06.09.20: Off into the Wilds

Yesterday started out cold like usual now, with a frost, though it was not near so heavy as it has been. I fed Roscoe before breakfast to get him a bit of warmth a bit faster. Breakfast wasn't near warm enough, but when it’s so cold, it’s difficult to accomplish that anyway.

I was dreading going to remuda and sitting outside, but it was alright in the sunshine. Don was our remuda leader, and as always, it was a great remuda. We had very good discussions and asked a lot of good questions. We hustled from there and back into the warmth of the lodge in a hurry. I snagged a seat in the back next to the heater again and was quite comfortable. The day's discussion was on fluidity and dealt with several different concepts of full body fluidity. We watched an example of some Russian martial arts that was amazingly fluid. The concepts that were being discussed were basically our fluidity concepts simply with a different name. The man demonstrated that if you stood with your weight in your balance point your entire body could move as one fluid unit. He demonstrated by pushing on another man's upper body and the man simply moved away from his pressure. He then demonstrated that if the man was in the correct position, he could not put the man in a headlock because the man's body could resist the movement. However, standing in the improper position, it was easy to twist his body and gain control. We all headed outside to test out the theory and it really works. It was a strange feeling, and we all decided we should walk like that the next time we have to head through the dark and scary parts of the cities.

We came back into the classroom and did some simulation work watching Pat ride and then attempting to simulate his movements from our chairs. That was followed by a clip of Craig Johnson doing some reining maneuvers and then another man doing cutting bareback and bridle-less. It was interesting attempting to follow the motions while they rode, and frankly quite difficult.

We finished up with that and then headed outside to do some simulations with the seat builders and balls. Today's seat builder exercise was working on following a feel. We had to ride the seat builder and were coached a bit to improve our seat, and then two people came up to the side and put their hands up and we had to be palm to palm, and follow their feel. The game was called sticky hands and we had to be able to ride and follow their motions at the same time. It was multitasking at its best. Don coached me a bit on the seat builder since my seat didn't seem to be all that great today.

We next headed over to the balls and began exercises on working with our balance and feeling the movement of the canter. We started out with breaking down the motion of going up and down and then recombining them again. Isolate, separate, recombine. Linda added an option of how to canter in your body slightly differently than originally which seemed to help some people. It was also good to work out the motion on the ball with someone else to help you discern if your body was moving in the correct directions.

We finished up with that, and returned the balls to their corral and then headed into the Coverall for another simulation. We worked with a partner and our savvy string and played the 7 games that Rachel called out, and then she would call to change leadership. The goal of the exercise was to work on being smooth and fluid in the change of leadership as a partnership rather than one leader versus one follower. We also worked on doing spins with the savvy string to help open up our ribs and be more fluid.

Lunch came and just happened to be Mexican after I had Mexican the previous night. It was good as was the discussion, and I was relieved that it had warmed up enough to be quite comfortable, so warm in fact that I went up and changed into a shorter shirt, and put on my visor for the day.

I grabbed the bareback pad and adjusted the latigo a bit, and added a little bit of leather cream to it to help soften it up a bit since it was still coiled up from its original position. I headed up to his pen where he was still eating lunch and ended up laying out on the pen rail in the sunshine, which was so comfortable. Roscoe finished up with his lunch, and wandered over and snuffled me for a while before I sat up and rubbed on him. From there the next logical step was just to slide over his back, so I sat on him for a little while. Then I slid back on his back and laid down over his sun warmed body. It was quite comfortable, and he just stood there for a while doing nothing. I finally got up and put the pad on and then headed out to the playground.

We moseyed around quite a bit grazing and hanging out. I worked on trotting a little more which went ok. I was dying to lie down in the sun, and so I wandered out to the other side of the Big Top where there were some logs blocking off a grassy space and I sprawled out there for a while. Nic wandered up and we chatted for a while and then Don and Sarah wandered up so we all decided to go on a trail ride. Sarah and I were both bareback so we moseyed back to the pens to grab the saddles and we found Michael on the way and told him we were heading out. He said he'd join us, so we got ready to go out and Michael asked what gaits we were all comfortable with, and walk, trot, canter was what we agreed on.

We headed up towards the RV area and set out on sneaky snake. Nic asked if we could go up to Bear Wallow, but Michael said we wouldn't go that far. We did get to the meadow and he set out up towards the top instead of continuing on the usual trail. We headed up a pretty steep hill and wandered on into the woods for a ways. It was beautiful and we cantered through some beautiful meadows.

We swung around towards the trail back down that we had taken out on the long ride, but Michael decided that he would allow Unity to choose the trail since every time he got to a certain point he wanted to go off the trail. So we ended up winging off into the woods for a long time, we were so far off of a trail, but there were gorgeous views of the valley and the ranch from way up high. We plunged up hills, over logs (Roscoe jumps!), and down into ravines. We finally popped out along the side of the sneak snake trail almost where it begins on the other side. It was nothing more than a long detour.

I was pretty tired by the time we got back since we were moving at a really good clip almost the entire distance. Dinner was approaching quickly so I fed Roscoe and then headed down to the lodge to eat. It was Mac and Cheese night and broccoli and cauliflower. I found the warm shower which was a relief.

I just hung out in the lodge for the evening and chatted before finally crashing into bed. Lillan was attempting to finish the book, but unfortunately, nobody lasted for the last few pages. This morning it wasn't as cold as it has been, no frost, thankfully. Though the rumor is that it is going to be cold and wet coming up, which could be very interesting...

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Thursday, September 21, 2006: Blind Leading the Blind