Wednesday, November 6, 2019
I started Eli on Total Calm and Focus after my last post. He's a pretty chill dude, but he seemed to be struggling to adjust to life where he wasn't on 24/7 turnout and being "alone". The distraction started flooding over to our rides, where I am more than capable of riding out whatever he gives, but I'm also trying to mend my broken confidence. Me being hypersensitive to what can possibly spook Eli so I know it's coming really discourages Eli from having confidence in me. I'm trying to set us up for success: I need to feel good about him so I can relax, so he feels good about me and relaxes, and then we spiral upwards. So, Total Calm it is.
So far so good. He doesn't panic when I leave him in cross ties. He still watches me move around the barn, but he watches with mild interest, not intense focus. He is still upset if he's actually alone in the barn (valid I think), but he's not too upset when he's "alone" in the barn. We ended up swapping his field again because he was playing too hard with his new friends, and he made the swap easily with no drama.
I do try to ride with a friend. I think we both feel better with company- I have moral support and Eli has an equine shield. One of my barn mates has a very sensitive mare that has the same tendencies as Eli, albeit much more dramatic. Since I went to see Mary Wanless back in Jan/Feb, and have ridden with Mary twice now, I've brought a lot home that has helped her manage her mare's tendencies. When I hurt my back, I asked this barn mate if she'd like to take Eli for a spin since I knew he wouldn't scare her... she did a FABULOUS job riding him and it gave me a ton of confidence in riding him myself. She can articulate back at me a mix of Mary sayings and first hand riding experience that really help me feel more secure and effective.
I've been struggling with my confidence ever since I started horse shopping. The fall I took off one young horse really rattled me. I don't think the fall itself rattled me, because the very first horse I looked at dumped me too. I was able to rationalize the first fall into a cause and effect. I have no idea what caused the second fall, I have it on video and I didn't see or feel the naughty behavior coming... aside from a general lack of forward and tension. The horse actually felt like he relaxed and then had a meltdown. It doesn't matter, because something in me snapped and "fake it til you make it" isn't working for me like it did when Penn came home. Eli is getting more and more spooky, and I'm 99% sure it's my fault. Today, I signed up for an online course series to help myself get over it. The course focuses on NLP (neuro linguistic programming) to overcome fear by getting to the root of it and then moving forward. I know brain rewiring works, so I just need some help to get mine fixed up. I'll review later on if I think the program has been worth it.
That's all I'm sharing in this post. I have a bunch of stuff I want to share though, so stay subscribed friends, I actually sat down and wrote some posts! Next up will be the farrier clinic and the dentist!