Monday, February 21, 2011

A New Adventure

Last Wednesday I took another leap and purchased my next partner. Her name is Amara SF and she is a 2006 Trakehner Mare.

My overall goal is to develop a life-long partnership with her and to explore continued horsemanship studies with Dressage as our specialty. Amara has not been previously exposed to natural horsemanship and is somewhat a blank slate. Unlike a few horses I've worked with, she doesn't really have many negative habits.

It has been fun getting to know her and putting her Horsenality chart together. She has the majority of her dots (4) in the Left Brained Extrovert quadrant, but also has a sprinking of dots of in the other 3 quadrants as well - 2 in LBI; 2 in RBI; and 1 in RBE.

My first couple play sessions with Amara were very light...some friendly game, yielding the forehand and hind quarters, rubbing everywhere and simply introducing myself. She practically folded herself in half to look at me when I would just stand and stroke her hind legs. I could practically see her thinking "this human is strange!!"

Today was our 3rd play session since last Wednesday (it rained all weekend). Nothing like 2 days of a cooped up horse after rain and cooler temperatures to really show you what's under the hood! Today Amara was 100% extroverted, sometimes confidant and exuberant, and other times fractious, high headed and very, very forward.

It's been a while since I've played with an extrovert. My paint gelding was a solid left brained introvert who when nervous/scared would go right brain introvert FAST. Those of you who work with RBI's know that with that horsenality it's retreat, retreat, retreat! We slow down and wait for the horse, doing otherwise can blow things sky high. This session was a great lesson for me because although I was studying at L3 online with my last partner, I've had to go back to a teaching ad controlling (vs. refining) mode with Amara. Sometimes when I teach I have a tendency to slow things down....I can slow them down too much. Today, I quickly realized that my horse needed me to speed up and get control of the situation when she was right-brained and then quickly change strategy gears when she was left-brained.

Although she changed quadrants several times during our session, I find later looking back that I was right there with her! I think one of the greatest things Parelli has given me is the increased ability to read the horse and a strategy to go with it. As she would change, I would change my strategy to match her and give her what she needed; to be the best leader I could be at that moment. We were definitely living in the moment today!!

I didn't do much teaching today, as I was dealing with sometimes fractious but always forward, it wasn't without its strides. By the end of our session 30 minutes later we'd done lots of partial disengagement, some full disengagement (hide your hiney!) and while she was still moving her feet, she was offering to walk calmly in a circle giving my rhythm, relaxation and contact.

Today I played to safety and comfort with a final result of Amara showing calm, soft and blinking eyes, able to stand still, with soft ears and head low to the ground. It was an all-around great play day!