Translating My Method Into The Natural Experience

Today I am sharing another success from my Insider Circle course. It is wonderful how Candle takes us over the stepping-stones of her experience. The details convey the feel and the rhythm of what took place with her horse. Her letter is an excellent reporting that shows the decision she made in how to approach her horse. Following, I have selected a few examples from her letter to comment on that illustrate the evolution of Candle's thinking. She shows us through her letter to be in the moment with our horse and be willing to work with what is being presented and turn it into something.

Dear Carolyn,

I logged on to tell you about my morning with Z in record hot temperature, more like August than June, that Florida is enduring. However, reading the comments to this blog, all at once as I just did, was so enjoyable I have to comment on it. What a lovely community of people you have drawn around you!

I took to heart your previous blog about upping the energy in our dance without losing the connection by working in a confined area to start. Also, suggested in a couple of comments that certain people should get their horses comfortable with moving quickly for a few minutes to encourage them to get their energy level up. Last week I began taking Z to an unfamiliar paddock, but not until yesterday did he actually seem sufficiently comfortable and relaxed there for me to do more than share territory and lots of hello. Yesterday we did some driving from behind that morphed into companion walking. I was pretty sweaty by then and he felt really with me, so after he jogged to keep up with me as we walked back to the treats, I ended the session and rode him to the pond to cool us both off.

After we shared territory for about ten minutes. He stood with me in the shade of a tree in the middle of the paddock (about 100 x 300 feet) for a long while as I groomed him with my fingers, listened to my ipod, and lost myself in the beauty of the towering trees nearby. When he walked calmly off to drink from the water tank, I walked in the other direction and waited for him in the shade of another tree. He grazed a bit, then joined me in the new spot. I told him how splendid he was and when he started grazing again, walked away about 15 feet. I stood there with my back to him listening to two songs (about 6 minutes) until he joined me again. We repeated that a number of times until he moved off with me as soon as I started walking. When he did, I praised him with enthusiasm and walked fast to the bag of carrots near the gate. He trotted to keep up with me, keeping his head nearly vertical and moving strongly from behind, almost but not quite in passage, as we neared the gate. I gave him two whole carrots and lots of happy talk. He followed me eagerly when I walked away and when we got into the shade, I upped my energy and urged him to canter. He cantered almost a full circle and looked good for more, but I invited him in to me and fast-walked/jogged back to the gate, with him trotting alongside. We repeated this a couple of times more, increasing to two circles at the canter. When, with the last of my energy, I ran back to the gate, he cantered next to me. I was tired but very happy. Z seemed very pleased too. When we got back to his pasture, I had to go fix another horse’s displaced fly mask. Z came with me instead of going to get a drink and a roll as he usually does.

Candle Hill

…taking Z to an unfamiliar paddock, but not until yesterday did he actually seem sufficiently comfortable and relaxed there for me to do more than share territory and lots of hello

This is exactly the way I want my students to work around their horse. Candle shows us here that she is able to read her horse’s feelings and be considerate of her horse in a way that brings out a better performance.

When he walked calmly off to drink from the water tank, I walked in the other direction and waited for him in the shade of another tree.”

How clever of her to have taken the information that I have given the class and understand how to bring a horse back to you, and to put it into just the natural flow of the day she spent with her horse. Brilliant!

…I told him how splendid he was and when he started grazing again, walked away about 15 feet. I stood there with my back to him listening to two songs (about 6 minutes) until he joined me again.

Again following the same pattern, Candle draws the horse back to her in the same natural way using the Draw and the Pause.

He followed me eagerly when I walked away and when we got into the shade, I upped my energy and urged him to canter. He cantered almost a full circle and looked good for more, but I invited him in to me and fast-walked/jogged back to the gate, with him trotting alongside.

This passage shows Candle’s keen and thoughtful observation, knowing that her horse Z would have given her more was good enough for her and she didn’t need to get two more rounds of canter out of him. His willingness was as good as doing it.

I believe that with this kind of focus and awareness anything is possible and Candle proved it. Good awareness and writing Laura, keep up the beautiful dance.

Carolyn