09.04.14: Many Storms

The night brought a lot of rain and thunder and lightning. I slept in the truck again just to make things simple, which was pretty comfortable. It rained pretty steadily all night, and continued into the morning. Everyone was hustling through the rain to try to get inside.
We started class discussing horsenalities and the power ended up going out during our morning discussions. There was still enough light through the windows that we were able to continue with our information. Jenny led us through going over the horsenality discussion, and her diagrams on the board were very interesting. When we finished up with that the rain was beginning to lighten up, and they brought both classes in together. Since everything was still sopping wet John brought the faculty in and we did simulations of horsenalities. The faculty each was assigned a horsenality and then we took turns working with that horsenality to try to accomplish a task. The faculty didn’t make it easy on us, and much hilarity ensued. We all laughed until our sides hurt trying to accomplish the tasks, which most of us didn’t get far enough to accomplish anything, but the goal was to preserve the relationship and try to establish communication. They really challenged us and then John did a demo with each of the horsenalities trying to accomplish a task, and it was great to watch his skill dealing with each situation.
We finished up with that a little bit before lunch and we began to poke our heads out after the storm to see what had happened. There was a lot of sand and dirt all over everywhere that hadn’t been where it ended up. The pond was a lot larger than it normally is, and the birds seemed to be enjoying that. The weather was breezy and cool under the clouds that were still hanging around. The sun never came out, and so the temperature stayed pretty reasonable.
We finished lunch in the lodge, thank goodness for large windows! I decided to go listen in on the Parelli Q&A that John was holding where we could ask any questions regarding anything non-horsemanship about Parelli. I had a few questions about the new audition format, and wanted to get that cleared up. There was some good discussion about the auditions and how they work, and what they are looking for.
We finished up with that and headed out to get the horses. The focus group was at 3:00 and was in the 100’ round pen again which meant that we didn’t have very far to go. I grabbed Storm and decided that I wasn’t going to worry about the saddle or anything else yet, that I would just take him out and go from there. The discussion was going to be on direct and indirect rein positions.
I arrived at the round pens, and since no one was using the 75’ I went ahead and went in there and asked him to work on circling at a trot and then canter. The footing was terrible, the sand was super saturated with water, and it was all just really sloppy and messy. Storm managed to handle it pretty well, and I was careful to make sure to not ask him for too much and allow him the time to find his own feet. He only tripped once, which is less than when it is dry, so I guess he was paying better attention. He was pretty calm and attentive, which made me happy.
Jenny came out and started the focus group and discussed how each of the rein positions works, and the use for each of them. We began to practice, and I went back into the round pen and moved his feet a little bit more, and then worked on the rein positions. I was very pleased with how Storm did because that is not something we have practiced very much at all. I showed Jenny how it was going, and told her that I would like to saddle up at this point, and she asked him how he was moving, and I told her very well. She said I could go ahead and saddle up and then continue to warm up again when I got back.
Storm and I headed off to the tack room, and I used the hitching rail so that I could move my stuff around easily without worrying about what trouble he was getting himself into. I managed to get all of my stuff in about two trips, I kept forgetting things, and had to go back into the tack room a couple of times.
I returned to the round pens and went into the 100’ since someone else was now working in the 75’. He did nicely even with the saddle on, and I pushed him up into the canter more to try to make sure that there wasn’t anything that he was going to do that I didn’t feel comfortable riding. He was picking up the wrong lead on the circle when going to the right, which I thought was interesting. I tried a few times, and then went back to the left, and then changed back to the right again and he worked it out himself. He hasn’t really done that before, so I am not sure where that came from.
I checked in with Jenny again and told her that I wanted a little bit of guidance because I hadn’t ridden in the knee brace, but that I also needed something tall to mount from. We finally decided that the bleachers would be ok, so I headed over and stood on the top and asked Storm to move back and forth so that he would present me with the saddle. He did very well, and I did the mounting process and he stood very nicely. Once I was up there, he started to get curious and play with all the ropes that everybody had sitting on the bleachers, so I had to step him away. I went through the rein positions before we walked off, and then Jenny let me into the round pen again so that we could work within the support of a fence.
I practiced the rein stuff for a while, and Jenny would give me guidance every now and then and then it started to misty rain a bit again. I decided that Storm was getting bored with walking in a circle working on rein positions, so I had better quit while he was still pretty happy. Jenny let me out of the round pen again (Storm’s too tall for me to reach the gate latches!) and I dismounted on the ground where it was firm (rather than in the soupy round pen).
He did well, and I got all the stuff put away for the day, and put Storm back in his pen. Just before dinner the lights finally came back on again, though dinner was already pretty much fixed at that point. They had a gas stove that they could use, so we weren’t totally without food! It was a nice day, though I was tired by the evening.