As we gathered in front of our computers the following day, I was about to notice another advantage to online clinics. Alex could run the presentations she had prepared and share her screen with us. One topic was about the advantages of micro extinction. (For notes on extinction – follow this link 15. Science Camp – Don’t Fight Extinction! – Jesús Rosales-Ruiz
For me, learning about micro extinction was an ‘aha’ moment. I realised that I was so scared of any extinction that it was slowing our progression.
For example, I had been working on Saadi standing with hind legs square. This has been very difficult for him. We have moved forwards and backwards and in the end I had given up. He was getting so frustrated. I realised during this clinic that I needed to give him the opportunity to solve the hind leg puzzle – not just abandon the whole thing.
I had to look for the smallest movement in the hind leg. We started again. I had to fight the fear that I would frustrate him. It meant I had to be observant, faster with the click, and not panic if he was mildly puzzled. Below are two photos. The first one is before the clinic – last winter – the second one was taken during our second clinic in March this year.
The difference in him is amazing! And it’s not just physically – mentally he seems more ‘with it’. Maybe because I was more ‘with it’.! He doesn’t always come to rest like this – but now it’s much more often!
Why did I want the hind legs square? It’s not like he’s competing in dressage or going to shows! Well, I’ve learnt about the benefits of balance in a horse – and how working on these parts creates an awareness of their own bodies.
I guess it’s like me doing Pilates. I become aware of what is needed to move parts of the body, I feel better, I’m more balanced – and mentally I feel better. It gives me a certain confidence!
I’m forever changed after seeing Anja Beran and also Alexandra Kurland’s attention to balance. You can go back and read these posts here 3. More Inspiration from Anja Beran and here 11. Alexandra Kurland’s Italy Clinic – an Epiphany!!!!
I now see that balance is the key. In fact, I’ve become obsessed with it! I’m always thinking about how I can make my elderly horses’ bodies feel better.
So, back to the clinic!
As the clinic progressed, we discussed many topics – and watched everyone’s videos. I became aware of several things I needed to work on. Once again, my feeding position! Oh it makes such a difference to find the correct position!
I also realised I didn’t totally focus on each horse – I’m always aware that the next one is waiting. I wrote about this in a previous post – I will repeat it here. This was a mind blowing moment during the clinic – I came away from my time with the horses in tears. I was just so overcome! :
I was working with Danny at the time and my focus was on my feeding position, posture and being as clear with my cue as I could. Everything was turned down a notch. I was slower, quieter (in my head) and clearer. And just like that, I entered Danny’s world – the brick wall didn’t just clear, I was able to step into his side of it.
It was like he said “Welcome! You finally made it!”
I fully immersed myself in the process – there was no training goal, no other horses trying to catch my attention, no thought in my head of what I had to do in the day – it was just about the process. Was I balanced? Did I feed correctly? Which muscle did Danny move? Why did it move? Does anything else need to move? Do parts need to stay still?
The process became magical. It was hypnotic. I want to keep aiming for that.
I will finish this post here – there is more to say, but I will save it until next time!
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