Thursday, January 15, 2009
Once bridling had become easier, and we had lunging down, and were used to the surcingle on as she went, it was time for side reins. Diane swore by sliding side reins, and it was easy for me to understand why, they felt like a human’s hands on your horse’s mouth. I started easy, on the longest possible setting, just so she could have them there and be used to the flapping on her legs and chest. The first time I put them tight enough for her to feel them on her mouth; she wasn’t sure what to do. When I tried to send her off on the circle to begin lunging, she only turned right around and tried to hug to me. She was scared. Diane would always say “scared of the contact” and so she was. She didn’t understand how she could go forward while there was pressure on her mouth, pulling back. I returned to the most familiar thing she knew: leading. We had spent lots of time doing just that, and she was most comfortable at my side, with my voice as encouragement. Once I convinced her it was possible to move forward with the pulling on her mouth, we began our session, and I saw the understanding in her eyes. For a few steps, she would raise her head and try to shake it off, but then she would drop her head and keep it there for much longer. During those moments, I could hardly keep actively lunging, I wanted to just stop and watch her go, because she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.