Flowing with Flow

The fatmare has been lonely without me! I’ve been busy with several other projects so the new horse, Flow, has been a bit on the backburner. I’ve played around with her some but nothing more than hanging out, grooming her, playing at liberty or going for a walk. She seems to love the attention! Here’s a quick video of her meeting the 2 year old Flutter for the first time so check that out:

Tada…She’s Here!

She’s Here!

The Lippy (Maggie for the time being) got here late Wednesday night. I was a bit worried about the big 18-wheeler horse hauler being able to turn around in our driveway. They ended up pulling along the shoulder of the road (yikes! I was thinking) to unload her.

So now we had a dark road plus a blown light fuse in the horse compartment with a dash of  a young horse that never been off-loaded before. It was not the best combination. A couple of minutes later, with flashlights lighting up the ramp, she came right down in a calm manner.

We said a quick hello then walked down the very dark driveway to the barn. She was great and the other horses welcomed her with lots of whinnying and running the fence line!  When we got in the barn, I put her in a stall and listened to Flutter (the yearling colt) run and neigh. His new love had arrived!

I put some hay out with my other mare (Aspen) and put Maggie in the field with her. After a few squeals and kicks they settled in.

Today I wanted to get some pictures of her but it wasn’t easy as she is a very friendly and curious lady! You’ll see that most are close-up as she wanted to be right with me. I can’t wait to start working with her. Tomorrow we begin…

Check Out That Mane!

Just Waiting…

English: Lipizzaner stallion, performance Schö...

Dancing White Horses

I’ve been waiting and waiting for the new girl to get here. She is coming from Wisconsin so that’s about 950 miles. I had a hard time finding a horse hauler so weeks have gone by but the good news is she is coming on Wednesday!!

I plan to throughly document working with her. The best part is she is almost four years old and has basically been out in a herd for  years. That means that she has had very little training. Some might see this as a negative but not me. I will start her using my own method, which I call Dancing with the Divine.

Since she is a Lipizzan horse, she will fit the bill for the divine. I can’t wait to dance with her!

Lesson Seventeen – Letting Go and Feeling Great!

Nootka ready for greener pastures

Nootka is off to new green pastures. She walked right on her new owner’s horse trailer and stood there looking back at us as we closed the door as if to say, “Hurry up! I’ve got places to go and horses to see!” I think it really shocked her new owner how easily she loaded on the trailer.

I’m usually terrible at good-byes but this time I felt good. I was surprised that Nootka and I seemed to be so clear and happy at her transitioning to a new home. I know I’ll see her again at a horse show or somewhere and it will be so good to say, “Hi friend! – How’s the teaching going?”

My other mare, Aspen, did whinny for her several times but then went back to grazing. By the next day she seemed different too. When Nootka was with her she bossed her around and her life was controlled. Nootka was like you stand there and if Aspen didn’t want to, Nootka would chase her or kick at her until she was where Nootka wanted her. It reminded me of a boss I once had 😉

Now, Aspen is very relaxed and seems more engaged. She has been a delight to ride and even decided to show me that she still has her fancy dressage self in there!

For me it was so wonderful to feel good about letting something go. Try it today…let go of a belief or object or a limiting thought…just let it go.

Lesson Fourteen – The Beauty of ‘Feel’

The levade.

Dressage - the Classic 'Levade'

Riding well requires something that horsefolks refer to as ‘feel’. It’s when you know how to ask the horse to do something or react to what the horse is doing in an intuitive way. ‘Feel’ becomes a conversation between rider and horse. Often, it can turn into a beautiful dance.

There are many riding instructors that try to teach people how to develop feel. I’ve watched dvds that break training horses or how to ride into small chunks using a step-by-step program. It’s good to have the security of developing those practical skills in linear format but horses, like life, are not linear.

I got to see a good example of that over the weekend. I had two different riders on Nootka. The first was a professional dressage rider that has trained and ridden the higher levels of dressage. The other was an amateur, who has ridden off and on for many years.

The first rider got on Nootka and immediately started the conversation politely and then began asking Nootka for more to see where her training level was. When Nootka didn’t know what she was asking or couldn’t hold it for long physically, the rider backed off and tried something she could do. In a matter of fifteen minutes or so, Nootka was gaining more confidence and was engaged in the ‘conversation’.

The second rider was more tentative. She wasn’t sure what to ask Nootka to do so she walked around to gain her own confidence. When she decided to trot, Nootka said, “yes, ma’am” and threw the rider a bit off-balance. This conversation was more trial and error and required more regrouping. The first rider offered suggestions on what to do to the second rider and helped guide this conversation to several good moments of partnership.

In my ‘old’ career I felt like the years of gaining knowledge and good old-fashioned experiences helped me develop a great deal of ‘feel’. It was such a good feeling to know the answers and be super confident in the work. I liked it! Now, I feel like the second rider on Nootka. I feel like the start-up is much more trial and error and that I have to repeatedly regroup and think of things differently. It’s not a linear step-by-step process. It often doesn’t look pretty.

Could the lesson be….Trial and error along with creative thinking will lead to creation of beauty?