Sunday, January 30, 2011

Above the fog

WOW...we have really been socked-in with a dense fog here, in and about the greater Portland, Oregon area. Can't even see across a field to the other fence line~


Makes the air still, cold and damp. And- It makes Me want to hibernate longer..and not function into my days completely as I have planned to. Like walking my "Streak"..something under 3 miles. Or keeping my food content better and lesser ...I become a bear, wanting to bulk up in fat or carbs..NOOOOWA!
I am trying to STICK to the PLAN!


So, I have MADE MYSELF go on out to the stable these colder, darker days...to find THE SUN waiting for me! It is the familiar "Inversion" of  clearer weather- that is found as you go higher up...above the dense, city layer of fog!

It totally revives me, seeing blue skies..and makes me want to move more and function.

After getting to the stable and finding the sun waiting there for me...
I go out to the gate at the turn out field..call the mare in. She actually has come to me each time, NOT MAKING me loose my boots in the sucking, over 12 inch deep -trough- of -mud the horses have made in one of the runs .
I LOVE that she comes to me...even though she has to come through that!
We tacked up twice , earlier this week...and here is another thing I LOVE about my mare.


My sister taught her to lower her head for haltering, grooming and bridleing..she willingly does this for me. (of course, she also gets a nice peppermint treat too...making her lipstick pink for the ride.

We left the property, looking back upon the nice red stable and blue happy skies, peeking over it~


I had some new goals for us planned this particular day.
I have been riding more with a new bit my sissy brought for me. It is a solid peice of straight steel with a half spoon. A Metal Mullen. I use a rubber one, but I know it is too large for her small palate.
 I think if I use a bit for training sometimes on the trail, and  not just  in the arena..my mare will not associate the arena with being different. I am choosing to only use this one and my Waterford Link bit.
I prefer the bitless bridle, but for refining the bit is best, and like I mentioned, I am trying to define what exactly my mare finds so repulsive about the arena.

So, my plans are for more contact on the trail and less preoccupation(hopefully) from the mare to why and where we take that course of action.
 I think I have caused some issues, being so lax in asking more from the mare. So when I do in the arena work, she becomes disturbed and reacts to it. It's just a theory..and I shall find out soon enough. Since I have stopped using the saddles that do not fit, she has been MUCH BETTER about many of the things on the trail that made her become unmangeble. That is a confirm-on that pain removed.
I am going to give it 30 days and see if there can be a different mare developed by a different rider atop her , in other ways as well.
Changing me to change her... I have been reading Mary Wanless "Ride with your Mind" lately,  It has really opened my thought process up for a better relationship with my mare.
This is our normal trail stance below..long with light to no contact.



While it feels so good...I have become a sack of potatoes upon her. A very Happy Sack though I may be,  when I go into the arena,  she feels one that is not a  relaxed sack, but a tight one that may not be place well atop her.
I wish to now create a different me in response to her hollowing and coming up in defiance. She wishes not to be trapped..well, I will not give up my calm, soft peripheral focused framework , I say.

I am loving reading Mary's descriptions about pelvis positioning  and the horse's back. How it is  my "Self Carriage" with my pelvis that creates a "jigsaw puzzle piece" the horse fits into and how it changes me from a sake-o-potatoes into something that only fits correctly together with my mare, when she  meets me with her piece of the puzzle.
By holding myself firmly in place(my core , not hollowing my back- but pushing my pelvis forward) I make it impossible for my mare to evade, by changing her shape.
It also frees up my neck, shoulders and arms, so I depend not on the reins for my horses correct frame. Riding back to front instead of otherwise.

You are gonna laugh at me..but I have been using my  "Pelvis push" all over my world... walking down the hall sitting here, as I write you,even waking up and doing it sometimes. It makes my back longer ans straighter, my ribs come down towards  my hips and my shoulders relax back as well. 
If it is the horse's back that determines it's carriage..then my puzzle piece will be ready and I also will keep a Soft Focus...a Peripheral left brain one that can feel. I need less of an ultra focused eye upon her !
In the Book( I have had for 5 years) and just started to read again, Mary Wanless quotes an Old Zen saying.

"When the pupil is ready the teacher will
appear."

