Level 3 is when you really begin to focus on Emotional Fitness.
When I am centered and stable in my emotions this will help my horse be a super learner.
We went over the 8 Responsibilities:
Predator behavior: Anger, Frustration, Sadness, Negative Emotions. These are difficult for a horse to read. If you are feeling any of these it’s best not to try to teach the horse anything. If possible just spend some time sitting with your horse, undemanding time, or put him away and try again another day.
Prey behavior: Right Brain running around, not connecting. Left Brain pushing, dominant behavior, I’m not going to do it, opposition reflex.
Partner behavior: Calm, Cool, Centered, Connected
We talked about Life Up and Life Down:
We went over what the 5 areas of confidence are:
If your horse is not feeling confident in all of these areas then it’s not safe to get on. We have to keep all of these areas in mind as we are warming up our horses and help them build their confidence enough so they become rideable.
**DO NOT GET ON YOUR HORSE IF IT DOES NOT CHECK OUT IN ALL OF THESE AREAS.
After you have had a good warm up and helped your horse become confident in all of the above areas it’s time to get on!
Once up it’s important to do a quick run through of Lateral Flexion, Indirect Rein (Hindquarter disengagement) and Direct Rein (Moving the front end over).
**When asking for Indirect Rein it’s important that I LEAN FORWARD a bit. As soon as I did, Billy stepped right over with just a little bit of porcupine from my heel at his back cinch. When I sit up straight or lean back a bit I’m blocking his movement. How interesting!!
The morning session was pretty rough for Billy and I. It was raining pretty hard. (Thank goodness Billy and I have played many times in the rain.) Being in a new place, the fact that I hadn’t had a chance to ride him for about 2 and a half weeks before we started this trip and that we were in a new place after two days in the trailer made for a BUCKING BRONCO Billy.
It took a bit of friendly game to get him saddled in the rain. Then I took him straight to one of the round pens because I had a feeling that he was going to be very fresh. I did not want him slipping and sliding around the playground while being disconnected from me. That seemed like a recipe for disaster. (CHECK Environment on the 5 Areas of Confidence!!)
So Billy was bucking and bucking and running and bucking some more. Not a surprise to me, considering the circumstances.
Kerri April, the assistant instructor came over and was pretty concerned about his behavior. She asked if this was typical (and it had been lately since I couldn’t ride him as much as he needed) and when I explained that he had only 10 rides, she was VERY concerned.
I went and talked to the instructor, Susan and told her our circumstances as well. Later she told me I was her nightmare come true! A green colt in a level 3 Freestyle class!!! Eeeeek!
That was our morning session. Super fun.
We took a lunch break at 1:00 and met back up again at 2:30, all saddled and ready to head up to Pat’s Playground!
Billy was the perfect partner in the afternoon. Absolutely NO BUCKING, total connection and responsiveness all while being calm and collected. He was going forward, jumping jumps, walking, trotting and cantering when I asked. He checked out the dummy calf machine. That was pretty scary, but he pulled it together just as a Parelli Pony should.
When I thought he was ready to ride I asked for a evaluation by Kerri. She watched him canter and declared him ready to ride!
I got on and had a short session of lateral flexion, hindquarter disengagement and backing. He was awesome. He did the best hindquarter disengagement that he has ever done! I was so proud.
It started to rain again just about the time we called it quits.
At lunch time K wasn’t feeling well so left with her mother. Kerri took Bariz to the playground during the afternoon session where he hung out in a pen there so he wouldn’t be left behind and alone at the horse pens above.
By the time we got back to our pens it was a complete downpour and we were all soaked through. I unsaddled Billy, fed him and checked his water, then checked Bariz’s water, fed him and headed up to my cabin to change before dinner.
It was an awesome first day… after a bit of a rough start.
Billy’s 11th ride!