09.04.01: Jello Butt and Mush for Brains

Today is middle day. Wednesday is always leadership day. Kristi led the morning group session and read a very beautiful article on the relationship between horses and people that was written by a journalist in England in response to the controversy over an eventing horse dying. It was a very powerful piece that was well written and definately written from the heart. There is also a new tradition that the morning Remuda is based upon your personal selection of analyzing your own "Horsenality." So you select which type you are based upon the general characteristics of each of the horsenality types. I was very interested to see what the Right Brained Introvert Remuda had to offer.
Julia led the group, and there were quite a large number of us. We had the option of going to the horsenality type that matched our persona or going to the type that matched our horse to learn more strategies and a clearer understanding of that type. A few of the people in the group were obviously there to learn more about the horsenality in order to gain a greater understanding, and they often asked very good questions. Julia related her story of self discovery of her own Right Brained Intovertedness, and told several stories about how it had created challenges for her in the past. It was fascinating to hear different people speak up about the aspects of themselves that relate the RBI type. We wrote lots of discriptive words that relate to the people side of the RBI type such as indecisive, emotional, freeze/explode, obedient/submissive, takes care of everybody else not themselves, creative/artistic, unconfident, and several others. We discussed what each one means to us, and what kinds of things help to draw us out vs the types of things that shut us down. It was also interesting to relate the fact that often the opposite type, the Left Brained Extrovert is the most challenging for RBI's to deal with because of the overwhelming energy that they project. We discussed that sometimes that can be a boost, but at the same time with a different person that can cause an RBI to freeze and shut down. This is particularly true if another person is angry with an RBI or has a lot of very high energy directed at an RBI even if they are not the cause for the high level of energy. RBI's tend to take it personally as a reaction, even if it isn't meant that way. This can cause an RBI to freeze up, and if the situation continues to escalate, then eventually an RBI can seemingly unexpectedly explode. RBI's tend to be thinkers and need alone time to process things and are very introspective. It can also take an RBI a long time to work up the nerve to do something as they are very inwardly critical. I found it very interesting to note that for my personally having a strong support person near me that I could draw confidence from enables me to move towards center of balancing each of the quadrants. I need that sort of security blanket in order to come out of my shell a bit and be able to be confident. It is very obvious to me when that existed in my life and when it hasn't. RBI's are usually very emotional, though sometimes they learn to mask it, and are often labeled as "cameleons" because in order to survive they often have to embody other types as a safety mechanism, though it usually leaves them very unhappy in the long run because it is a safety and trust issue. RBI's also prefer to be given permission and step up to the plate themselves rather than being forced or pushed into something, as that often pushes an RBI into survival mode which results in the RBI not really being able to process or absorb anything around them for that time period. Julia did a fantastic job leading the group since it is a very vulnerable position that she put herself into as an RBI herself. Since I have two more Wednesdays I think I will attend another RBI session, but may try one of the others later. Though I do not know if I would have the courage to go visit the Left Brained Extrovert group, even though that is Storm's type.
We finished up with that with far too little time, our group could have spent a very long time discussing things, and it was a bit disappointing to have to cut it a bit short. I quickly ran out to Storm's pen before going into the classroom just to check on him. I am not sure what had shifted, but when I walked up to him and put my hand on his nose, he licked and chewed. We met back in the class room with Kristi for the day's discussion on leadership. We went over Pat's 7 Keys to Success which are Attitude, Knowledge, Tools, Techniques, Time, Imagination, and Support. We talked about each one in detail, spending the most time on Attitude since it is the most important; without the correct attitude none of the other keys matter. Kristi also went over the last four games and we talked about the details of each. We ended and she selected two horses to do a demo with working on the last four games. I decided that Storm wasn't as suited for this, and headed out. I had hoped to catch her to ask her about working with me some to give me some more tactics to handle Storm's volumes of energy and LBE persona, but didn't get a chance then. As an RBI the unconfidence was causing the nerves to jitter a bit.
