14.07.25: Ultimate Test

Storm getting worked two days in a row is almost unheard of! I'm sure he was quite confused! I knew I wanted to get in as much progress before our lesson on Saturday morning as I could. It ended up being a pretty important step forward for Storm and my confidence. Ed didn't have to leave for work until later, and I am glad he was around. I fed Storm breakfast and then we headed out to the round pen and settled into work. We didn't do as much backing as we had the day before, he was already calmer and not as distracted as he had been. After a lap in each direction, I set up the long lines and we got to work. We had been working for a little while when the Lawn Guys showed up. They park their trailer between the round pen and the dumpster, and I knew that this had the potential for a meltdown from Storm. I just decided that we were going to keep working and I was going to do my best not to project anything that might happen into the scenario and just wait to see what actually happened. Ed walked up about the same time the lawn guys rolled up, and I was grateful to have him around just as another set of eyes in case something happened.
Storm and I kept working, and the lawn guys went about their business. I quickly figured out that one of them was savvy to horses as he went about his business in a quiet and calm manner, being careful not to make surprising moves or too much noise. He pulled a riding mower off the trailer and kept it in low gear and drove nice and slowly all the way past the house before he increased the throttle and started up the mower blades. I was glad that he knew to be cautious! The second guy was not quite so savvy and began weed whacking on the other side of the trailer around the dumpster, popping in and out of view with his weed whacker revving and making all sorts of noise. Storm looked at them sideways, and was pretty skeptical every time he passed that side of the circle, but he never twitched beyond that. I just kept working and kept refocusing on the task at hand which was gaining balance on the long lines. We worked until he settled down a bit (and until weed whacker guy drifted a little further away), and I finally called it quits. I was proud of him for how he handled the situation, and glad for the test. I could ride a horse that behaves like that!
The afternoon lessons with Kirsten were a delight, as always. Being able to watch and listen is as much a learning experience as being able to have a lesson myself. Lenore's lesson turned into quite a self evaluation as much of a learning experience with the horse. Her pony, Mystic, has some challenges, and it going to be a huge teacher for her as she mirrors Lenore's own challenges in life. We had quite a discussion about how to manage the horses and be present in the moment so that they can feel safe and relax with us, regardless of the situation. We also delved into experiences that bring up our own issues and demons, and I finally had a bit of an epiphany that in order for me to get over some of my fears of dealing with Storm when he gets big, I've had to simply live through situations where he gets big. It hasn't always been fun, but I have survived, and I have handled it (mostly), and if I didn't handle it, I was still safe, and came out largely unscathed (other than my pride now and then). I have learned how to respect his limits and my limits and try to balance the two so that both of us can learn and grow. No one could have told me these things, I've had to just go through them, and while it has been hard and bruised my confidence and body now and then, I've come out on the other side better. I couldn't have done that without living through it. It was a pretty profound realization, and very helpful to gain a wider perspective of the journey overall. I'm grateful to get to spend time with Kirsten to gain a better understanding outside of simply working with my horse for an hour.
Next Page: 14.07.26: Back On Top!