My Photo
Location: Vermont and New Hampshire, United States

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.

Powered by Blogger

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mark Rashid Wed, October 24, 2007 Thornton NH

[I was auditing. Most of what is here are notes from listening to Mark. If I am confident I wrote his words down verbatim, they are in quotes, italics and bold.]

Balance point: I bring 5, the horse brings 5 = balance.
One horse started with 1 and rider brought 9 = not balanced.
Amount of energy we bring to the situation. If she resists, she brings a lot of energy even if it’s braced. Our job is to tip the balance of that. Pressure in hands/reins (in a backing up situation) – the more energy she brings, the less we bring, still with direction and softness. The less energy she brings, the more energy we bring, still with direction and softness. It feels good when there is balance.

Build confidence in a horse through consistency.

Using reins: resistance without pulling. We have to train ourselves to be soft even when something is resisting us. [This is so important to me right now. I have pulled and pushed and been aware of this and working attentively to change this. Historically when I felt scared, I resort to pulling – not nice for the horse! I have been training myself to focus on my balance through my center and leave the reins alone when it gets to that point. Even more importantly, I’m learning is to respond to the first thought of the horse that takes us away from what I’m asking, and address getting his mind back with me right away, not waiting ‘for the magic to happen’ as Mark kept saying, but to make the magic happen. And sometimes, in my mind, the ‘magic’ is simply being together mentally, emotionally, and physically doing something together. ]

If we explain it to her and she understands it, she’ll stop doing it. In order to explain it, you have to know what it feels like. [Mark’s demo on Friday evening helped me get a feel for what blending is, what it feels like to be soft when someone is resisting. Great foundation for me to experiment further with my horses, which I’ve been doing since the clinic. I do wish I had aikido lessons close enough to be feasible so I could further my kinesthetic understanding of the blending exercise. Update: I will start Aikido soon and I’m excited about this!]

We want to keep the momentum going. Help her NOT act on her thought, in this case, not act on her thought to stop.

Release for what they do and how they do it, how they feel -- soft when stopping, not just giving to pressure. Giving to pressure may be the start but it’s not all of it. We want her to go to softness. [Releasing for the quality of action and presence not just for what the feet are doing is something I have been doing, however I can only recognize softness to the degree I personally know it. I found a new level of softness resulting in the energetic opening guided by Mark’s awareness and sharing during my riding time. I will write more about this later in my clinic notes.]

[I want to feel more confident regarding is my horse giving to pressure and light, or is my horse soft? I asked Mark about this during my rides. I don’t recall ever getting an answer, yes your horse is soft or no, your horse is light, not soft, but I sure did get a few indications of where my body was tight and energy blocked, and got help with images and things to think about that allowed me to release the held energy and find a whole new world of softness available to me, and hence able to start feeling how my horse moved and responded differently when I was no longer blocking energy in my body. My dear Rusty was just waiting for more openness in me. This is different from my mare, Kacee, at home who seems to be able to carry on with less interference from my personal blocks. On some level I know I am affecting her but it’s not so obvious and drastic as with Rusty who literally can’t stride with ease when I’m blocked in my shoulders or back, or for that matter, when I’m blocked in my mind evident by doubts and uncertainty or indecision. Kacee will move ahead carrying me despite this, although she gets pushy herself. So much to learn.]

Lightness is on the outside of the horse, and will work when everything is familiar. Light horses are reactive, not necessarily responsive. If something out of the ordinary happens, all the lightness goes out the window.

Lightness through training. Softness through understanding.

Do it, repeat it, repeat it, repeat it until the horse has a light bulb go off: ‘oh that’s what you want’, then softness comes in.

[Mark guided a rider to lift a rein when her horse was stuck – not backing up after the rider asked for that. Maybe with Rusty, I can try that, too, so I don’t leave hanging out thinking he’s supposed to stay there without moving or lowering his head or anything.]

It’s about getting in the middle and blending with the horse.

If we can think more about the horse and less about ourselves, the horse knows it. This is good.

