09.04.10: All In Again

Fridays are always interesting days. It is closure but at the same time, there is more to come for me. We started out with a brief meeting in the classroom, and then broke up into our respective classes. We talked about the course had some questions answered and as usual it was a very introspective discussion. We finished up with a simulation, doing the blindfold game and having Erin lead us all over everywhere. We paired up and one person was the "horse" with a blindfold on. The other person had to lead them through tasks and get them to do things following what Erin did. She challenged us and it was fun to go all over the place through different types of terrain and over obstacles and onto things. It is a very interesting examination of trust and what is required to help your blindfolded partner become confident.
We wrapped it up by going back to the classroom with both groups and having the final discussions on the courses. We watched a few video clips which were really neat. We also talked about highlights from the courses. The people that were wrapping up their 8 weeks got to go ride with Pat yesterday and move cows, which was an amazing experience for them. They talked about how much fun it was, and how challenging it is to work with him. They handed out all of our certificates, and then John came in to talk about the new auditions process to get the level certifications. He brought up two people from the other class that had achieved a new level while they were here. Then he brought up Jake to talk about submitting his videos and how he felt about it. He told the group that it was a lot easier than he thought, and that it is only 10 minutes of video at a time, so there really wasn't a lot of pressure. He said that some of them he filmed twice, but that for the most part, they were perfect the first time. John thanked him and then pulled a green string out of his pocket, and Jake had tears in his eyes. It was so exciting to see him receive the honor.
The finale finished up with Katie Drake (Pat's niece) coming in to sing a song for us. She told the story that she went to visit Mary Ann Kennedy in Nashville and talked about her dream and goals and how challenging it has been for her along the way. The words to her song (as always) were very meaningful and related to pretty much everyone's journey no matter what the destination is.

We wrapped everything up, and then Leslie and I headed out for me to take her down to the Burger King in Ocala so that she could catch the shuttle to the airport in Orlando. We stopped at a shop to look around before we headed down the road, and the guy there was able to tighten the screw on my sunglasses which made me pretty happy. We headed on down the road and turned the wrong way off the highway at first, but then figured out where we were supposed to be. We had just gotten our food and were starting to eat when her shuttle showed up. She headed out, and I wrapped my lunch up pretty quickly and got back in the car to drive back up to the ranch. I noticed that there were a lot of cars backing up on the south side of the highway, and when I went to get on to head north there were no cars coming over the hill. I hope that the traffic did not make her late to the airport, but whatever happened must have been big.
I got back to the ranch and Storm was glad to see me since I was later getting him out. We headed to get a drink of water first, and then wandered out into the playground. We experiemented a little more with the traveling circles, which are still a little rough. We also worked with the trailer again, and he went all the way in again without much trouble at all. I decided to go back and get my 45' line so that I could take him into the pond, and we eventually mosied up there. There were two other students from my class at the pond taking photos since it was their last day. Storm went in and walked through, and then came out again. I turned him around and asked him to go in again, and he went in and kept walking a little bit further. He got to a point and started to splash in the water, and then suddenly dropped down and started to roll in the water. It was funny because he couldn't quite figure out why his head kept getting wet when he rocked over on his side. He sure looked like he enjoyed it though.
He got up and came out and I let him graze for a long time, and then we wandered down to where it is sandy so that he could roll, which he did quite vigorously. We chilled out for a while before heading back out again. I found Julia and asked her for some clarifications on the traveling circles and asked a few more questions about picking up Storm's feet. She was very helpful, so we headed out to see what we could do. We went into the upper part of the playground since we were closest to that gate. I found a decent spot between some trees and we worked on our cicles some more. It wasn't great, and I could tell that Storm had a lot more energy to use up than I could handle on the line in the open area. So I went into the 75' round pen and turned him loose. He was happy to be able to have the freedom to run for a while. Then the cows showed up. It looked like most of the faculty was working with Pat driving the cows down from his area and across the hill playground and then around the corner of the other playground. I don't think that Storm has ever seen cows like that. He went over to the fence line to watch with wide eyes what was going on. When they had finally moved on, I asked him to circle again, and he did so very distracted for a long time. It took him a while before he could pass around that side of the round corral without loosing his focus. We finally had reestablished the connection and so I took him back up to the pond to see if he was interesting in getting wet again since he was rather sweaty. He really wasn't, so we grazed for a bit. About that time Pat came riding down the road riding Magic while driving Thunder and Lightening, the draft team. Storm was rather bothered by that, and I decided that I would take him back to his pen and see what the team was up to. When I got back I found Pat working with the horse that had gotten away from the guy so many times trying to get him to load in the trailer. Someone else was holding Magic, and one of the other girls that had been here for 8 weeks was driving the team in circles in the open area near where the trailer was. Come to find out she had never driven a team before, and luckily for her, she didn't know that they had run off with someone earlier in the week. She did a good job while Pat spent nearly 30 minutes getting the horse into the trailer. It was really interesting to watch, but he finally accomplished the goal, and they were able to leave with the horse.
I fed Storm after that, and then ended up relaxing in the lodge with Sandra for a while after a yummy dinner of lasagna.

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