Thursday, December 7, 2006

Practice Makes Perfect


Well, practice makes "better" anyway. Is anything ever really perfect? There is always room for improvement. But the practicing can be lots of fun!

Lakota is doing so well, I'm very proud of her. What a smart mare, she is really learning fast considering she was only just started at the age of 10. I don't think it wouldn't have gone this well if I hadn't spent so much time on groundwork.

This past weekend, we had another Centered Riding lesson. I expressed my concerns with how stiff my body is, and the trouble I'm having with relaxing my muscles, which is causing Lakota to stop, or my muscles being tense on one side causing her turn turn. We spent my half hour working on my relaxation, and some stretching. I have Chronic Fatigue, and Fibromyalgia. I have been managing the muscle stiffness and pain with Bowen Therapy, but my therapist is on maternity leave, and my body is really paying the price. I did just speak to a craniosacral therapist today, and have an appointment for next week. Health issues are another one of my interests, and I will get some posts regarding that up soon. I'm waiting until the weather gets bad and its too cold to play with my horses, then I will get more time to to write about human and horse nutrition and health.










Meanwhile, back at the ranch...................... My daughter also had a 1/2 hour lesson on Lakota, which is great for both of them. Mandy is learning, and Lakota is learning about reading different people, which is good for her as well. This does not appear confusing to her at all.




Yesterday I rode Lakota in the roundpen. I free-lunged her first, as a relationship-building exercise (ala Dan Sumrerel) and it was apparent that Lakota was very "up". There were a lot of "Airs Above the Ground" and other shenanigans. It was a windy day, and the neighbors were working on their addition, so there was hammering, and construction vehicles, air nailers, etc. She had a hard time focusing on me at first. In order to get her to relax and focus on me, I got real quiet. I just sat on her quietly and didn't ask for anything. I sighed a huge sigh, centered myself and just totally relaxed. The first few times, it took her a minute to notice, but as soon as she did, her ears flicked right on me, she would sigh and relax, then walk off. Beautiful! After the first few times, as soon as I sighed and relaxed, she would immediately flick her ears to me, drop her head and relax and walk off. She also did a lot of head-shaking, releasing that tension and anxiety. It was awesome! By the end of our hour together, she was walking off with just me relaxing.

Then we worked on turning turning, which was harder. I took my dear friend CJ's advice, and began the turn by turning my head, then my torso, then my hips, then slowly reach down for the rein, then close my fingers on the rein, then slowly engage the rein (of course releasing as soon as she began the turn), and after a half dozen or more tries at this, I had her pretty consistently turning where I looked. We had some sticky spots, but its just the beginning.
I attempted to ride again today, but it was not to be. I had actually promised Joe that today would be his day, but the horses wouldn't come down from up on the hill. Hmmm, interesting, as they always come down for attention, or wanting to come out and play. They kept looking off in the woods, so I went investigated. It was avery busy day in the neighborhood, there was someone pounding a well up the street, my neighbors on the right building their addition with air nailers, trucks dropping off lumber, men climbing ladders, handing up plywood, housewrap flapping in the wind, and then my neighbor on the otherside up the street apparently had some tree work done, and I heard chainsaws in the woods, and a woodchipper. It seems as though it was the woodchipper that really bothered them, everytime it started up, they would stare into the woods again, and clearly were bothered by the well-drilling as well. I did finally get them down bottom, had Lakota's bitless bridle on, but she was very antzy and suddenly took off up the hill, which is so unlike her. I was very worried she would get a leg caught up in her reins, but I finally caught her, and took her bridle off. Then I walked over to the fenceline where the scary noise was coming from, and let out a big sigh and relaxed. Then Lakota started grooming me and I groomed her back. I glanced over my shoulder, and Joe had dropped his head and was relaxing.

I went down the hill to get them some hay and they followed me down, and ate their hay a bit nervously. I just looked out the window, and they are back on the hill again . Poor things, I've never seen them this nervous. I think its just too much noise from too many directions.

Well, its time to feed them, them go visit my new niece (!!!) more on that tomorrow, then go to hubby's Company Christmas Party.

1 comment:

Brie said...

Michelle,
It sounds like you're making progress with Lakota. I hear ya on the stiff muscles thing, I'm actually reading a book by Mary Wanless right now, that talks a lot about becoming more conscious of the things we feel in our body.

Sage and the gang have been antsy here too...I thought it was the weather, but maybe there's construction I'm not aware of??

I love the pics!!!