We headed outside and Kristi led two great demos. The first horse was an RBI and it was fun to see it in action. Kristi talked about some of her challenges that she has with dealing with that type since she is a LBE. The little mare named Pretty was as sweet as could be an responded very well to Kristi's guidance as she worked on the circling game. Kristi reiterated that when a game doesn't work you have to back up to find what is "broken" and then work to correct it. The Send portion of the game was broken, and so she worked to help make that more efficient and allow the mare to process it.

The second horse was a beautiful Tennessee Walker named Taz that was much more dominant. He was a LBE, and was very much challenging Kristi by pushing his shoulder into her and trying to move her feet. Taz's owner was having problems getting him to go sideways without working against a fence, and Kristi examined the game and discovered that he did not want to yield the forehand which meant that the porcupine game in zone 1 was broken. She worked to begin to ask him to yield and rewarded him when he gave the slightest try.
We finished up the session with another simulation game that Nitajo introduced. She gave out bandanas and we paired up and one person was blindfolded and played the role of the horse. The other person had to guide them around through a couple of challenges and then we traded off. I have always enjoyed this simulation, though each time it is done it is a little bit different. It is always really interesting to debrief at the end and hear the group's thoughts on what worked and what didn't, what makes you feel secure and what doesn't. It is a very useful learning tool to walk in your horses shoes in a way.
We ended up a bit late to lunch, and so I was pretty hungry. I had some great conversations with several people which are really enjoyable. I finished up with lunch and checked the board to find out the location of the focus station that I was interested in doing and realized that it was out at the honeycomb in the playground. Storm and I had not made it out that far yet, and I was a bit concerned about getting there, so I figured I had better get started to be sure that we could make it there comfortably and not rush. We headed into the playground, and he was a bit skeptical about the bridge. Fleta had Feliz out, so she led Feliz over the bridge first, and Storm followed her over. We moved around a little bit to build confidence in that area, and then slowly started approaching and retreating with the honeycomb. We ended up arriving before the group started, which made me happy, and I let him graze in the honeycomb which is the first time we've had an opportunity to graze because there isn't a lot of good grass anywhere else since most of the playground is gorgeous large oak trees. I don't know that he cares too much for the grass here because he was not that interested in settling down. He probably still has excess energy as well.
Julia happened to be running the focus station, which was putting purpose to the yo-yo game. I realized that it was mostly things that I was already doing, but we can always use more practice. I worked with him for a while up there before beginning my slow mosey route back towards the pen since I needed to meet Jeffra for Storm's bodywork appointment. I hung out with MJ along the way, since she was up in the playground with the rest of the girls from her barn. It was nice to see her horse being plesant and comfortable for a change. MJ seemed much happier too. I made my way to the pen and figured that Jeffra wouldn't be arriving right at 4 so I used the shedding blade to work some of the grit and hair off of Storm. I was pleased to see that the rain had actually helped the night before, washing some of the caked mud and sand off of him since he rolled after his bath. He was much cleaner, and I was able to get more hair off of him.
Jeffra finally arrived and we got started. She checked his hips right off the bat, and found they were out of line by about 1/2", and corrected that, and he responded well, licking and chewing after she helped him to find the adjustment. From there she worked more on his back and his legs. He was very calm the entire time, and licked and chewed each time that she did something to him. She recognized that he was still growing, and she warned me that he could end up a bit sore in some spots due to 'growing pains' and that it probably wouldn't be a big deal. She was very pleased with his work, he was standing much more square by the time she finished with him, and his whole entire body was loose all over. It was fantastic to see his motion how smooth it was, how even his footfalls are, and he isn't scuffing or dragging his feet. His whole body was jiggling and wiggling all over from the lack of tension anywhere. He continued to lick and chew for a long time after she was done. MJ came over and chatted with Jeffra since she is interested in having her work on a horse that she has that sustained an injury when she was very young. Jeffra showed her a few things, and gave her several recommendations. We finally finished up, and I headed to dinner.
By the time I got my plate and sat down, I was so tired, I just couldn't think anymore, I couldn't even remember questions that I wanted to ask long enough to get them into a conversation with the people around me. Fleta and I chatted for a while, it was nice to catch up with her. I finally headed out and fed Storm dinner and then headed home to shower and put my mushed brains to bed.