I now feed horses at 7AM. This has helped me get me sleep back on track as well as get up to do things before the heat. Last night, I went to bed thinking, “I’m going to get up, feed, and ride Tiki.” After a cup of coffee this morning, I got changed into pants and boots. It felt good! I haven’t worn them in a while.
This was the point when I noticed my heart had sped up. It wasn’t racing but I think I was a little anxious. I decided to try something I’ve never really done before and meditate. I picked out a few verses from Genesis to memorize and then focus on. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was void and without form and darkness was hovering over the face of the deep. The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Hey! That was from memory. It’s a start.)
So down I sat – my tall boots surprising not uncomfortable to sit indian-style in. I tried to clear my mind, breath consciously, and recited the verse to myself. I only sat for maybe ten minutes. But I was much steadier and more “centered.” When I say centered, I mean I felt like my mind was not all over the place, as it tends to be.
I sat out my tack and equipment and retrieved the beast. He was a little reluctant to leave his hay but followed me otherwise willingly to the indoor arena. We brushed, picked, and fly sprayed – all the while checking my games and doing a little approach and retreat. The latter is so different for Tiki compared to Sara. Sara needs you to turn and walk away with what she’s unsure about then she exhales. Tiki wants to be the one putting his nose on it; he only gets more curious if you walk away. Hmm, how interesting!
I mounted up. As usual, Tiki wanted to stay by the gate. When I asked him to leave, he would circle sharply and come back to his corner. This time, I had my stick. When he tried to veer back to the gate, I applied rhythmic pressure to the air around his eyes/cheek. What do you know! The lightbulb went on and after a couple of experiments we licked and chewed. He realized that if he moved forward – and I didn’t care where as long as we were moving – I left him alone and he was happy to explore and sniff. When he got corner-focused, I made it uncomfortable to not keep moving by using the stick. It sounds so simple but it was a big breakthrough for Tiki.
We sniffed (and trampled) cones. We weaved. We halted. We trotted!
The best part: we did trot poles.
Insert close-minded human moment. Tiki start to wonder toward the above grid of poles. I said out loud, “I don’t think you want to go there,” and guided him away. He’d wonder that direction, look, and then mosey away.
I wasn’t concentrating on avoiding the poles during one pass. And what do you know, he walked straight down the middle, nice rhythm, happy expression! I couldn’t help but laugh. I was the one who didn’t think I wanted to go there! We played around the grid, used the whole arena, trotted, and walked through some more times. I was tickled pink. And I was having fun!
With a neutral stick, Tiki trotted a pass through the grid of his own volition. I rubbed and rubbed and itched his booty and everything! I decided that was a great note to stop mentally on. What a cool ride.
With the help of Sonney the barn dog, Tiki got to graze and I hosed down his sweat spots. After some scratches, we were happy to be back in our stall (Sara was relieved, too). He hadn’t forgotten his hay, either. Wouldn’t even look up for the camera. Not that I’m complaining; he needs the groceries! Get fat, Tiki!!