13.07.21: The Horse Doesn't Matter

For the first attempt at hauling Storm back over to Graham, things went about as well as they could. The trailer lacked the break controller, and so it was a big challenge to stop a 3 horse goose neck trailer loaded with a one ton horse with only a Toyota Tundra truck. We managed, though there were a few scary situations and Ed got to learn what it feels like when live weight has to shift around to stay balanced after a hard stop. Storm was rather unnerved when we opened up the trailer again, and soaked in sweat (yay!). He was a shaking and frozen when we opened up the trailer, and wouldn’t back up, but eventually with some gentle urging he backed up slowly and calmly, much to my relief. We had timed everything perfectly, and Nancy put out the two new mares, and then I put Storm into the pasture with them. There wasn’t much fuss, and he settled right back in. Of all the horses, Sado seemed happiest to see him.

Sunday morning I drug all my tack into the barn from the truck and found Storm and Sado hanging out together at the top of the hill. I brought him in and he was his usual calm self. Since it was so cool (comparatively) I didn’t hose him off, and only brushed him down and tacked him up.

We began our lesson with the same work we had been doing, encouraging his hind leg to really swing forward and shift his weight onto his right hind leg. He was responding well, and Kirsten was pleased with how well he was moving. I told her about our canter adventures, and she said that may have helped him find his hind leg a bit better than he had been, and said that it would be good work to allow him to canter to the right some more if I have the space to do so. She added one more twinge to be able to help him free up his shoulder because it seemed he was still holding a little tension, and so we worked on encouraging the hind leg to step up while asking him to bend around his inside shoulder. He was just a little locked up in the ribs, and that helped him to free himself up and really bend on the circle.

I got ready to ride, and Kirsten began working with us by helping us to find the fact that we need to pay less attention to what the horse is doing and more attention to where our bodies are. When our bodies are in the correct position, the horse is balanced. When we end up out of balance it’s because the horse has moved our body. At this point the horses know how to be balanced, and the difference is whether or not we are staying balanced. When we stay balanced, the horse will be too. It’s that simple. Or at least it is that simple to explain.

I noticed some pain in my lower back on the right side, and Kirsten pointed out that it was due to the fact that Storm was pushing up on the right side. She grabbed the mounting block so she could reach me and worked with me to help release the tension that I had there and shift my weight so that I was balanced better. I noticed that I was able to notice when he shifted me out of balance through my core and rib cage most easily. Kirsten helped me to hang onto that feeling and use it as a point of reference. It my core felt tension or crunched, then I was out of balance and therefore Storm was out of balance. We played around with the sensation while he was standing still, and I was amazed at how much influence I could have when I stayed balanced on him even though he was not moving. He would shift his weight around to become balanced as I got it right. When he would rest his other hind foot, I could shift around and rebalance myself again and he would stand balanced underneath me again. We put it into motion and the pain in my lower back mostly disappeared, except for when I would become unbalanced again.

As I worked with that, I also noticed a pain across my collar bones that seemed to feel like tension pain and I noticed that it was familiar when I would ride, but it would disappear when I would get off the horse. I brought it up to Kirsten and she noted that when bodies release tension they have to find stability, so my body may be naturally seeking stability in my upper body around my collar bones. It takes time for bodies to learn the comfort of stability without creating tension somewhere else.

We continued on and I focused on releasing the tension from my lower back and then my collar bones. When I would do that, I would get a nervous sensation at the base of my ribs, where my body was getting “scared” of the wobbly feeling of instability when the tension was released. I continued to play with releasing the tension and feeling the wobbly feeling and then trying to release the sensation in my ribs. It was a real challenge to keep from being too tense and compensating somewhere else in my body. Storm continued to work well under me, and respond nicely when I would get it right.

We finished up and I hosed him off to help him be nice and cool and then turned him out to enjoy the grass since the breeze was keeping the temperatures from soaring too high. Ed and I ran errands and returned to make up some dinner for Storm and check on him and I found him sweating nicely in the run-in shed, and not breathing hard at all.

Since the truck is getting the break controller installed today, we will haul him home this afternoon. Hopefully he won’t object to going back on the trailer too much after his rough ride back to Graham.

Next Page: 13.08.15: Learn Burn about Piss’n’vinegar