Though I have had many teachers, I may not have been ready for what they taught. Now, these words from Mary, seem to be making total sense and in perfect timing for our arena we moved to.


She quotes Lars Sederhlom for the visual picture I'm liking, "the rider's  role is to act like
  "A Framework around the horse- rather than a load on top of him: by doing this she holds his body in shape, holds the circuit complete and transmits the impulse of his step with out interference."


So, my out door rides will be more intentional training than trail relaxed. I have made the mistake of only drawing the reins taunt for changing gears or trouble.
I have taught her that, contact is not relaxed.
That is going to change.

We had an excellent ride with intention...my new pelvis position was really accepted well by the mare...she responded to my asking for shorter strides then longer..and even volunteered a trot a few times, without coming up, which really told me something about how I was riding. I blocked her with my hollow back and seat. I had more contact then ever on a trail ride. She did well and loved it when I fianlly let the reins gently slip out, for her neck and head to go straight down to the ground.
 She also loved  it for this time of filming~

video

We finished up, went on home then I turned her out into the arena for a roll. She was too tired for that.

video

I gave the mare a day off then went on back for round two...I had some plans for my 5 mile ride but then, One of my border friends showed up, and as we groomed and talked...she decided maybe to ride out.
This is she on Skye last summer, when I invited the Painted Forest  Stables group, to come to the beach on me~

Skye is a Quater Horse, that stands nearly 17 hands tall

Willow-Skye-Maddy

Her Gelding Skye, has been recovering from a severe injury for the past 5 months. He apparently rolled into a wire ratchet used to secure our fencing in the paddocks. He almost cut clean through his  left rear tendon. Through MUCH PRAYER, surgery, stall rest, ice, massage and Micro current therapies...he has received the miracle of healing! My fellow boarder has been hand walking him on hard surfaces all winter...then she changed to the arena . She borrowed my Soft saddle at first, for the arena rides and Cavaletti
exercises.



This day was to be her FIRST ride on the trails, I tagged along, scrapping my training agenda for this special event!
 Wa loved my relaxed, photogapher stance.
My friend hand walked Skye for any slopes.


She got on and we were off....I was interested to see how my mare would act around a new horse.


We walked next to each other a few times...they both kept ears on the other and told the other to stay at distance.


Wa was alright with being behind as well.


We did as much as a level circuit as we could ioncluding around one of the nearby ponds


Then on homeward


My friend dismounted for the road nearest home as the large rocks were hurting Skye's toes. My mare had her hoof boots on.


Brave..she walks right into the water..I won't anymore as I got an icky toe fungus doing it too much, and riding with wet socks! I stay atop for such now!



I was proud of Wa- this day, for being able to contain herself in back.
When We returned...poor Maddy mare was still stall bound with a hoof abscess. She blew it out that night, thank goodness.


I hope weather conditions for you have been good enough for some horsin' times.

24 comments:

  1. Great post. Mary Wanless is a great teacher and I agree with your thought that we are not always ready to learn what someone is trying to teach us. That is one of the great things about books and DVD we get the opportunity to keep going back to them and gain more insight. Keep up the great work with Wa mare!

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  2. Glad your able to get up out of the gloom.. the constant fog would not do me any favors either.

    Wa mare looks so happy out on the trail =) good luck with your training goals.

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  3. Two wonderful rides - I enjoyed the scenery of both! I'm sitting here now practicing my new stance! I like thinking of Wa with pink lips.Stay safe and stick with the plan!

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  4. Oh, you just have the most beautiful trails I have ever seen. I must take a trip out there some day and explore that beautiful state. WE are snowbound right now..the horses aren't even using all of their turnout because the snow is too deep. Ugh.

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  5. It's nice that someone is riding! What I would give to see some grass.
    Nice post. Skye looks good...I am glad he is recovering.

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  6. Great post. Really enjoyed the ride out with you. Love Wa's dapper stride through the woods. She really enjoys herself. She's the luckiest horse to have you. Not many people are so considerate and open to new ways of riding or handling their horse. Lots of riders are all ready to blame their horse for what's wrong.

