Sunday, September 25, 2011

Outside my Comfort Zone Part 1


On Saturday I pushed my comfort zone. Usually on my first ride of the weekend I keep it pretty quiet and safe. Round pen, arena, local trails.

But I decided to start with Lily and she was so quiet and calm I thought it would be a good day to get her past THE HOUSE. The house is close to the road, with thick trees across the street. It's got many odd shapes and things around it, and at one point there were chickens that would squawk.

Clearly many horses are eaten right in that spot. You can tell by all the horse hoof marks spinning.


We did start with a warm up. In the round pen Lily was rushing at the canter, but we rode through to quieter transitions. Something about that experience made me realize my confidence has actually risen despite my lake adventure. Maybe because of the way Smokey and I ended our adventure; a trainer told me (was it Rashid? I don't remember) how you end your time with your horse has the same effect on the horse as how you feel when you end a date. If the last five minutes are great, that's what you retain about the guy..

Lily and I hit the familiar trails and then made our way to THE HOUSE. I'd ridden by it with Lily when I was with BO and one of her training horses, and had just a slight hesitation. But now we were alone. Lily was solid in our regular trail, but now we were outside her comfort zone. Riding alone, riding far from the herd.

She balked by backing up. I turned her and encouraged her forward. We did these little spirals for a while - walking forward, stopping, backing up, turning, walking forward, stopping, backing up, turning, walking forward. But soon we were past the most concerning area, and made our way further down the road. I stopped at the point I felt was two steps beyond her edge and we stood there for a bit. She was anxious, but listened.

We turned back to the barn, with only one spot where she attempted to break into a trot, but quickly responded to my cue.

All of this was bitless, in her riding halter, the one I used with Canyon way back when (the company I ordered it from went out of business, but I found them here on line and plan on ordering one for Christmas).

I was so proud of Lily, she's never liked riding solo and now is doing so well I am thrilled.

Next up, Smokey. Which was pretty good, except for the brief bolt...

9 comments:

Fetlock said...

Sometimes I think if we can get things to end well it's not just the horse that benefits...it's also the (anxious, crabby, frustrated, tired) human that benefits as well. Sounds like Lily really stepped up to the plate for you.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Only us horseback riders understand there is such a thing as horse-eating chickens. :-) That's a beautiful riding halter. Glad you had a positive experience with Lily and that you stretched yourself positively. I've had a lot of rides outside my comfort zone lately, but they've all been huge confidence boosters. Sometimes we just have to cowgirl up.

50+ Horses said...

I'm thrilled for you! You pushed your envelope and succeeded. I liked the anology about the date. I too believe that the last impressions are at the end of the ride and carry over to the next one. So important to have the ride end positively. Thanks for sharing.

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Well done.

Dan

Jeni said...

I'm giggling at the horse eating chickens. Once Upon nailed, only us horse people know of such things. For us it's a wood pile where fire-breathing dragons live =/

Morning Bray Farm said...

I thnk I actually know how you feel now. I rode Ellsworth yesterday, but didn't feel the confidence to leave our driveway. I think it was both of us... I wasn't feeling confident enough to go out on the ditch trail by myself, and I could sense that he wasn't completely comfortable either. I think perhaps we were feeding off of each other...

I've got to get myself to the point you are at... pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. :)

Kate said...

Good so far . . . will wait to hear more . . .

Maia said...

Look at you. So very well done.

achieve1dream said...

What an awesome ride! :) You both did awesome. I'm going to go check out those halters.