All Change…

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Unpacked and staying!

Dan re shod him. Bud and I have been doing ground work and pre-ride routines and I have been re discovering the joys of ‘Passenger’ rides  – in the ‘safe environment’ of the field – letting self drift with him and in the process finding my childhood somehow again – after I got over feeling like a Nelly and wondering what the folk on the bus thought – it became a  mindful – meditative – process – as  pony poo picking up is to Yoga – and  was cathartic, both he and I were very restful – I suppose I should say at this point he was tacked up, and I did have my hat on, and I did hold the neck strap, and make sure he didn’t step in his reins 🙂 – so it wasn’t quite like going back to my childhood of hopping on the nearest moorland pony and disappearing for the day!

I have been reading the Tao Of Equus Linda Kohanov- which is not an easy read – but IS well worth the effort- and the combo of that, and the unease I have been feeling about taking Bud to the yard – leaving my two ponies at home – suddenly erupted beyond me being shy and became a definite ‘No he is staying here and we will all stay together!’ Equally, I suddenly decided to ask Dan my Farrier to repad and shoe Rufus – both ponies came through the winter extraordinarily fat – both are usually lean fellows – I am not looking to ride Flax but if I did he rides barefoot anyway – Rufe does not.

I found myself once again cleaning kit and washing soft horse furnishings and literally getting the cobwebs and birds nests out of the corner of the barn where such things hang.

It is obviously MY FAULT that the heavens have opened and most horse related activity in the land has ceased 🙁

What ever comes next I do not know…

But I take advice from many folks that if you  always get what you have always got- by doing X – then do something else.

So I tossed my to do list, and my time table, and my aims and goals, and thought about why I want to ride – and what I want for them – I ride to feel free – but I have stumbled with them at times, and the upshot has been Rufe and Flax are now ‘Evergreen’ and field bound  – OK – it is one of several fields, and they have a view , and they are a long way from forgotten dopes on a rope under a bridge – but really? May be my riding activity is as much about them being free as me – where as before I tended to think

‘ Well it is me that wants to go for the ride…’

I am not sure that was ever all there was to it  – they never once refused to go, and they are always keen to move fields, always queued up to see what is happening  – I know plenty of folk do have the problem of horses being herd bound/barn sour or nappy – mine never were – but even so they become more confident together than apart  – if it isn’t part of their day – and it hasn’t been.

My ponies were  forest born wild, and born free…

Rather like Linda in her book I have had this feeling that ‘something is wrong’ but have dismissed it thinking that it is largely me – feeling guilty for not being able to carry on their ‘training’ to a higher level,  or because they are chubby or  because Rufus gets sweet itch and Flax needs me to be a better leader than I am – but actually I think that what is wrong, is that they feel trapped, and left out, and I can feel that – and after reading ALL of Linda’s book  -I am prepared to give it more credence as a possibility than I was doing before.

I was very interested in her comments on emotional congruency and how important it is- and I realised that this doesn’t just apply to Buddy and I – ie me putting on a Happy Face which he knows is false and then wondering why he is jumpy! This was also an issue with Flax –  where as Rufe is stallion like in his ability to ignore my forcefield, and is confident enough in himself not to worry – if I am there physically that is enough for him – but the other two ask for the whole me and the real me – mad, bad or happy – as long as I am not pretending.

I had a brief session with a friend’s horse back in the spring and she commented that I was looking beyond the horse and out of the arena  all the time – and she was right – in an attempt to take pressure off the horse I looked to the horizon – in that case outside the school – and then thought about my problems  or what a nice day it was – the disconnect  from her old mare on my rope was immediate. With Buddy I noticed last week that when he is trying to canter on line if I look to the horizon he bends to the outside and finds it hard to strike off – if my focus is ahead of him but on the line of the circle he has little trouble maintaining bend and gait and strikes off comfortably enough, for him.

When riding – I am thinking I may also do this a legacy from riding  the older horses that I have had for years – OK with Bud – until there is a sudden lack of confidence ,caused by lack of regular riding, failing to top up his innate common sense – but if there is  -then there is a ‘turn around and run’ potential – till I snap out of it enough to give him a lead either in the saddle or on foot – until of course last Autumn when I got exasperated while standing by him waiting for some sheep to pass-  and he turned around and ran from ME – leaving me face down on the ground… and him lucky to be found ‘uninjured’ – our relationship has taken time to rebuild and is still doing so…

IN Flax’s case it used to be that he would try and get behind me or on top of me which was only noticeable when I rode out alone – it is my guess now it was the same thing – I was thinking over the horizon ‘not looking at the spook’ but over doing it to the point where he felt my absence dangerously, I was then getting scared, and looking away even more  -and getting cross with my self , and frustrated with myself at not being able to make him understand me – silly now I think about it of course – he doesn’t have to understand me he just has to trust me and for that I have to be genuine and present – congruent in what I am asking and what I am doing and feeling.

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Flax May 2014 day before The Long Ride Home In Tears…

So  There Is Much To Think About…

AS for Rufus? The little wise one  is beginning to resemble the Laughing Budda statue and it will be good to wander where we will again …:)

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Long Ride To Be Free….

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