Sunday, April 14, 2013

Onwards with the reformed pony

After the 'treatment' I started working with Indy more frequently. Unfortunately I managed to over-face her one day when I took her to a friend's place for a ride: the weather was against us, I didn't do enough groundwork and I didn't get her really using her hind end. Consequently, she really did not feel good to ride and I quickly got off again. I think I set her back to where she was before the quantum treatment.

Life got busy again, the temps soared, water levels plummeted, the horses didn't get worked... Indy's general demeanour was much improved, but she was the same under saddle. I ignored the 'problem,' hoping it would go away (good Tui ad, that!).

Finally, after a friend had super success sending her horse to a local person who got him "out and about" for life experience, I decided to do the same. Not schooling or training as such, more someone who had more guts than me if anything went wrong, getting Indy ridden, forward, and dealing with everything that might happen on a ride.
Two weeks before Indy was due to head off to 'school' I had a lesson. And a very serious discussion with my instructor.

What was I hoping to achieve, sending Indy away?
What part needed "fixing"?
Was the work that would be done, solve the problem I was having?
Did I even know why I was having that problem? Or how to work through it myself?

Was Indy ready to go away - or were the problems I was having showing that she needed more time and more groundwork, to "know it in her bones" rather than (somewhat) superficially?

Or was I simply trying to put some mechanical aids on my horse in the hope that I would be able to 'do more' with her... knowing full well I'd have to come back later and un-do/re-do any habits she'd learned or cemented in her brain.

It also raised the question of principles. For what reason do we have principles, if we choose not to follow them? Are we doing that knowing the consequences, or are we going in blind? Are we sure we want to deal with the fall-out (if any), just to get this short-term gain?
My short answer is no. I don't want to undo any of Indy's training. I don't want to install any cues or instill more habits - she has enough of those! I haven't been taking the time it takes for three years, to turn around and want a quick fix now.

It is only that I choose to follow a method of training and riding that is not a path well trodden here. I choose to take the slow route because I know it will pay off in the end. Sending her away was a 'way out', a 'quick fix', something *I* didn't have to do *myself*... But, if I don't have 'It' in MY bones yet, - honestly - how can I expect my horses to?

A plan of attack formed: 1 or 2x per week, I would pony Indy from Scarlett; 1x per week, she would get groundworked; 1x per week, I would ride her. That would be 3-4 times per week that she'd get worked in various ways, still leaving me time for Scarlett and time for trimming. I would have to ride on the weekend in order to know I would have a groundsperson (I have not felt like she is ready for me to ride her without someone looking out for my head to date).

Completely by chance, I ordered some Devils Claw for Scarlett. I also asked for a sample of a product called Equi So-Happy St John's Wort. The description suggested it was "nature's comfort herb. This extract consists mainly of St John’s Wort which increases levels of seratonin, which is responsible for feelings of contentment. Long term treatment will generally settle the horse making it receptive to training."
Knowing what I did from the quantum device's readings, I thought it might help with her anxiety and worry. I had nothing to lose - and - nothing ventured, nothing gained!

So, Indy got her first 2 or 3ml dose of SJW on Monday. A friend was able to come over on Tuesday so I could ride. The horse I caught was a content creature, alert and ready for work. She stood still for brushing and tacking up. She stood still for me to clamber aboard. She walked nicely. She travelled in both directions, easily changing from one to the other. She listened to my instructions, whether that was move on, don't move on, go this way, go that way, keep going, stop now.

I was as floored by the change, as I was by the change following the quantum device reading. Lucky for me, Jacqui was there to pinch me and tell me I wasn't dreaming, because it was THAT good I didn't believe it was happening.

Wednesday, I pulled her out of the paddock. She was the same. Alert, content, ready to work. Almost a "pick me!" look on her face. She did some lovely groundwork, so I hopped on. I did, of course, send Jacqui a text saying "I'm about to get on, no one else around, it's been nice knowing you!" I didn't need a rescuer or an ambulance. Indy was fine. More than fine. Amazing. Incredible.

I could go on, but I am sure you get the picture by now ;)

In any case, it's about the first time I have felt truly safe riding Indy, because she was super responsive - she was listening. Her ears flicked back to me as I thanked her and said she was a clever girl.

I can only describe the feeling I had after getting off, as like a kid who has just been let off the lead rein... No more holding back.

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