So this picture here captures one of the most fun days I have had riding since I was a kid.
I just felt… joyful.
I was riding a horse that I started myself, who is so important to me and whose company I enjoy.
We were out and about finding our feet in a new environment doing something that neither one of us had done before and I loved every minute of it.
The other unexpected bonus was just how much these two days at a working cattle and stockmanship clinic have benefitted every other aspect of our training. In my Goals, Horses, and the Nervous System training, I talked about how the traditional goal-setting process can limit curiosity and close you off from possibilities that you had never considered in the position that you are in currently. This clinic is one such example of that. Something that came into my peripheral vision with a horseman I respect and I was like, that sounds fun, let’s do that.
So there it was we found ourselves.
What I loved about this day- one of the things I loved- was the need for precision. This wasn’t about transitions in specific spots because that’s what the test sheet told you. It was about partnership and communication with a truly functional purpose. Where moving your hind in here, your shoulders there; where stopping, and slowing and moving back had a very clear and real-time purpose- creating an understanding not only between horse and rider but horse, rider and cow(s), so the aim could be fulfilled in the most easeful and fluid way possible for everyone concerned.
Now we are back at home in the arena, we are practicing with the same understandings. Our overall body control has improved. We are practicing transitions within the gaits and between them ten times more than we were previously. The stockmanship clinic showed up where our communication could be improved with a startling clarity and our overall relationship is all the better for it.
Have you done something lately that took you outside your normal zone that surpassed your expectations?