I think I may have found my new coach and mentor. I've been working in my vacuum and really feeling a stunted growth. It's tough for students when they get to my level because there are fewer out there who can help me. This trainer actually told me that she has NO ONE she could pair me up with for learning. The only other students she has near me in skill (2 students) have no professional goals and so are less motivated and ambitious. This is a frustrating place to be, actually.
Anyway, I watched her play with Cowboy, my friends awesome grey gelding who is for sale. I was convinced that I wanted to get some feedback from her on what I'm doing. We spent 3 hours and I got some fantastic information. I know I'm accomplished, but there's a lot more I need to be advancing with - like my body language, my timing, my plan. I don't know what I don't know...
I started with Gemini. He's my next levels horse and it's time to bring him along. I played with him for about 90 mins and got some great things from him. I also made some important changes in my way of thinking and my way of going. First, I just showed her some things - how we play, what we do. She didn't think I sucked, but I had a lot of room for improvement. I guess I kind of knew that.
I'm not directing his energy enough. He has exuberance, I'm not giving him something to do with that playful energy. We talked a little about a time to play and a time to do what you're asked. I have to keep searching for that balance and knowing better when to say, enough silliness - let's get the job done.
Rockslide- backwards then sideways, alternating which way the fore moves. A great game for an LBI like Gemini or Cowboy or NINA! Gemini and I did that and I got some great sideways steps from him.
Moving the fore - my rope-holding hand has to be part of my body language. It goes quiet once the horse starts doing what I ask, essentially making my ask unclear. If I'm moving the fore in Z1, my hand should be helping to push the nose around. If I'm in Z2 or Z3, same thing, it's part of my body language and part of my focus.
Change of direction - G and I don't do that well together yet. We have to work on it.
Disengaging the hind - I should be walking toward Z5, not away from Z2!! I should be using a disengaging and steady handed rein. Attach my hand to my hip to steady it. The hind legs should cross over! Fix that before worrying about stopping the forward movement! Plus, allow myself and my horse enough room
Isolate, separate and recombine!
My send has to be good enough for the allow to work on the circle. I'm stepping into the horse's space on my send, which I should not be doing. We went back to lead it, lift it, swing it, touch it. I was not giving G the responsibility to stay on the circle and subsequently, I was getting less then a lap at the allow. We tweaked my send, and he stayed out there. Look where I want my horse to go. LEAD IT! Lead it with my whole body. Don't swing it, touch it if I don't need to.
Yo-yo - Z's is pretty straight. We've worked hard on that. When she tries to go past me and I move her hind to swing her back around, it doesn't have to be fast! It can be slow and right, until her head swings around and she changes eyes. I'm waiting to long to do something about her moving past me. I need to recognize it as soon as she has the thought.
Body language for the back up - I need to start standing up straight and pushing the energy back from my core! I'm now doing it more like a level 2 student. I need to bring her in with the energy from my core as well, sucking in my energy. Up tall for back, pushing out, up tall for in, but sucking in. Up tall to get her attention before anything else.
I was happy to get Z as I feel I've built a lot more into her than Gemini. I wanted feedback on my advanced project. We worked on the send, although Z's allow is great - she stays out there forever. I fixed my send with her like with Gemini and then we worked on transitions up and down. Our up transition was ok, except my body language is dull and weak. I understand that better now. Our down transition was not so good. So, we worked on that mainly. She taught me to step out with the outside leg when she hits my shoulder, then lift my stick, then if my horse reaches my stick, start to wiggle the rope. It was absolutely amazing the way Z transitioned down with just a step out. I couldn't believe it. Our transitions down were fixed just like that. That's why I need a mentor. Perfect practice is really tough alone.
Simulations - At one point, Kime and I did simulations and I was the horse. She showed me how to back me up, send me, slow me down, speed me up. What was really cool was that Z stayed right with me while I circled. Kime was essentially circling both of us. If I backed up, Z backed up. When I took a step, Z took a step. It was cool and we both laughed.
In the end, I realized my latest submission for L3 Liberty was not good enough. I'm expecting a fail to come back. I know more now what I'm missing and where to get better. Kime and I will meet on a regular basis tbd. I won't finish L3 by the end of the year, but I will finish it.
Kime quizzed me on the Parelli rules and principles. I don't have them memorized. She also talked about the phases of development. I don't have those memorized either. She's not going to let that fly. I have to start reciting the chants like a good student. :-) I also need to memorize the 4 responsibilities of the horse and the 4 of the human. Oye.