Sometimes, I remind myself that when I take a horse from the herd, I'm changing its whole energy.
I'm asking her to shift gears from a grazing, resting being, to a moving, working one.
Sometimes, in those moments of awareness, I stop what I'm doing and let her rest while she transitions her mind.
I was having an issue with mounting for rides. Leah was starting to take off as soon as I got in the saddle. She had been doing it for the last few weeks, as if she anticipated the drastic change and was all hyped up for it.
Yesterday, I let her rest and gave her time to change her energy. She liked it. She rested. When I asked her to move out, she moved out gently.
When I mounted at the trail head today, Leah stood as still as she did when I had let her rest. We stood for a little bit, until she was ready to make the shift. And, we had a great ride. She spooked to the side once--at a log. She took up the rear through the creek--not sure why--but she wanted to follow, rather than lead, but she went through like a champ when it was her time. She also did great down some extremely steep, loose basalt terrain that many horses struggle with. It was so steep in parts that I was leaned back almost to her butt--Man From Snowy River style.
There is something to be said for respecting the transition. What is that saying about how the way a process starts out determines how the whole thing will go?
Something else I did yesterday--visualization exercises. I envisioned what we would look like 4 panels ahead, and I tried to think positive. It helped tremendously! My hope is to train myself to do that ALL the time. I tried here and there on the trail today, but I sometimes slipped into negative visualization. I kept thinking Leah was going to trip down that really steep part.
New habits take time to develop.
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