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Welcome. Thank you for bringing your curiosity here. I write to make sense of my life and to be heard, understood perhaps. I hope this makes sense to you. Together we can share some moments thanks to the vibrant dynamic connections that are possible through this amazing webworld. Even if I sit alone as I type, I am not feeling isolated, not from you, not from myself. All contents on this blog are my original writings and artwork and photography (unless attributed to another) and protected by copyright law.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Harry Whitney Thursday June 22, 2006

I want to ask Harry to let me pretend to be a horse so I can feel what he's doing with the reins. (I never did.)

Whenever the reins mean pull and the horse thinks about bracing, there can be no softness or collection. With this in mind, it makes sense that we have to come through for the horse every time we ask for something. With Rusty, I need to use longer rein and off set rein (more left than right, or more right than left) so he won't tuck his head which is his form of bracing (or avoiding getting to the answer I'm looking for)... Brace in horse = not giving answer or not trying to find the answer when I ask a question.

At this point then, two most helpful things I can do are develop better habit with reins, and develop better habit with seat and legs?

Can Harry see when I ride what I'm doing ineffectively with seat and legs? I know he's mentioned a time or two when I stop using seat when I'm using legs, I go stiff. Would it be good for me to get responses from a squeeze and use bump for a back up?

What's special about earplugs? (That was a trick question though at this point, I don't recall what I was thinking. Perhaps earplugs gave respite from all the questions someone like myself is asking, asking, asking!)

R: "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing."

In response to A's questions: Harry doesn't even think about footfall. In between disengaging this way and disengaging that way, they'll find a back up. A's missing this was about not using both reins properly -- gotta keep both reins close, being ready and not let the horse fall in the hole.

Re: momentum, etc.: If horse doesn't let go through back, then it ain't gonna happen. They aren't going to give through the back. If back doesn't give, there is no place for the hind feet to go.

There's time to say "will you stay forward" with legs and ask with reins, so they might let go through their back. If they can't stay forward without brace then give up forward and get the softness in the back.

Reins: it's not static. It's a give and take like when he was getting disengagement with Bo yesterday.

Round pen: reason to use is to get some work done in a more controlled setting -- getting clarity, responsiveness, developing good habits -- then go out into a larger area where there will be bigger distractions.

A: little tape recorder in her mind: 'where's your horse? where's your horse?' Her efforts to pay attention to what the horse is thinking about and feeling.

Question: Better to pony Sofia off Sandy first so she gets it, then add me and Rusty to the equation?

Morning ride:

I asked a lot of Rusty. Harry told me some times when I was late, need to be proactive, confirmed that with Rusty I often will need to ride him a LOT closer than I have in the past.

Worked on shoulder bulging to the left on a left turn. It happens when his mind is to the right and his front feet are heading to the right. Today's fix was to use left rein to invite the front feet to the left on a left circle.

Also: focus -- I need to focus bigtime like when riding through other horses -- me keep on a line and keep Rusty on a line. This will help with shoulder because it's about his mind in either case.

Getting to the inside is different from the mechanical stuff. Getting rid of resistances is not the same as getting OK inside.

Is this connected to how good we feel inside? If I don't have it, I can't offer it?

Rusty letting go, learning to let go of his thoughts = less troubled in human world and with other horses, too?

Intention and ability to allow -- when seeking to bring out trouble and help a horse to settle. Others who can get to inside of horse according to Harry: Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance.

Is getting a mental change the same as getting to the inside of a horse?

Ray Hunt has the ability to see and feel deep on the inside of the horse, and he takes care of it even before it becomes an action.

The horse has to feel good inside.

There is a mechanical component, got to do something in physical realm to get a change of thought and change of emotion.

Harry was asking yesterday for Sofia to change how she was feeling.

Harry tries to help us recognize real correctness, that's what we need to strive for. If it's not correct, the horse doesn't feel right.

My comments about what I bring to the horse and stillness; how Harry on Belle working ChaCha are a threesome.

Harry does get worried but doesn't get thinking about himself but thinks about the horse he's riding and figuring a way to help the horse feel better.

We often want to leave a horse soft and light but we are afraid to do enough, are acting unclear to the horse and that in itself are troubling.

Harry's definition of abuse: Every time you leave a horse mentally confused, he feels abused.

So if you aren't firm enough when needed, and it's not clear, you might just as well whack on the horse. Physically there will be bruises but mentally no different.

Herd doesn't allow poor behavior, so we can think that way and let a horse know they got to feel better before they can get close.

You can't make someone think anything. You can discourage a horse from thinking to the outsie, but just blocking isn't the same as having some reason to think in the circle.

It's OK to say "let go of that thought" especially with a greener horse. We might say "This is the line, let's go" with a more experienced horse.

The day Sofia lets go of her thought, I have to be there and show her where to go. There will be a pause in their thought when they wonder "what do you want?". I have to be there saying, 'let's go here, thank you' and take her someplace.

Major insight which Harry supported enthusiastically: I need to wean myself from riding Rusty like he's green!!

When we don't give a horse direction when they are ready, the horse will take over, will be the one to make decisions about what we're doing.

Let go, let go, let go, then here, show them where to go once they let go.

The sooner and the softer a horse can let go of a thought, the more the horse is available for my thoughts to direct. Like in round pen if horse checks in easily versus horse who thinks about other stuff very strongly and doesn't check in easily.

Slow thinkers don't come up with other options very quickly or easily. Like a horse who wants to go to the gate and might come off rein a little but won't think of other things to do other than the gate.

Every horse: their biggest asset is their biggest detriment.

Afternoon ride in arena with bull/flag on bike pulley.

Rusty needed closeness -- slack but very ready to ask for his thought. Harry coached me about really getting his hindquarters. Rusty got lighter to reins and over time, more relaxed about approaching the flag. Though Rusty was on edge more and startled at the teeter tooter and where the bike was set up, but I helped him like I was doing around the bull/flag.

Did some riding on Heyson. Nice! Then rode Rusty again with expectation that he feel like Heyson. Then Harry worked Sofia off Belle and that went well. Rusty got very excited when Sofia was approaching the gate afterwards, and Harry coached me through getting his mind back to his body. Asking him to left, to right, back up, a lot of little things. He started to respond and attend. Harry later commented that Rusty wanted to kill Belle at the start for having his Sofia. It was intense but I was able to follow Harry's directions well enough to get a change in Rusty's feelings.

Harry told story later with pictures drawn on dry erase board. About riding a mare out from home and up to the rail road tracks. The mare chose where to go instead of going over the tracks, and then Harry asked for circles but without hurry or worry. Eventually the mare ran through all her options, several times, and chose to go over the tracks.

At the flag -- ask them to move, and let them be successful at whatever they tried, could be off to the left or off to the right.

Later thoughts about Rusty excited: It was like: come back here into your body! My timing could have been better but basically I'm asking him to be with me and responsive just like he is in more quiet situations. As Harry said, "don't let him take over." Don't let his thought rule what is happening between us. Keep seeing if he's present and has given up his overpowering thoughts yet. Be ready to do what you need to to help him let go of the thought and be here again.

I'm amazed that my shame/guilt stuff is gone, that I've grown so much this year emotionally. Thank you, RNB and all the guidance from Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt.

Side pull.

Not just "block that thought" but also bring your thought here, here, here... (Rusty yesterday.)


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