Thursday, February 24, 2011

Horse Training at The RiverFarm

Natural Horsemanship Training at the RiverFarm in Whatcom County- Near Bellingham, WA.
Monday found me on the ferry from Orcas Island on my way to the River Farm in Deming,WA to resume  training and teaching with the horses. It was cold but dry in the am, but the weather was supposed to turn later in the day. It's about 90 minutes of 'petal to the metal' to Deming once you get to Anacortes. I had a good ride over on the ferry, studying my Jin Shin and doing some treatments on my feet, which tend to get tired when I train horses and teach most of the day.
River Farm is a suistainable community east of Bellingham on the Nooksack River. The two horses are Sally and Sadie, who are progressing very nicely in their Natural Horsemanship Training. 

These Halflinger/QH cross mares are very sweet- just loook at those eyes! Holly and Rosie had done a good job keeping them tuned up over the winter, but now it was time to start making some progress again.

We reviewed the Seven Games, and worked on Compainion walking to get the horses really tuned in to me. It's like a dance and very relaxing for both trainer and horse. The horse gets really responsive and soft and the trainer/leader gets into the right  mind set. While working on this we wandered down to the River, where an eagle sat perched in a tree. I reflected on how lucky I was to be working out doors in such a beautiful place, with eagles and horses and such great folks.
I was so absorbed in my engagement with Sally, I did not see Holly and Sadie come up behind me. Sally was so tuned in to me, she did not even fuss with her pal catching up with us! Holly and I worked the horses on the River for a while, reviewing what we had done last summer and fall.

It was hard to believe that one day last summer Rosie led Sadie (pictured here) into the River and they swam together!
From the river, we went on to ground driving, as our goal is to get the horses pulling this summer..It was a good thing we started early in the day, as by 4 pm, the rains and then snow started. Burr.. it was cold!
Turns out all that Jin Shin really worked and I went home tired, but my feet did not hurt at all!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dancing with My Horses

My Wild Boys!
 The quiet rainy months on Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest are such a contrast to the sunny long days in spring and summer. Now the days are short and the mists draw you inward.

Rascal give me horse kisses!
 I have taken to singing and dancing with my horses. I like for them to have a chance to work in a fun, relaxing way during what is a quiet time on Orcas Island. I want them to be 'in tune' with me.  I have found that the singing relaxes me and my horses and our play just flows. We do circles and changes of direction, changes of gait, lateral movements, frontwards and backwards - like a cha-cha. When I halt, it's their job to lift their shoulders and bring in their noses. Then they get a small slice of apple.
Ranger and Rascal love to Play!
 I want to be more relaxed and dance like in my riding, so I am working at being more fluid in my movements on the ground with my boys and it will be interesting to see if this carries over. I am betting it the meantime, it's fun!

Black Elk - almost FREE from the BLM!
Walter Zettle says: 'do 1,000 transition -  and.. nothing beautiful can be forced'

I know that a  balanced horse is a horse that is fun to ride. I am sure a balanced person is more fun for the horse.

I'd love to hear what you think of my new webiste: Horsemanship on Orcas