Exploring Layers

Tuesday, November 03, 2020 (National Sandwich Day, really?)

That’s Sunni comfortably standing in the small trailer and munching sweet hay. I’m now working with the horses separately to trailer train them. The reason for this is that Sunni is a piece of cake while Rosie is a complex sandwich. I’ve learned it’s too challenging to get both at once into and out of the trailer, unless another person is helping.

Rosie is capable of entering and standing quietly in the trailer, but sometimes she “talks back”. If she resists, I can’t also be managing Sunni. Yesterday, Rosie refused to step upon the ramp and some exercise on a lunge line reduced her nervous energy. Then as asked and without a hitch, she stepped onto the ramp and behaved well.

Going forward my training plan is to work with the horses individually. After each consistently enters willingly and stands quietly in either stall, I’ll practice loading and unloading them together.

Training is a layered, complex sandwich. The current trailer training is for both horses to enter a configuration different from what they’re accustomed to, and then stand quietly. Every training requires an understanding of unique ways in which individuals may react to new experiences. The difference between my horses is that Sunni wants to please a trainer, Rosie wants to make the decisions.

To succeed, and important as comprehending a horse’s nature, a trainer must reach deeply for self-understanding. Horses, to their most remote pores, are sensitive to what happens around them. A horse sensing a trainer’s tension becomes more tense itself and training fails. For a horse trainer ending a session, little feels worse than knowing the horse won.

I’m still a novice with horses. My years of working with them are a history of failures and stumbles into success. My horses and I have reached a reasonable mutual understanding, but now as a trainer, I’m again forced to search deeply for self-confidence. To reassure and calm my most sensitive horse, Rosie, I must focus on myself. That means breathing deeply, keeping my shoulders relaxed, and taking care to keep my voice quiet, my expressions neutral.

Yesterday’s training went well, because the horse didn’t win, we had a win-win. Feeling good, I walked uphill to my house and saw waiting up high, again that fabulous moon. I love that moon and fantasised about simply reaching up, plucking it from the sky, and putting that moon on a chain to wear around my neck. Here it’s a more realistic capture.

Dear Friends: Especially today, practice staying calm, breathe, relax, and wait. Diana

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