12.07.18: Centering the Target

Storm gave me a bit of a scare the day that Jeffra was here to do body work. I found him in the 105 degree heat panting like he had run 100 miles and dry as a bone. We brought him in and she worked on him for a while trying to stimulate his lymphatic system to get him sweating, and then I hosed him off for a long time. We put him in a stall under a fan, and he finally recovered. So now Storm has Anhidrosis, which is the inability to sweat. I have no idea how "permanent" the condition will be - other than the fact that now that he has done it, its not likely to go away. It can only be managed through supplements, and keeping him cool and comfortable when the weather gets hot. Apparently everything from giving the horse a dark beer a day to acupuncture is reported to be effective (the former I'm not so convinced about as much as the latter...). This is adding an interesting challenge to our work, and his care since I am now working hard to make sure that he gets extra supplements and gets curried every day to help stimulate his lymph system. 
I spent Monday working with a friend practicing shooting. I have enough practical skill under my belt to now need the refinement and experience of 'wet saddle blankets' as it were. I need someone over my shoulder helping me to make corrections and get over the few issues that I have (the biggest being the fact that I still fight the flinching before the gun goes off). Eddie and I spent most of the day working, and he was really able to vastly improve my skill. He encouraged me to breathe, which is a reminder I can't get enough of, and I spent some time working with my own centered space. When I took a moment to stop, close my eyes, expand my space in all directions around me, then extend it outward to include the target, and then open my eyes, focus to aim, and then shoot, the results were astounding. Including the target in my sphere of space really helped me to be able to find the focus on it, and then hit it. He had me practicing hitting clays at 20 yards with the 9mm handgun as well as the 22 rifle. It wasn't easy, and I missed a lot, but eventually I was shooting the pieces of the broken clays that were scattered on the berm. When I was really able to focus and check in with my space it improved my marksmanship dramatically. When I would forget, or get distracted, I would miss a lot more often. 
Soon I moved from shooting one thing at a time to shooting progressive targets one after another. Encompassing all of the targets within my space helped, but it upped the degree of challenge exponentially. I was still shooting slowly pausing between each shot to reset myself. Eddie put up a target in front of me and asked me to fire off three rounds when I was ready. I paused, centered myself, breathed deeply, and fired. I brought the gun down to realize that I put all three rounds virtually through the same hole in the center of the target. I think it stunned Eddie as much as it stunned me. He continued to find ways to challenge me, and work on shooting as quickly with multiple targets as I had with a single target. As long as I took a breath, and stayed centered I did much better. I still struggled with the challenge of not flinching, but that will come with time. As he continued to tell me, the gun will not hurt ME, so long as I am in the moment and pay attention. There is nothing to fear in the bang. 
Since reflecting on all of this, I am really looking forward to getting out and working more to really push the theory and find that centered space more easily to improve my marksmanship AND my horsemanship!