Thursday, May 17, 2007

Undemanding time - Day 10

I almost cried today. I’m walking towards Jeepers paddock and she sees me, walks to the gate and nickers – that soft heart vibrating sound! I open the gate, and she greets me, follows me to where I set up my chair and sit. She stays with me, just hangs her head in my lap. Sigh (that’s my sigh). Meanwhile Jaz looks on and chases Dreamy away. Dreamy runs into the back paddock. Jaz starts to walk towards me and Jeeps, and Jeeps throws her a look that stops Jaz in her tracks. After a while Jeeps wanders off, keeps Jaz at bay and then starts to eat towards me again.

40 hours to go.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Undemanding time - Day 9

Both Dreamy and Jaz now come over to me. I sit and they take turns wandering over, sniffing my foot, then gently biting it. Does my shoe taste that good? They wander away and they come back for a visit. Jaz makes it very clear she can not figure out what I am doing there. Don’t think she has ever seen someone just be in her paddock. She looks at me with a “what are you doing?” on her face.

Jeepers today spends the whole time eating, but keeps her eyes and one ear on me. In Level 2 we are to view our horses as a ball – move lightly, or a chair – hard to move. I’m beginning to view Jeeps as a chair. Oh my god, I just realized she is mirroring me!

I had to go back to the paddock to put Jeepers fly mask on. As I got near, both Jaz and Dreamy came to the gate.

40.75 hours to go.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Undemanding time - Day 8

Both horses ignored me when I came into the paddock and set up my chair. So I sat and sat, watched Dreamy eat her hay. Jaz in the next paddock came over to the fence line and nibbled the grass and hay that was there, and Cheeta in the diagonal paddock, farthest from me, paced back and forth. Jeepers is standing with her head in the corner of the shelter. After 15 minutes she turns around, completely around, 180 around, and faces me! Stands looking at me for 5 minutes. I glance over, look away, glance over. Then she turns back to her corner. It felt like a window or door opened and then shut. I’m focusing on the opening.

41.25 hours to go.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Undemanding time - Day 7

Okay I skipped a day. Today when I got to the paddock Dreamy came right over to greet me. Funny how these things work, the one you are paying no attention to pays attention to you and the one….. Jeeps was standing with her head in the corner and completely denied my existence for 30 minutes. It just didn’t feel right to me so I put my chair away walked over to her. Still not much of a reaction so I ran my hands all over her, listened to her gut – there is sound – so I got her halter and lead her out to see if she would be interested in grass. Yes! Then I ran into the barn owner and found out the vet had been there last night and Jeepers would not be caught! Wish I had been there. Betrayal. I had asked for her teeth to be checked because since they were floated about 6 weeks ago she has been creating these grass or hay rolls in the cheeks. Was worried she might have a loose tooth. So the vet checked her out and everything appears to be fine. Just Jeepers is feeling woman handled. So we grazed on the edges – weed whacked around the fence posts, gave her a bath.

Incredible how easy it is to change our horse's opinion of you. I hate the idea that she lumps me in with THEM. Back to more undemanding time to make it right

41.75 hours to go! (only counting the undemanding time I spent today)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Undemanding time - Day 6

Writing these posts is really helpful to me. I replay what I observed and get to dwell about what happened.

Jeeps is back in her original paddock, the grid. Today she is in the usual one and the gate is open to the next one where Dreamy and another mare Jaz are. When I sit down Jeeps looks like she is dozing (hard to tell about her eyes because she has a fly mask on, but head is down) with her nose into the corner of the roofed shelter. She notices me and within a couple of minutes she turns around and starts to walk out of the shelter. Just then Dreamy comes from the other paddock, walks thru the gate and positions herself, once again, between Jeeps and me, stopping Jeepers. Arrow #4 Protecting your herd of 2! Jeepers turns around and stands with head back in the corner. Dreamy stands guard for a few more minutes and then ambles towards me, then toward the fence and then she is behind me nosing my hair.

