Sometimes you have to pull out of the day the time you can to do something you love to do. I only had about 45 min to work with Raven today. I am working the round pen tasks of the horseman's course, which is the fourth and last level. The first task is to draw your horse to you from walk, trot and canter. This is using a larger pen, no round pen, and no halter. This is what I have called working at liberty in previous posts. What you do is have to have the horse go around in you in a circle, no round pen, so they can go where they want. If they break away you bring them back and continue the movement on the circle. Raven does this no problem. The idea is to watch for the things that show the horse is really paying attention to you, ear cocked toward you, licking and chewing, head down and such. Then you ask them by your body language to turn toward you and face you. Raven actually will look toward me as if to ask me 'please can I come in and rest?' At that time I just step to her rear slightly and she faces up to me and comes to me. She does this at all the gaits. So this task is passed.
Task 2 is without a halter ask the horse to disengage hindquarters, change intention and change sides. So basically you are walking forward at the drive line and then move in such a way as to cue the horse to disengage while not losing forward motion and when the horse moves their head toward you let them move in across with their shoulders and change sides. Raven does this good too.
Task 3 is to do the same thing only disengage 360 degrees and then move right back in the same direction you were going. Again as with all the tasks this is to be done from both sides. Raven and I do this ok too.
Task 4 is a bit harder from the drive line at walk, trot -spiral horse into smaller circle. This one isn't as easy as it sounds. Without a halter you have to keep the horse with you as if you were leading them and you are positioned between their eye and the drive line moving in a circle with you on the inside. When they sort of lean their head toward you stop and rest. The point is to get them to stay really tuned into you and follow you lead both to move forward and to go in a circle. Raven does this well from the left side, but the right side she doesn't like me on it. So guess which one we worked on the most. She kept wanting to move away from me and trot so I just made her go then gave her an opportunity to rest next to me on that side. We quit when she willingly stopped and rested with me on her right side.
That is also where we stopped working the tasks. We will review these and then move on to the next task next time.
You can imagine why it is necessary to do these tasks. It is important for the horse to have you as his leader. Whenever there are distractions of frights if your horse is its own leader, well, you might be in for a wreck. But if you are the leader, well, she might just take her cue from you as whether or not its a good idea to be scared. That works spiritually too. I have learned that situations in my life are just God working me until I find my rest in Him. Jesus said, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30.
The rest in life is with the Lord. You can run on the rail if you want, by doing things your own way and not submitting to the Lord. But rest is in the middle with Him. Sometimes the rest is with Him in the middle of the storm in your life. And you can either have a wreck by going your own way or you can submit to His way and have rest. The choice is yours. When I work with a horse, I don't make the horse do anything. I simply make the wrong thing uncomfortable and the right thing easy. It often takes time for the horse to figure it out, so I help him by rewarding the slightest try he gives me. God does the same with me. The Bible says "the way of the transgressor is hard." Proverbs 13:15. But doing things His way is easier in the long run, and that is where He wants me. He doesn't want to run me ragged around the arena. He wants me and you to learn to rest next to Him. Sometimes it takes lots of running for us to figure that out. So ultimately, what I am after with Raven is the same thing God is after with you and me. A relationship based on a willingness to be together no matter what.
So til next time stay in the middle will ya!