The news from my string is that I switched Vivian and Daveena over to the campus and brought Lil and Wilz home. My plan is to pull the shoes off both girls at home and lay Wilz up for the winter. Daveena, Viv and Jax will get more days.
I’ve learned SO MUCH from Wilz. And key components. Like, mega. I keep saying, Wilz taught me this, Wilz taught me that. Last year I definitely was feeling like she was the most important one in the string. But…I feel like we’re at the end of that particular learning module.
I just started back with Jax really last week. I’ve gotten to him but spottily. I’m super duper curious about the flying changes. I feel really sure about the formula I learned from Wilz and Viv (and Anne Gribbons too). Jax will be the one to prove it out. It’ll be a bit until he’s fit and loosened up enough to know much for sure.
I wanted to share two noteworthy things about Viv:
Firstly, do you guys remember me talking about her just being ready to sell out? To take care of herself? Like when things got difficult, I became at best useless to her and at worst part of the problem? Well, that seemed to have switch up a bit.
I’ve taken her a few places and she has been pretty quiet as in, not noisy. Well, moving her to the campus has been a whole other story. She’s winnied her head off and been much more extroverted about her stress. When I turned her loose in a paddock the first day she even trotted around screaming. Basically, completely new behavior. She nearly burst my eardrums yesterday.
HOWEVER, she has been a lot more with me in the work (compared to other times of stress) and willing to let me help her out. A little like the stress is coming out in her voice rather than her feet. My favorite part though, is the feeling that she’s not perceiving me as an antagonist. By the end of the ride yesterday she was quiet and mostly content. I don’t make a huge deal out of the noise. (Although, I’ll try to be more careful about where my ear is.) It reminds me of the colt starts at Buck’s. We think, well, of course they’re going to winnie, no big deal, in a few days they’ll be ok. So, I’m curious to see how this all evolves.
Secondly, this piaffe thing. OMGosh. Remember how I didn’t used to know really what the cue for it should be? And especially the difference between passage and piaffe? Well, Anne cleared that up for me when I watched her teach at Devonwood in June. I’m guessing she has more than one way of doing it but, this version it’s just slowing the walk down (like our slow walk) and then gently tapping with both ankles. Anne then stands on the ground and helps a tiny bit (super quietly) with a whip till the horse diagonalizes the steps once or twice. Then “praise him” as she says. Then she gives a sugar cube. Seriously.
So, no one around me has practiced being a grounds person with a whip and although I bet Beth or Kip could sort it out, I doubt they’d want to and I’m verrrry leary of doing anything like that with Viv. Instead, when Vivian was still at home, Kip spotted me a few weekends in a row and told me when the steps started to diagonalize.
Yesterday, Beth graciously popped into the arena to spot me. She says it’s totally working! Difficult for me to feel it for sure so I definitely need the grounds person. It’s so crazy because I don’t do anything but add the cue, kinda set the rectangle to keep her straight (although I do let her wiggle around a bit as she’s searching) and wait for her to do something. Even though it takes forever for the groundsperson to see it, recognize it, vocalize it, me to hear it and then me to release, she’s onto it!
How fun! I love that it’s so clear and so quiet. Way more enjoyable than what I did with Nigel which he put up with like a champ. I love that it’s coming from her brain.
Lastly, I would like to reiterate that I’m just trying to make sure to enjoy her. I hate to say she’s a once in a lifetime horse because somehow that implies that I won’t have other unbelievable relationships/horses. But…this thing probably won’t be recreated and I’m loving it.