other stirrup brushed the fence. I was hyperventilation and so tense that if I had been on the ground, I would have been curled into a little ball and no one would be able to get me out of that little ball because my muscles were so tense. 
Had I lost the calmness and relaxation?
Surprisingly no. Sharlie was holding her breath but once I relaxed back into my seat and core, she let out that breath and we were okay again. I don't know why but thats just the way it was. 
We played some simple stuff in the arena, including the pedestal. She got on all 4 feet! I tried sideways and that failed but she did a tiny little step before becoming frustrated. Good girl!
I asked Kara to watch me while I trotted a bit to tell me where I was tense so I could focus on whatever needed to be fixed.
Turns out my hips locked, thus I bounced. I completely dropped the reins (trusting Sharlie to stay trotting/no sharp turns/find a blade of grass she just needed to have...) and she didn't take advantage of that. Maybe went a bit faster than I wanted but I was focusing on moving my arms, shoulders and hips to her rhythm. 
What do we do now Mom?

“ this modern world where machines and scientific inventions multiply unceasingly, the horse can have an important role. He is the ideal companion for man, who loves him and finds in his company something rarefied and transcendent.” Nuno Oliveira
Unhaltering with Savvy

After a few attempts at trot I left the arena and let Sharlie graze beside Cherish who had Kara perched on her in her yoga position...completely relaxed and balanced. We watched as Brita trotted Hope around the pasture and we pointed out how at certain times she was relaxed and Hope lowered her head, and where Hope had tension (like in her neck) because Brita had tension there. Then as she came back toward us we saw something amazing. She trotted Hope and Hope had her head so low it was almost touching the ground. That is amazing!

So to sum up riding- Fluidity will come slowly but surely. Maybe it will be possible for the audition...we will see.
To sum up liberty- I think I'm just going to do a "wing it" session tomorrow and ask Kara to film the whole thing. Who knows, maybe it will turn out wonderful and I can use it as an Audition! But I'm just hoping to see what needs work that I haven't noticed.
"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."-T.S. Eliot
Addressing what I mentioned the other day about me being RBI (mild). I would have disagreed before I came here but this lovely place has made me so aware of myself. Because of this I have realized that I still hold emotions in, I still try and please people with a quiet obedience and when have too much pressure put on me, I explode. (Example: The Grave Realization moment.) Now I plan to go and read the Humanality Report to find out more about myself. Time to experiment!
“Consistency is the tool of learning, yet variety is the spice of life. Too much consistency is too boring. Too much variety is inconsistent.” – Richard Winter

On another separate note I am working on a secret project concerning Kara. I won't say anything yet. Its a secret. (In case you didn't get that) and also I will post about the possibility of me interning with Emily Larramore once I know more, which will probably be after camp.
Interesting shot. Trying to get Sharlie to turn to me. 
On a final note, I wish to tell you about an odd experience that occurred three times now. The other day as I was standing in the entrance to the stall with my back to Sharlie and talking to Kara, Sharlie gave me a nip on the arm. This was after a good play session so I didn't get mad. In fact...I felt much calmer after she did. It wasn't dominant and it wasn't right brain...

Then this morning as I was putting Cherish in the stall I was happy and excited but when Cherish made a move to bite Sharlie I yelled "No! Stop!" in anger. It was on her blind side and she wouldn't have seen it coming! Cherish then swung her head around to me and nipped me right between my ribs, near the bottom of the rib cage. This is where "Moving Emotions" are held. Here is Kara's definition.

Moving Emotion (Upper Abdomen)
This emotion area takes emotions and either sends them down to your lower abdomen or up to your upper chest. This is ultimately where you can decide whether your emotions are to become trapped or real. 

After Cherish had nipped me and we were back up at the house I started feeling like dancing around the room, giggling at the shadows on the ceiling. (No I was not high!) Kara pointed out that once Cherish had nipped me there, all these happy emotions were flowing out of me...almost like she pressed a button to release them. 
I thought back. When Sharlie had nipped me I had been buzzing with energy. Then after she nipped me I felt calm. Like she had flicked a switch...
Then this evening as Kara was cleaning out Finale's stall and I stood in the doorway, I was talking about Mercy Stables, how they weren't taking any more boarders and it was nicer with not as many different people. (Too hard to keep up with who's car is who!) but then I started ranting about something that had happened in the past. Finale lipped my leg as if to remind me "Hey, watch your emotions!" 
As she did that I felt the anger and frustration from the past dissipate and happiness and calm replace it.
“There are two things in riding, techique and soul. The soul part is what we have nearly lost today and must put back.” Mestre Nuno Oliveria

Tomorrow we are going for another trail ride, of course if its not too muddy. Then I am going to "wing it" my liberty audition (Take 1!) lol

Goodnight Everyone,

PS- I love Mercy Stables. In case that wasn't clear.

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