This afternoon I had some very interesting discussions with Fresco and it took me as long as took (I believe it was about 7PM when he finally understood or gave in).
It is still pretty hard to say if it is LB or RB behavior as he switches so fast. A good example would be that when I ask him to be more sensitive, I need to go through my phases quicker, but that is one of those things that sometimes has no effect on him and sometimes makes him jump right out of his skin. It can be because there’ a little bit of wind, or the horse 20 meters from him was being a bit impulsive and he read that energy, or just because he really didn’t see it coming and now doesn’t trust me anymore.
So making sure he gets to that spot where he can be in a learning frame of mind and still be interested in what I ask without being worried about what I might do, is quite challenging. This level 3 is way more challenging than I could have imagined before coming to this course and I am so happy that I’m here because I don’t see how I could have gotten to the point I am today without the help.
What I find most challenging, is looking at other students and not feeling like a failure. Sometimes, I know it sounds very childish and silly but, it really helps me to see level 3/4 students playing with challenges with their horses. That is when I can relate and I realize that it is normal to have bad days or that even at higher levels there are challenges and things to play with, but usually I don’t see that because the higher level people are giving a demo and everything seems to go perfectly on that day. Now I know it’s because the things they play with on that day are those things they know they can do for sure, those patterns that are ingrained in both their and their horses minds.
So again, the power of patterns is very underestimated, even by myself! What helps me today is writing down day by day what I have done with the patterns and how it is going. This helps me to see the progress, how little it sometimes can be, and gives energy and motivation to keep on doing the patterns for the coming 7 days.
Every day we have focus stations, those are really powerful as well, there is a list of focuses on the board and we can choose which focuses we pick that day and go there to play with it, there is always a professional available if you want to ask a question or if you need some help or advice. This kind of teaching is extremely powerful as it gives you as a student the responsibility to ask for help when you’re stuck and that is one of those things some of us have a lot of difficulties with, including yours truly.
At lunch I had this interesting conversation with Jen and Jacqui about this, my mom always pushed me to solve my own problems, to be very self-sufficient and to make sure I could do everything without needing to rely on anyone else. That has turned out very useful in my life and has enabled me to become the woman I am today, it has even helped me to become a manager without any higher studies or degrees. So yes it has been good but there is a downside to this approach, you are too proud to ask for help when you really need it. And now I’m starting to realize that this is true.
So for my personal development I found that asking for help is coming out of my comfort zone, isn’t it amazing what horses can teach you about yourself?
Usually during the day we also have a demo to show what the end result (level 4 in our case) should look like, this is then most of the times Carmen with Raz showing things like how to ride in the precision pen, how to saddle at a level 4 standard, how to bridle, how to prepare for clipping, how to trailer load with savvy and imagination and so on.
The Demo’s help to see where we want to go and then the focus stations help us at where we are at our current level and also to tackle any issues we might have with ourselves or our horses at that moment.
This course has truly taught me so much that I can barely write everything down, we are already through our 3rd week and next week the final testing will start all over again. It is difficult to explain but although I have learned so much, I feel like there has not been enough time. At the beginning of the course someone said that we will learn most in the period after the fast track and now I am really starting to grasp that statement as it is simply impossible to practice every single thing we learned in these 4 weeks in between the lessons, simulations, classroom sessions, coaching sessions and demo’s.
But the main thing is that my relationship with my horse has grown tons, he now is very connected to me and our level of communication is so much clearer and subtle. It almost looks like dancing sometimes!
Hope to get some more stuff for you to read soon,