This blog is dedicated to my friend, my mentor, and the best teacher I have ever had. Without him, I would not have embarked on this amazing journey. Split, this blog is for you!
Ponderosa Misty Icon, aka "Split," is a handsome gray Welsh pony who came to me via a phone call "out of the blue" (actually Peterborough, Ontario). Our first few months together were rocky to say the least, which made me question my ability as a horse owner, as a horsewoman, and as a rider. Forty years of horse ownership had not prepared me for this little gray pony!
But we muddled through and because of Split, I have begun a journey that is both spiritual and enlightening. I hope something here resonates with you and that you'll check back now and then.
We leave you with one of our favorite quotes: "The best whisper is a click!"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Where did Monday go?

Where DID Monday go? Sure flew by me like Chuck Yager on a misson..............
I first met Mary Arena back in the '80's when we both rode at a place called Sunrise Hill Farm. Sunrise Hill focused on Sally Swift's principles of centered riding and we often had Sally herself in for clinics. I liked Mary right away - she always had a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, even when falling off of her beloved horse, Duncan, while saluting the judge at a dressage show! The saddle slipped and so did Mary but I have to say that her aim is impeccable - I believe her bottom landed directly on X!! (Sorry, Mary, but that's one of my favorite stories! ha ha) Sunrise Hill underwent some changes and moved out of the area, and Mary and I lost touch. Many years and horses later, we found ourselves at a cook-out hosted by a friend who founded CRNY-Horsewomen, an on line group for women interested in all facets of horses and horsemanship. One member whom I had already met walked over and said, "This is my friend, Mary Arena."
I was so surprised and delighted at seeing Mary again after all those years that I impulsively threw my arms around her neck and squealed, "Mary!" I'm sure I shocked the daylights out of her - how rude! But Mary being Mary, she just smiled and laughed at my enthusiasm. While getting caught up with each other's lives, I told her my tale of woe about Brick and about being run away with while riding Split. I then went on to tell her that we were currently following a natural horsemanship program that involved a big orange stick, knotted halter, and very expensive dvd's. I expressed enthusiasm for the program and blathered on and on about how much it had helped Split and me but you can't fool Mary Arena. She has this uncanny ability to "read" people's energy and to see right through all the "b.s." The truth is that this "system" was not working for us. The premise of "upping the phases" was insulting to Split and exhausting for me. If he didn't do as requested by my poking him with a finger or the orange stick, I was supposed to poke him harder, then harder still, then harder.......you get the idea.
Never was it suggested that I try to understand WHY my pony wasn't responding.....just "poke harder." That's a simplification but basically if you didn't get the response you wanted with the "lightest phase," then you "upped the phases." More than once Split gave me his, "But I'm trying as hard as I can! Why are you poking me harder?" look. It broke my heart but hey, the dvd's told me and showed me that's what I should do. And the people who made the dvd's were gazillionaires with this system so it must be ME doing something wrong!
My relationship with Split was one of, "Here's your hay. Here's your water. I'll groom you now. I'm going to clean the stall now. Bye." It was surface only. I loved him because he was so kind and gentle to be around but there was no deep connection, no real communication, NO FUN! Not wanting to cry "uncle" again, I persevered with my orange stick and knotted halter but every time we worked together, Split and I ended up being frustrated and angry with one another. But was I going to admit that to Mary Arena? Heck, no! She suggested that I might want to try giving clicker training a go. Yeah, I'd heard about that. But NO WAY was I going to resort to bribing my horse to behave. I wasn't about to have a horse who wore a sign that said, "Will work for food." Uh-uh. MY horse was going to do as I asked because I SAID SO. Mary smiled and said, "Ok." She respected my opinion. Of course she did. I'd had horses for almost 40 years! I knew what I was doing! Naturally, I skittered out of that conversation as quickly as possible. She had to know I was lying through my teeth about that orange stick......I WAS lying about that orange stick. Still.................bribery? I don't think so!!
We always seem to get angels in our lives just when we most need them. We might not even know they're angels at the time but looking back...........

We leave you with this quote for today:

"A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape." Mark Twain

Neither can a round pony! We're still modifying.......and I don't think that either of will ever be totally "square!" In fact, I don't think I WANT us to be square! Good-bye, orange stick!
Have a great day, friends!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Karleen,

    Thanks for bringing back a long forgotten memory! LOL! I remember the kind judge who let me have a "do over"! Duncan was such a gem!

    Sand Lake,NY