I was trying to find a word for what I'm doing with Tumbleweed--other than, "At Liberty." I wrote about it years ago in my work with Leah. It was a training philosophy about getting horses to follow and be in tune with you. I want to call it "minding," but I don't think that's it. Grrr....I remember who told me about it, so I'll ask her right now. Just a sec. (Switches to Messenger) (Switches back to Blogger, and waits for an answer.) (She just got back to me--it's called "heeding." I like that much better than "at liberty.")
Anyway, as I was searching for it, I went down memory lane, and I was reminded of how much work I did with Leah to get her trail ready. Wow! I had forgotten all the ups and downs--or, at least, the downs. When did she become the horse I can leave in the fields for months, pull her out, saddle up and ride? I realized that after we got to that point of togetherness, the blogging about her really fell off, and morphed into 24/7 Tumbleweed.
But Leah is still here, and she is still super sweet and full of heart. Our journey did NOT end two years ago. It continues...
First, 2020 was awful for trail riding. Our governor shutdown absolutely everything--including our trails. It felt like my soul was being ripped out, because hiking and riding those trails is what nurtures my soul. Every trailhead was taped off, and if you were caught riding in them, you'd be ticketed. Our city and county reacted much differently and closed the bathrooms, but kept the city and county trails open. This imbalance forced everyone onto the city and county trails and they became much more concentrated with people.
It slowed us down, but it didn't stop us.
I suppose our big breakthrough, many years ago, was realizing Leah was happier on the trails than in the arena. When she realized how fun and easy trail work can be, she became an excellent trail partner.
Leah also has pain issues, and I started the Masterson Method bodywork with her last spring by signing up for the videos online. With the little I did, I saw improvement, but I also realized there was much more to it than I could get online and with the book.
I discovered a practitioner who lives near us, and she took Leah on this summer, and trains my granddaughter and I to follow up in between sessions.
Leah loves this work, and it has helped her immensely. Immensely.
The Masterson Method requires a lot of physical and mental work by the handler. The waiting is really, really hard, but it's also the key ingredient to success. Waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the release. However long it takes, you are to wait. It develops patience and a sensitive eye. I have so much respect for those who do it well. (A key is to split it up and not expect to accomplish everything in one day. My practitioner often goes 1.5 hours, but she knows when Leah has absorbed as much as she can. She makes notes and begins the following session with that in mind.)