09.04.08: In Extroverted Shoes

It was CHILLY this morning! My clock which has the temp on it said 39, and the car said 37 w hen i got in it. I was toasty warm in my down blankets, the hardest part is just getting out of bed! It will be warmer tonight, thankfully.
Wednesday is Horsenality/Personality Remuda day, which is always very exciting. I took a huge leap and went to the Left Brained Extrovert group. Kristi was leading, and it took a lot for me to show up. Over the past week and a half I have had enough time to gather some courage and feel like I could be ok in that group. Kristi warned in our morning meeting that if anyone chose to come to that group they would be moving their feet. We all gathered and started off with a walk into the playground. It was a small group of probably only seven or so, and we ended up at the honeycomb. Kristi started off by explaining that as a left brained extrovert you can't think at all until your feet have moved. She commented that if she was chewing gum and not moving her feet that it caused her to chew very hard because the energy had to come out somewhere. She detailed her own journey to discovering her 'horsenality' telling us that she was at a meeting with the other faculty members at Linda's house while she was developing the horsenality charts. They began discussing the relationship between the horsenalities and people, and at the time she felt that she was a right brained introvert due to the fact that she had only been working on faculty for a short period of time and was very much missing her husband and family. She said she spent about the first six months feeling that way, and it wasn't until that meeting that she discovered otherwise. She and Linda were talking, and she was chewing gum really hard, and told Linda that she was a right brained introvert. Linda says "how's that gum?" Kristi apologized for her gum chewing habit and commented that it annoyed some people. Linda repeated the question a bit and commented that it might be a bit of displaced behavior, and Kristi paused for a moment, and Linda nudged her thinking forward to her own realization. It was amusing to me that both Kristi's story and Julia's story were very similar in that they had a sort of Blinding Flash of the Obvious (BFO(tm)) in their discovery of their innate patterns of behavior.
We went on to discuss how LBE's think, and what kind of things challenge them, as well as what things they are good at. She gave us an exercise to walk the rail of the honeycomb as an exercise in focus since LBE's tend to need more practice focusing. The exercise was not that difficult for me, as I have pretty good balance, and already have pretty good focus from actually being an RBI. It was a challenge though for many of the people in the group, mostly due to having a lack of balance practice. The rail of the honeycomb is made up of 6" round poles that are notched on top of the posts.
We gathered together once everyone had practiced and worked through what they could do. We talked about how the exercise affected us as LBE's, and what kinds of things we need more practice at to help come closer to being balanced in the center. It was a neat way to examine the opposite horsenality, and I am very glad that I went. I feel like I picked up some valuable information, and it might take me a while to assimilate it together. The predominant thing that I need to work on with Storm is moving on quickly. When he gives me a lick and chew I can get his feet moving again on to something new, or change the game or pattern again. I do not need to wait like I am accustomed to doing with many of the other horses I have worked with.
In class our discussion was on the 10 Qualities of HorseMan, and we dissected each one and discussed what it meant as the human, and what it means for the horse. We also discussed how to adjust when a particular quality for the horse is not working very well. Once we finished up with that Kristi chose one right brained horse for a demo, and also brought along her horse Maxi for the left brained part of the demo. She chose to work with
Valentino again, though he was much calmer this time than the first demo from last week. She demonstrated how to build his confidence and examined what areas he was confident in, and showed how to build up each part of the games when something was "broken." Valentino made some really nice changes by the time she finished with him. We discussed that, and then watched her play with Maxi and watched what it took to motivate a Left Brained Introvert. She sent Maxi on the first half of a figure 8 pattern, and Maxi took about a minute to complete the first side of the 8. Kristi rewarded her with a bit of cookie, and then sent Maxi out to the other half of the 8. Maxi took significantly less time to go around the other side, and was again rewarded with a cookie. She began to work harder for Kristi as Kristi
continually allowed her to take the time she needed, and rewarded her for each effort that she gave. Kristi then transitioned to playing at Liberty, which was absolutely beautiful to watch. Maxi quickly (as quick as she hustles anyway) went over to the very tiny pedestal, probably only about 14" square, and put her front feet up on it, then began tipping forward, and very carefully, slowly, managed to put all four feet on the tiny pedestal. She got a cookie for it because of her tremendous amount of effort to accomplish the task. She was so funny the way she went about it putting a large amount of effort into doing something that she knew would earn her positive results. Kristi then played and actually got some exuberance
out of Maxi, a few bucks and squeels, which is huge for a horse like her. We discussed the demo, and the things that Kristi had to do in order to maintain Maxi's positive attitude through the session.

