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...