Dreamy leaves me and walks back thru the open gate into the other paddock. 10 more minutes and Jeeps again turns around and Dreamy again comes back thru the gate and this time positions her body so that Jeepers walks thru the gate into the other paddock. Jeeps goes into the shelter but stands parallel to the fenceline with her butt in the corner and I can tell she is looking at me thru the slats of wood. I have watched her in stalls stand along the wall and look thru the crack in the boards to the horse in the next stall. That is how it felt to me. And as soon as I notice this, Dreamy walks to block the view! Arrow #4 Protecting your herd of 2!

Dreamy goes into other paddock. I am left sitting in one paddock, alone, and the three horses are in the next. All I am hoping is that no one from the barn comes down to these paddocks and sees me sitting in an empty paddock with the gate closed. LOL.

So I go back to soaking up the sun, another blue sky afternoon, its in upper 50s today. I've been sitting for about 35 minutes. I'm kind of dozing drifting in the quiet eyes closed. I become aware that there is a change and open my eyes and Jaz has come into "my" paddock and is eating hay on the ground that is about 14 feet from me. I watch her and think she is going to eat her way to me. She gets to about 2 feet from my foot - I'm sitting with my legs crossed and my left foot is sticking out - and Jeepers comes steaming out of the far paddock in a straight line to me and blows Jaz away and touches my foot with her nose and turns around and goes back into the far paddock where Jaz has gone and Dreamy is! WOW! Arrow #4 Protecting your hear of 2! I became her herd of 2 today. For the moment.

42.25 hours to go!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Undemanding time - Day 5

Quiet day. Went early this morning, Jeeps and Dreamy were just eating their hay. What was very interesting was when I placed my chair and sat down about 8 feet from Jeepers, she backed up. Threshold! So I moved my chair about 2 more feet away and she returned to her original position. How cool is that?!?!?

She and Dreamy swapped piles a couple of times. You know one moves to the other's pile and that one moves to the now empty pile.

After about 40 minutes Dreamy is closer to me but still eating and Jeepers leaves her pile and positions herself between me and Dreamy! This is the first time she has done this. Feeling confident are we? Because I have to be honest and say while I am observing both of them, I am how shall I say this, more interested in Jeepers and what Dreamy does is of interest in relation to Jeeps.

Maybe just maybe I am beginning to appear interesting enough for her assert her Alpha position in relation to me and Dreamy?

When I left the paddock even though I was planning on playing with her I decided to leave with my chair and then come back. Wanted our undemanding time to be just that, no hidden agendas like sit for a while then get halter and lead her away. So I left and returned maybe 10 minutes later. When she saw me - okay she didn't come to me - but she did lift her head and welcome the halter.

Went on a trail ride and she lost a shoe - got sucked off in that mud Lida has been complaining about. So no riding tomorrow.

43 hours left.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Undemanding time - Day 4

Today Jeepers and her best bud Dreamy are in a different paddock with hay. This is a larger paddock and they are both eating at their respective piles when I get there. The sun is bright and I want to sit partially in the shade. I have to put my chair about 10 - 12 feet from Jeeps. I place the chair at the very edge of the sun/shade line and while Jeeps is eating facing south I sit facing north/east.

I do not immediately realize it but I am in her zone 4. I notice this when
almost immediately she backs up to put me in her zone 3. Hmmm how interesting. Now she stands and eats, and eats. Dreamy is eating about 8 feet away from her. Over the next 20 minutes or so Jeeps backs some more til I am in Zone 1. We are basically parallel. Then she slowing turns and faces her butt to me. Dreamy comes over to smell me and nibble and then walks past. And then comes to stand between me and Jeepers. Hmmm, how interesting.

The dance that is happening is amazing to watch. I see confident and then unconfidence and later confidence. I can clearly see Jeepers' thresholds.

