What a great play date today turned out to be. Many thanks to Janie for welcoming us and to Sheral who came early and set up the arena with a wide variety of obstacles – multiple pedestals, the new teeter-totter, multiple inner tubes, cones, barrels, car wash, poles, ball, tarp….. you name it, there were plenty of things to challenge human and horse. And what a pleasure it was to watch horses and humans partnering up, communicating an intention, asking for a try, reading the horse and rewarding the slightest try.
- Danna was there with Bel – a remarkably let loose Bel, yawning and relaxed.
- Julie and Rusty had fun playing with the car wash and those pesky pool noodles dangling down and working a bit on obeisance on the pedestal. Hmmmm….. a new way to earn carrots? Good.
- Sheral and her Baby girl were the epitome of connected harmony at liberty with Baby coming up with at least as many ideas as Sheral on nifty things she could demonstrate. Sheral and Baby can easily pass their Level 3 in the Liberty work.
- Cindy brought Jade today instead of Ollie and I now understand how she could confuse the two. Jade is his spitting image – perhaps a tad more sensitive and a tad braver about obstacles. A really nice mare who tries really hard for Cindy.
- Cari came with her Smokey and did a lovely soft liberty stick to me, inviting Smokey to explore different obstacles and giving him the time and space he needed to examine them. Made me sigh with pleasure to watch them.
- Deb brought both Dancer and Gabe. What a study in contrasts. Gabe is LBE and self-confident – loves to lie down for Deb, demonstrate how clever he is by entering the inner tube and pivoting in it all by himself. Dancer was less confident and needed a softer touch, longer waiting periods to gain his confidence and offer Deb partnership. What a challenge hopping from Gabe to Dancer and back.
- Speaking of switching horses, Nancy from Grants Pass came to visit and played with both Gabe and Dancer. Nancy is a really good horse hand and has level 3 skills and it showed. Great to have her joining us.
- Amanda brought Saraha and did some really nice on line with him and her first liberty play session in the arena. An exercise in drive and draw and building relationship. Nice.
- Tara was there with Bud – another pleasure to watch the connection between those two and the effort he puts into his Spanish Walk and learning the obeisance.
Overall, the quality of horsemanship in our group just makes me grin and it would be hard to find a nicer, more supportive group of people.
We broke for our potluck lunch and then folks did some riding in the afternoon. Cari worked a bit on riding with energy, relaxation and body language and using her reins or the neck string for effective communication when I called it quits for the day, but I had a smile on my face for a great day. Thanks to you all for making it such a great play date.