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The Hazel Tree by Julia Debski

The Hazel Tree

by Julia Debski

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Workshop with Emily Larramore: Day 3 (Wednesday, June 6th)

Day 3 

Stolen from Emily

Wednesday started out well with Starbucks and Nutella bagels. The sun was shining and all was well in the world- or our little nook of it.

This morning was Casper's morning.
We started out once again with Watering Hole rituals but it was a lot more challenging than on Monday. He had gotten into a pattern of circling a lot before finally coming in to Say Hello to me, but once I tried to take him anywhere, he left again. Part of the reason he would stay out for such long periods of time was due to my energy, which was high and driving him onwards even though we wanted him to slow down and stop.

This went on for a while, with several attempts at interrupting the pattern. I even sat down for most of it, all in attempt to bring my energy down.
I think the good news is though is that I was aware that I was doing it. I was aware that my energy was high, I could feel it. I just couldn't bring it down. That is an improvement from last summer where I couldn't even get it up at all. (I think. Emily is probably going to chew me out for getting it wrong. jkk. :P)

Finally we were able to move onto the next Ritual: Leading from Behind. In Zone 4/5, I was able to drive Casper at a walk and trot, change directions, and do a figure 8. It was like dancing- a beginner's class for Broadway dancing. 

Mind blowing stuff. I mean MIND BLOWING!! That is Level 4 Liberty right there!! 

After that I haltered Casper again (I learned that I was doing it wrong. I wasn't haltering with a hug.) Emily played with him a bit while I went to go get the helmet and clip-on reins. 

When I had returned, she was playing the Circling game and found a pretty major hole in our game- he would not disengage. At all! At one point his feet were moving and working harder than his mind. At one point he even slipped and fell down! But because of that it got him thinking a bit more, so that he could prevent it happening again.

That was added to our homework list. No circling, then 10 laps of just walk straight. For a long time. LONG TIME.

Then I hopped on and we did some turning and changing of directions, using the steps before the reins very carefully. Once we were both comfortable with each other at a walk, I asked him to trot and something very interesting happened. He began to 'amble'. You know, a special gait- like a gaited horse. And you know what? It was SO smooth. I mean...amazingly smooth.

I always wondered if he had some Hackney Pony in him- he looks kind of like them- but Emily says that his gait looks more like a Paso Fino's gait!! Hmmm... how interesting. 

That was the first time he had done it for longer than a couple moments, and also he hadn't done it while I was riding before. I really enjoyed it so that is definitley something we are going to be trying to do more of in the future. 

Then Emily suggested something that I never would have thought of to be able to do this summer- even though I mentioned it as a hope for this summer last year- and that was to canter Casper bareback.
This also meant being able to stay on as Casper went into a faster trot before transitioning into a canter. The first few tries didn't work. Each time he would get to the brink, just there, JUST there, but I would usually pull him to a stop because I had lost my seat.
Then, by some miracle, we made it through that barrier and bam! 
We were cantering bareback for half way round the round pen. 
It was amazing. It was such a lovely smooth canter. I didn't even lose my seat at all. 
Just bloody amazing!!

After that we rewarded Casper with eating some lovely grain before returning to the field. So for a delicious morning:
- Zone 4/5 driving at liberty, at the walk and trot, changing direction and figure 8's!
- Cantering bareback!!

That photo above really applies!! ^^

I am so sore.

This afternoon was Sharlie's day! I was able to lead her to the round pen with just the Savvy String which was so cool! She only tried to eat 3 times, when usually its 5, 6, 7 times in the same walk.

She was already interested in me so that she followed me around a bit, without having to play Taking Territory (or at least the sending part) 

Emily encouraged me to do my own thing. So I tried doing some Zone 4/5 driving. I was able to make it to Zone 4 before Sharlie got unconfident. We also did a lot of draw- so Sharlie will almost always trot to me now when I draw her. 

So the next step is cantering at the draw! That is going to take a lot of work, and maybe a slightly larger area. Perhaps the pasture- on a down hill...on a really good day. :)

Emily played with Sharlie at liberty some more and worked on maintaining direction. 

Then we moved online.

Online we played some more with Sharlie lying down. We got SO close. She got down on her knees. Hopefully tomorrow she will go the rest of the way.

Something I wanted to learn was sideways towards me, but wasn't nessecarily set on working on it today. Emily said that it would be alright to do it with her. At first it seemed to confuse Sharlie a lot, and then she just... got it. At first it was one little leg cross over...then a bigger one. Then it was two steps, three steps... even away from the fence!

Ending on a good note on the ground, we moved onto riding. We actually stayed in the round pen this time but I wasn't as nervous as yesterday. Emily said that it was because she gave me other things to worry about- that included Carrot Stick riding and faster/slower gaits. I think it was also partly thanks to yesterday and sort of taking a small hammer and beginning to chip away at the brick wall barrier. And yesterday made a dent!

We mostly worked on staying on the dirt path that is along the edge of the round pen- pretty close to the fence, but not too close. (good way to desensitive me) and a million transitions. That was walk, trot, stop, back up, etc..., but also slow walk-fast walk-slow trot-fast trot.

When I asked Sharles to go into a faster trot, she got a really nasty look on her fact and would toss her head and balk a bit, so we had to work on one-rein stopping her each time she did it. Crazy thing was I didn't feel unsafe.

Sometimes I wonder if even though she was doing that, and I didn't feel unsafe or the need to get off, whether I am overconfident...they say listen to your instincts but what if your instincts are overshadowed by your joy at riding again?

I am not sure that even applies to me. I plan to talk to Emily about it tomorrow morning, because it may not even apply to me. It may not even be REAL!

We ended on a really nice note- some nice smooth trotting in the round pen before I dismounted and we played at liberty with Emily taking photos. 

Aren't they just GORGEOUS?? I hope Casper will make pretty faces tomorrow for her too! I'm not photogenic at all either so kudos to her for making me look decent. And yes, that really is the color of my hair! Fantastic, isn't it??

Also, I forgot to mention that Emily said that Sharlie needs her teeth floated because she is having trouble eating. THAT is why it is good to have people who know more about horses than you do out sometimes- they notice that stuff. I bet you no one else at the stables would have noticed, or mentioned anything to me!

Also found out that Casper's halter is an Arabian size, not Pony. We need to buy him a pony size!

So today was our second and last full day. It was so much fun and we made a lot of progress.
-Sideways towards, Online
- Sideways away, Liberty
- Zone 4 driving
- Trotting confidently in the round pen.

Beautiful Arabian. My chesnut angel.

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