Rider brings calmness and focus on horse.

Don’t release for what we don’t want.

When we release at the wrong time, the horse will try harder/bigger brace the next time.

Equine species has the quickest reaction time of all mammals on the earth.

Rider T and her mare:

Red flags regarding physical:
Inability to pick up one lead or other
Not being able to go up or down hills well
Almost always lower back problems, short strided in hinds almost always comes from the hips.

For every muscle you tighten, the horse has to tighten a corresponding muscle.

You cannot fight softness. You can fight resistance.

Breathe out with the exertion – the stop, the walk off, etc.

Mechanics versus softness.

We want to help.

Collection: turn off the topline, engage the belly muscles.

Example of false collection: arm flexed and extended with loose hand, then tighten one finger and do it, then tighten two fingers and do it, etc.

She can’t put her head where you want it if the spot is a moving target (inconsistent rein contact).

Pitching the reins is like hanging up the phone. Better to have the lines open so you can have a conversation.

Rider D and her big gelding:

Stay engaged. She starts with the horse then starts to brace in the hand and it grows and he braces.

Circles of energy are under rider – and goes out in front, movement creates energy. Think of one big circle as a tank track or like a hamster on a wheel. The circle creates movement and maintains momentum. Half halts break momentum.

Breathe out and think about breath going where you want your horse to go.

Accuracy we can work on. A brace is something we can replace – replace with softness.

You create the rhythm and let the horse find it. Find the rhythm in yourself. Not: stand around and wait for the magic to happen. We are not going to wait. We are going to create it.

“Ride like you are happy to be here.”

Think of the best day of your life, think about it and toss it out in front of you and see what happens.

Animation! He’ll chase it. Bring the joy back into the work!

Understanding the aids, not acceptance of the aids.

After lunch:

Not concerned about how much the horse looks around, but how easy it is to get her back.

Softer sound of feet on ground – want it and notice when it happens. The horse will be using less muscle with each footfall. How do you ride so the sound is softer? Change of muscle use in rider affects change of muscle use in horse.

Rider F:

Work on forward, teaching him to move off her leg. Don’t punish the thing you want him to like. You don’t want a lot of time to pass between time her leg is on and time he moves. The lag time gets us in trouble, lag time between leg on and tap leg with crop or whatever you choose for back up.

Make sure you’re getting the walk you want. We prefer we don’t have to hit the horse with the crop. As your legs start to come on, if you don’t feel him getting ready to move, you can start to use the stick.

Balance point of energy – not pressure but energy!

An atemi – breaks the focus. In martial arts it distracts the opponent. A sudden move or sound.

Mark’s stop when leading: when he turns around he wants the horse to set his next foot and his next foot can stop next to or behind the stopping foot. Boundary – at arm’s length.

“The quieter we are, the more he’ll listen.”

Worried buckskin:

Need to help him find some success.

1) Start with breathing – let’s get him breathing. At canter, he’ll be exhaling with each hind foot thrust (and inhaling) and I’ll help you come down to slower gait once you find your natural breathing rhythm.
2) Softening in canter then bring him down.

This horse wants to go, we can help him by letting him go, breathe, soften, and bring him down… Get to the place where you do feel good then we’ll bring you down.

Don’t pet him when he’s nervous and in a worried state of mind. Don’t reward him for that state of mind. He needs to reach a little more inside himself before we pet him and tell him he’s doing ok.

The last thing I’d do is be fixing things with this horse. We need to find ways to tell him he’s doing things right, not a horse to tell he’s doing something wrong.

He has softened at canter, trot, walk, but is still tight at the halt.

Release him for breathing and softening so he knows what he’s successful at.

Mark has in his mind: Go ahead and do what you have to do, and the release comes when you’re breathing and softening.

Mark went into RP with ‘go ahead and do what you have to do’ and ‘give a little more’.

One of the keys he looks for: how is eye blinking. Slower is softer and more thoughtful. Also inside ear.


Post a Comment

<< Home