Friday, May 27, 2011

RC's Journey Day 3 & 4

RC's Journey day 3:
As I drove into the Wangler ranch I could see RC watching my truck from his pen. I pulled up along side his pen he was whinnying at me and as I got out he followed me around to his gate and nickered as I came in. RC has never really been one to whinny at people. I was happy to see him excited about me being there. I held his halter up and he politely put his nose in and when we went towards the round pen, his trainer Matt Coats was standing by the gate and RC greeted him with enthusiasm, ready to start the day.

RC had a lot of play in him and so Matt took the time to play some games with him, letting him stretch his legs and get a bit goofy. When RC had had enough he politely joined up with Matt and class began. RC quickly signed on and Matt had him saddled and ready to go out into a new surrounding to further his education and experience. Today's focus would be about learning what it feels like to make some transitions and change in directions with Matt on his back with a bit more guidance. Encouraging RC to follow a feel.

I watched Matt work with RC with a lot of body language and increased levels of energy and when RC did the right thing then Matt would release the pressure and RC would soon be licking and chewing and settling into the new activity. At one point some questions were asked about doing more with the reins. Matt explained to do more with the reins would be to much information. It became very clear to me how important it is for youngsters to have things taught to them in phases. Giving them enough to keep them engaged and learning however not so much that we send them into overload and confusion.

RC had a great third day of training learning to carry his rider and leader around on him with confidence and coordination. Being given guidance and encouragement when he made the right choices and the opportunity to search for the correct answers with patients and respect from his trainer. He ended his day on a very positive note when he gave Matt his body and mind with softness. In return Matt gave him the rewards of feeling good about himself and lots of self-confidence.

When Matt left,RC and I took some time together in the round pen to let him have a good roll in the sand and a body massage. I realized today why it is so important to have a good positive solid foundation put on these youngster. What Matt has given RC and I today has begun to set us up for a lifetime of success. Now all I need to do is be sure that I can be the person he needs me to be; a leader who teaches with equal doses of love, language and leadership.

Day 4: Today was a cold and cloudy day. RC seems to be much more relaxed in his surroundings today and again met me at the gate ready to get out and play. We had some time before Matt got there to enjoy a some green grass grazing. Matt spent a little time with him in the round pen and then brought him out to saddle him. Giving him a bit of a change to what they had done in the previous days with saddling. Allowing RC to experience as many new things as possible to learn that "its all good"!

This morning his pre-ride check took place in the big open sand arena and there were lots of new things to check out and explore. RC was pretty sure that the side of the arena closest to his pen was his favorite spot. Matt helped RC discover that the other side of the arena was actually a much better place to be and in no time at all RC was in agreement.

RC thought today was a great day to test Matt and see what he could get away with. RC was asking alot of questions today and his trainer would allow him to see for himself if he thought his suggestions were better then Matt's. Of course being the smart horse that he is, in no time at all he realized that Matt was actually the wiser of the pair and relaxed into allowing Matt to show him the way. They did lots of patterns and transitions, helping RC to find the correct leads with the help of Matt. Giving RC the opportunity to feel how much more comfortable it is when you are leading with your correct leg. At the same time teaching me how to assist this young horse to search for the correct answer and when to reward the efforts at the appropriate time.

They did some very nice patterns around the arena, came to a stop in front of us and then gave Matt a beautiful backup. Matt hopped off and called it a day!

The gold nuggets that I came away with today:
1) Attitude is everything, can I respond to his actions, rather then reacting to him with emotions driving my behavior (predatory behavior)?

2) It is so important to make the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy.

3) When he is testing his boundaries,match his energy and then some, showing him that we can do what he wants, but its not as much fun as what my idea can be.

When RC's lesson was over, we gave him some roll in the sand time and then loaded him up in the trailer. He walked right in and stood very calm with confidence. He and his herd brothers were very happy to reunited and will enjoy the weekend with some rest and relaxation. Monday we will be back at the Wangler Ranch for day 5 of RC's Journey.

Happy Memorial day weekend to you all!
Cindy and RC

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

RC's journey day 2

Today was RC"s second day of training. It was a very windy day and on my way to Heidi Wangler's ranch I wondered if Matt would cancel the lesson.When I arrived RC was pretty high spirited and I caught myself thinking about the fact that wind is a common contributor to horse back riding accidents and was sure the lesson would be cancelled.

Matt arrived and he took RC in the round pen and played with him on the 12' line to see what horse was showing up this morning. RC wanted to play and so they did online and at liberty. After RC let go of some extra energy and was signed on with Matt the schooling began.

Matt explained to me that many people choose to not do much with their horses in the wind and by doing so actually deprive them of a opportunity to learn something new. To discover new noises and sensations and to gain the confidence in themselves that everything is okay. Then he and RC showed me what he meant. RC got to experience playing with Matt in the same round pen as he did yesterday however there was things blowing around in the distance and an occasional new nosie and when he spooked, Matt took the time to encourage him to go check it out. Giving RC the time and the guidance to face the unknown and get comfortable with it all.

Next came time to saddle and ride in the wind. Not only did he ride in the wind, he trotted, cantered and changed directions many many times. Learning how to stop, back up. Standing calmly checking out everything very relaxed and confident.

Matt explained as long as his hat stayed on his head it wasn't too windy to work with RC. Then about a hour and half into the lesson Matt's hat blew off and over the top of RC's head and out into the pasture. RC flinched a little as this big black hat came flying over his head from behind, then stood quietly with Matt on top of his back, watching it fly away as if to say: WOW look at it go, isn't that interesting?!

A few more times around the pen and Matt called it a day, after all his hat flew off, RC stayed calm and collected, what more could anyone want from a colt on his second day of school?!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011