Toastmasters theme was “Transitions”. Responsible for providing table topics, I offered speakers an opportunity to share significant transitional events in their lives. The response was eager and the sharing deeply personal and moving. It made me think of this new event in my life. Encore!
I can see the shift already taking place and welcome the change. Encore! is renewing and challenging at the same time. Up earlier and thinking throughout the day of how to approach her training for optimal results has impacted everything in my life. Nothing is the same. My perceptions have shifted along with my priorities. From cleaning house to advancing The Peace Chair Project to singing, and all activities in between, I have an increased awareness of the importance of having a standard of excellence with which to measure my efforts.
Along with my many years of working with horses there are so many books, videos, YouTube information documentaries and experts in my neighborhood that I am well supplied with the highest level of expertise to nspire and help me with each phase of training. However, for now, as a weanling, Encore! and I are simply learning mutual respect and good manners.
Almost every day we spend some time building trust and learning basic, ground manners. Encore! is learning to walk and trot on command and halts when I say “ho”. We work in a 60’ x 60’ corral. However, it’s not a workout. We simply move quietly through some concepts that will protect us both in situations to come.
Encore! is big and bold, yet sensitive to surprises. My goal is to have her look to me for reassurance. When something unnerves her, I want her to feel safe with me. My voice is a whisper, a happy chortle, most of the time, but, if she wants to take flight, I raise my voice to break through the mesmerism. So far so good. She knows never to trot away from me when I turn her loose and, most important, she is well on her way to understanding whoa.
I mentioned in an earlier post that she has a voracious appetite. The multi-grain feed with rolled oats and molasses has her stamping her feet and switching her tail. I never like it when a horse or dog is snappy about their food. To mellow her out, I stand in close range and brush her. I rub her under belly while she gobbles her breakfast. At first, annoyed, she would turn her rump to me as if to say, “out of my way!” Now she understands this is unacceptable. She yields to the demand for social grace and stands quietly licking her plate.
Encore’s introduction to her full time stable mates is now complete. She stays with them morning and night only separating out for her ration of grain and her time with me to learn the ways of the working world. Her new mentor, Coltrane, mother’s her and Bambi tolerates her. They shift around from hay station to hay station. She is, for now, low on the totem pole.
Vital at this age, a five acre field allows Encore! to rev her engine when she wants to. Coltrane goes along with it, but Encore! gets ahead and stays there. The power in her big round hindquarters is a hint of what’s to come. All that speed converted to impulsion should be fun to watch. Her fluid form should be fun to ride.
The sun sets pink on wispy clouds. Encore! finishes her day with a better understanding that she must stand still when I lift her hooves and rub her belly. She understands better that the lunge line rubbing her legs, gently slapping her sides and dripping down her shoulders is her friend. She learns that being faux tied is an opportunity to be quiet, listen and enjoy being brushed.