    I think there is defnitely logic in what you say about you being all nice and relaxed when riding out and tense when you go into the arena. I know Naloma is very sensitive to my state of mind. And I am to hers, hehe. When she's all tense, I am too and that doesn't help. I can start riding being very relaxed and then Naloma thinks she hears or sees something scary and shoots into her bomb-mode (ready to explode if a leaf drops). Sometimes I start singing silly songs to relax my breathing again. That can help. Sometimes I can't stay relaxed and that doesn't help at all.
    Anyway. Good luck with that ;-) The book sounds interesting.

    Skye is gorgeous!

    I've just last week started riding again. The snow has disappeared, making way for some really Spring-like weather, getting all our hopes up, but now it's back to frost and misty grey cold again. Ah well, better times will come ;-)

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  7. Well worth getting out of the fog for, super riding and gorgeous countryside, what a lift in these winter months.

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  8. we have thick fog like yours today and it makes me want to stay in all day - i made a pot of coffee even and i rarely drink coffee. baasha is almost invisible out there in the white stuff, and the ground is deeply frozen and really unsafe for him to make the trek to the pasture, so i locked him in the paddock today. he could break a leg on that deeply pocked frozen mud, on the steep incline.

    wa doesn't like the arena? well i guess i would rather have a horse that doesn't like an arena rather than doesn't like the trails!

    i was wondering how she has healed from her big cat attack. does she have scars? mental scars?

    thanks for the pics of the beautiful pnw!

    ~lytha

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  9. Ooooo...that Fog! Especially beautiful to me with my new Foggy boy! Your photo is amazing. Glad you can out of it though and back into the sunshine where you and Wa belong. That video of Wa walking tells the whole story. She is REALLY listening to you! She hesitates and then listens then walks on and flips the right ear on you to keep track of what you wish. I love your mare!
    And she was good with Skye. That is awful what happened to that horse, but glad they were able to head out with you. Happy ride! That's my KK girl back on the trail to good health and positive energy. Keep up the streak! Sreaking is the only way to keep the endorphin flow consistent!

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  10. I was really quite impressed to see you have as good a fog as we do!Lol.

    Thats some horse! 17 hands QT horse, isnt that kinda big? Still bonny looking beast!

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  11. Such gorgeous country to ride out through... it could probably even turn me into a trail rider! I love that last picture of the Wa-mare, so sweet and gentle.

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  12. Some really nice photos in there. I couldn't stop staring at the one with the pond. The trees from the island reflecting in the water is lovely.

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  13. Steph!
    Thanks for stoppin' in. You have been so busy. Hope this latest surg. will heql quickly for you!
    I think the basics of what Mary Wanless writes and taught are so helpful.Thanks for the encouragement~


    Jeni!
    Yea..the cold, damp air -socks me down. We will rise above soon enough though...hope is in sight!

    Barb~
    YUPPERS...sticking to the plan-for health and calm affairs on and around the house and horse.


    Karen~ Give me a hollar should you come out...I have an extra horse we will go!

    Lori~
    Skye is gorgeous and he has a very devoted owner. She has really put the $ out there for his healing. Nothing was left out.
    Yea, the blessing of repreve in winter. I'm keeping my head up with it!

    Carolina~
    Good for you, getting to ride a bit. I know it will be on and off for more time here...but it has warmed and is not raining..good for me!
    Yea, I had a trainer that saids Wa was luckey to have me all the time. I think she would have never put up with her behaviour. But, I did not train her to be reactive and fearful, she has actually come along way and just has some quirks...HECK Who doesn't have quirks..I read about people and animals that have them all the time! I am devoted TO HER and Hers so I'm stuck with them and she is stuck -with me!


    Trudi~
    I KNOW we are luckey to have a respite from winters grasp, on the times.


    Lytha~
    Yea...for reasons that occured before me, Wa hates the arena and what she remembers of it.I try my darndest to not be the cowboy that beat her or tied her down and put a saddle over wounds for 30 days...but she really has some "Folder Files" of pain memeory there.
    We will keep trying though.

    Skye is one lucky horse to recover from his ripped tendon. It was terrible. The BO is supposed to cover those rachets..but has not. I have rocks all around mine, and cones in the paddock.
    Negligence is something you can't write off.

