Anyhow, that all aside, here I have this lovely mare, Lola and I've not quite tackled leadership while mounted (making her believe it and feeling comfortable that I am safe without question). So why is this the case? I think it stems, of course, with me. Her previous owner said to me (and she is a Parelli person like myself) that with Lola, you, "need to get the buck out and then she is fine." Well, language means a lot to me and the term buck was not welcomed. It made me worry I think and this surely translated into my mounted interactions. On the ground, she can be quite a pistol and a defiant, fun critter! The problem is, I think it (the buck notion) has been stunting our progress (even though seeing her buck on the ground was laughable and certainly looks rideable). I was continually making sure I officially played with her before mounting and triple checking at the mounting block and this could mean no Lola horse time if I only had, for instance, 10 minutes available.
Well, the other day, after doing a major evaluation of my life as a whole and trying to get myself totally on track with all aspects (horses, career, exercise, Weight Watchers, etc.). I recently had a meltdown due to extreme stress, lol and wanted to run away! And, as part of this, I felt like my horses were falling by the wayside. I was probably just on overload but, it was hitting home, hard.
Back to the horses, frankly, I miss them! So, I decided that I needed to trust in our relationship [Lola's and mine] and forget about that "buck" comment and just go spend some time with her. Why was I letting someone else's terminology or ideas influence me and make me feel so worried when I am an excellent horsewoman (not a novice)? Was it an excuse or something real? Remember, only you can let people make you feel a certain way if you let them, you control how you feel, act, and think. (And, this is in all aspects of your life...never let the negativity in, it is poison.)
And, so, this week (and my week starts on a Saturday by nature of my Weight Watchers meeting), I planned everything out, on paper. My work obligations, horse time, meals, exercise, you name it, I planned it and wrote it down to ensure that it would happen. When horse time came, I changed tactics and treated her [Lola] just like the boys [Fosse and Whiskey]. If I had time to officially play first (on the ground) I would and if not, I would politely mount, bareback, just a halter and lead, and practice chilling out on her, sitting, waiting, letting her graze, petting the boys (because you know they were checking us out), then directing her to go around the arena area, over logs, around trees, disengagement of hindquarters, and flexion. Yesterday I decided that we were going to walk between these two huge trees that provide a wonderful squeeze opportunity. Fosse was standing in between them (oh, I guess I should mention, I am riding Lola and Fosse and Whiskey are loose in the area with us). Anyhow, several times, Lola and I went up to him but she was reluctant to move him back as we proceeded forward and he was not moving for her. To solve this puzzle and help Lola, as well as assert my leadership with both horses, I held part of the rope in my right hand (the Lola side) and used my left hand to take the bulk of the rope to drive Fosse backwards. (I love riding with a halter and leadline, one reined...it is fun! He immediately knew his game was up and that his position was about to change, and moved backwards, with impulsion, completely out of our way as requested, at liberty. Lola turned her head, looked at me as if to say wow, we can do that? Then walked forward through the trees (I swear she was smiling). Then, she initiated driving him around a bit more and I agreed, he was not pleased but complied, LOL. I believe that this exercise really bought me a lot of currency with her as the leader. I also believe me letting go and just trusting our relationship has bought me a lot of currency with myself and my confidence in our relationship.
Tonight, I mounted her having only a few minutes so again, no tack. At one point I dropped the rope and was for all intents and purposes, riding without benefit of anything and felt totally secure (I did retrieve the rope though). Anyhow, a few times she tried to test my leadership but, I persisted (I wanted disengagement of hindquarters and pivot turns). She did what I asked and I really felt that although I had to up the phases a little, it was all really good and I was really the leader in our herd of two. We ended on a good note (and everyone got watermelon and apples). (By the way, she offered to go between the trees several times tonight despite Fosse hanging around.)