With Dreamy between us she can advance towards me. Then at around 8 feet there is a threshold and she turns around and walks rather quickly over to Dreamy's pile of hay, around 20 feet away (I am visualizing the 12ft line and the 22ft line on the ground between us). Now she is confident again and relaxes and eats and wanders over to the water bucket for a drink and back to the hay. This is all done with relaxation in her body. And when she is eating she is facing directly towards where I am sitting. And slowly over another 20 - 30 minutes she keeps taking small steps towards me. I am thinking, hmmm guess I'll hang out some more and see if she can make it all the way to me. Oh no expectations, darn. So I sit and watch out of the corner of my eyes some more. Just when I feel she will walk in one straight line to me, Dreamy goes and positions herself once again between us. Perpendicular to me - a barrier between me and Jeeps.

More time and Jeepers walks around Dreamy toward me, oops toward the pile of hay nearer me. She is still facing me and as the minutes go by, no way am I going to leave and miss the ending here, she slowly comes closer and closer, occasionally lifting her head a looking at me. She gets to about 5 - 6 feet from me and and Dreamy appears and once again positions herself between us. Jeepers backs up. I've been with the two of them for a hour and a quarter by now and feel this dance can go one forever. Advance, retreat, advance, partner up, retreat.

This is so fascinating. I'm having a blast! Right now it feels like there is so much going on the time is flying. I can't wait for next installment. Using Lida's calculations of 48 hours I have only 44.+ left.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Undemanding time - Day 3

Savvy Arrow #4 Protecting your herd of 2

Within two minutes of sitting down Jeepers' girlfriend Dreamy came over to check me out. Up to this point she has taken a few steps but not come over. Starting at my boot nibbled and lipped me to the top of my head! Even tried to take a bite of the chair. Then wandered back to Jeeps.

The paddock is actually a large rectangle that is divided into four with a roofed structure in the middle. Usually when I get there Jeepers is standing with her head into the corner of the shelter. She's in the shade and it is the coolest place and therefore least amount of the small black bugs.

On Day 2 I noticed that she actually stepped even closer to the corner - her butt is my way while I sat. And Dreamy seems to be between me and Jeepers.

Today I have to say there was a break thru! After Dreamy's visit 25 minutes passed. I'm sitting in the sun, facing away from them. I have to turn my head to see what is happening. I am dozing and hear some rustling. I glance over and Jeepers has turned around!!!! She is now facing out of the shelter!!!! I realize I have to contain my excitement. LOL. Inside I'm yelling yes yes yes! She is parallel to me, but with her head behind the support post so that I do not have a clear view of her.

Go back to looking away and close my eyes again. After a while I glance over at her and I can see her nose is now on the other side of the post. It takes another 20 minutes before her whole head is clear.

Now here is the interesting part to me - when Zone 3 clears the post - another 10 minutes - she now WALKS directly in a straight line to the fence. All I could think of was Linda's trailer loading from the LHB. She nibbled grass for a few minutes, was very animated - unconfident? And then walked back to the security of the shelter and her girl friend.

I sat for just another couple of minutes and left, to released the pressure. So just by sitting in her paddock I am putting pressure on her. Hmmm how interesting.

I used to sit in her paddock and she would graze all around me, wanting especially the grass that was under my feet. That quiet time was over a year ago. And there has been a lot of disruption, angst, and emotional upheaval in our lives in the interim. I realize, now, that I have been getting her from her paddock, taking her away from her girl friends, doing something and then putting her back. No time for just the two of us - protect your herd of 2. As I have been sitting, she has made it clear that she is suspicious of what I want, what am I going to do. She has all the time in the world as she made apparent with the slow reveling herself, as opposed to my thinking I have only so much time to spend sitting. She taught me a very valuable lesson today. I can't wait for tomorrow to find out what she will teach me next.

No assumptions, no expectations. How much more Zen can one get?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Undemanding time - Day 2

Day 2 of sitting in paddock.....Jeepers is showing wonderful focus at ignoring me. Her girl friend turned and looked at me and wandered a couple of steps towards me after only 10 minutes. But then went back to Jeeps. So I sat there alone for 45 minutes. Lucky thing the weather is so nice.