    YES- Wa still has scars where the hair has not grown back from the Cougar scratches. She also is ALOT more frightful of "Crouching Stumps" they look like big cats waiting for her to jump on..the right color and size. I feel badly for her as she frights much more...it is a real scare for her.

    Jules~
    I thought of you with this "FOG" title! Yea, the streaking has been good! My sissy and I do it with the dogs

    Cheyenne~
    Some QH's are that way he has some TB in him.



    Laura~
    It is breath taking for us too...every time we go. What a blessing! She can be gentle, that Wa mare


    Nuz~
    Hi there! Yea, I'm enamored with all the ponds near where I board now. I take TONS of photo's every stinkin' time I go out...I have sooomany..I am addicted to thoise reflections!

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  14. Great post Kacy! Loved following along with your beautiful photos.

    I ordered a Mary Wanless book on your recommendation - can't wait for it to get here. My pelvis really needs some guidance and tlc lol :)

    Looking forward to your progress in the arena. I know you and Wa mare can work out the contact issue. Remember, you are the riverbanks and Wa is the river :)

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  15. I'm absolutley a fan of Mary Wanless's books, and I think it's easy to practice her instructions. I do the pelvis push-seatbone locator thingy during my 45-mile commute to work. Another wonderful post. Thanks.

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  16. We have a storm coming in, but in all reality, it hasn't been a bad winter. I just might make it until spring without laying in the corner in the fetal position. LOL!

    Love the last pic of Wa. And also laughed at the picture of her ears when walking next to Skye. Windy wears those same ears around other horses. Must be a bay mare thing! :)

    Skye is gorgeous. Palis are not necessarily my favorites by I would make an exception for him. WOw! And so clean!

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  17. As usual, you love my wide-open spaces, and I covet your TREES!!
    Miss Wa sure trucks along on the track doesn't she? And she was a good companion for Skye--glad such a beauty has recovered so well.

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  18. Evensong~
    HAHA...yea, if I had a ranch like yours...we could just trade residences for a Riding Vacation!

    Tammy~
    Yea, maybe a Bay mare snooty thing! I think Kate's mare "Dawn" also has the personal parimeter "LOOK" and stance!
    YOU hang in there..I truly understand the snow and winter emotional distress is Real!

    Muddy K~
    Wow 45 miles...I think you cold get in sahpe doing the "pelvic push" for that drive!

    Calm FS~
    GREAT! I think you'll like her intuitve & scientific style of teaching. She is funny too!
    Yes..Wa is a mighty current and force of nature..that made me laugh about her being the river and me the banks... since we had flooding here this winter and the river overtook the banks!

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  19. I think you'll figure out Wa's aversion to the arena soon and maybe your new reading material will help with this.

    Your trail ride looked so peaceful and pretty. I'd love to see some color around here other than white. Skye is gorgeous I'm glad he's doing so much better. Also glad to hear Maddy's abscess blew out. Keep riding and having fun.

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  20. great post, love it so much. keep it up.

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  21. Cool you got to go out with Joni...Skye looks so good, can't believe his recovery. Can't wait to get back in the saddle...I am envious of your ride:-)

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  22. I just love riding along with you and your mare. The world is a much prettier place with the veiw through her ears. You have a lovely place to ride. Love that fence in the first photo....I wish.The fog is kinda eerie and creepy. That Skye is a marvelous looking fellow. I am glad he is recovering.

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  23. OH! That is in my top five books of all time! For some reason, I learn very well with her way of teaching! I love plug in. I tell myself to plug in and breathe, and there is a new rider on top of my horse. I use her ALL THE TIME! Her and W. Zettl, Steinkraus and (of course) Sally Swift (we are on her 2nd book), but I'm a geek, I love to read my horse books! If you have any other good ones that you love, let me know! Love the Palamino pics. Was never a fan until I started working at a barn where we have five and two buckskins! :) I am thinking of starting one of my BO's two year olds... his name is Junior, but I call him June Bug b/c he is such a sweetheart! Don't let the weather get you, although I could not live there FOR THAT REASON, I have SAD, and would have to do light therapy... kudos to you for making yourself go to the barn, where you get all the therapy a gal could want, right? :)

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  24. You guys are so blessed to have such great areas to ride right off your barn. what a great day you had.

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