We broke for lunch, which was hamburgers, which were pretty good. I chose the Focus group that was centered on playing the 7 games with an obstacle to prepare for liberty. I decided that I wanted to  work on "traveling circles" today to help make circles more interesting and to give Storm a little bit more chances to move his feet and burn some calories off. I went into the 75' round pen to start with so that we would have room to work, but still be plenty comfortable with the round pen fence for support. He was very light and responsive, and I did not have to change directions rapidly too often to keep him light on the halter. I was having a bit of a challenge keeping him going when I started to walk while he was circling, but I wasn't too surprised.
Kristi arrived and gave us the challenge of figuring out how to play the seven games with an obstacle such as a cone, barrel, the pedestal or any other item in our environment that we could find. There happened to be a cone in the 75' round pen where I was. So I started playing the friendly game with the cone, rubbing it on his body. I was able to use the porcupine game to get him to put his nose on the cone, and then drove his hindquarters to the cone. We yoyoed to the cone, and then circled the cone. Then I asked for sideways over the cone, and then used the second cone to squeeze between both of them. Since Kristi was just hanging out, I asked her about the issue with the walking circle and how to encourage Storm to keep circling rather than stop and walk behind me. She asked if he was asking me a question when he started to follow me or if he was stopping for some other reason. He seemed to be asking a question, so she gave me two things to try, one was asking for a change of direction when he stopped, and the other option was to simply send him on again assuming that he did not have enough information to know to continue. I tried a little bit of both options, and that seemed to clear things up for him.
We met back after about 45 minutes of play, and debriefed with Kristi discussing what things we had challenged ourselves to do with the horses. Many people were pretty creative not only in usuing an obstacle but also in selecting the obstacle to play with. It was neat to see everyone's ideas and creativity, and mentally save their ideas for later.
She turned us loose again and Storm and I headed up to the play pen to work some more with obstacles and the traveling circle. I set up two barrels as a jump and we played around for a little while experimenting with moving the circle around. He was surprised when he came around and found the barrels in his path. The first time he cut into the circle to dodge them, and the next time around he did manage to jump them but it was pretty messy. He was handling pretty well, I only had to ask for the direction change a few times before he stopped trying to lean on me. We went up into the honeycomb to work a little bit more on transitions where there was more support of the fence, and I could keep track of our circles a bit better to create patterns. He was responding very quickly, and as soon as he would lick and chew on a pattern I would change the pattern because he would start making assumptions about what came next. He did very well, and we chilled out and grazed for a while watching some of the people in the other class play some games together in the larger part of the honeycomb.
We moseyed back to the pen and I took him to the water before I put him away for the evening. They were showing a taped copy of Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer that featured Pat and Cesar teaming up to help with a horse and dog problem. The show was about a woman that had 2 dogs that worked at a theraputic riding center. The dogs were not comfortable around the horses, and always barked and charged, and they had a particular horse that had a kicking problem, she could not tolerate the sidewalkers, and would try to strike out at them while being led. The show was really fascinating seeing the two masters working together. I am looking forward to watching the show again when I get home.
It was dinner next, and then feeding the horse and wrapping up the day. I finally finished the first bag of feed, so that is one less 50 lb bag riding around in my truck! On the way out I happened to see the full moon, and managed to pull over on the driveway to get a shot of it. As I was finishing up snapping a few photos I heard a sound behind me and Allure had come down the fenceline to see what I was up to. I tried to take a photo, but in the low evening light it didn't turn out. Not so cold tonight, which is mu
ch nicer. I think the cold weather is gone for a while.

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