While I was working with Lil' Richard I thought I'd try out some Tai Chi breathing techniques that I'd learned with hubby last week.
One of the exercises is called the "Horse Stance", it is a way of being in the 'now' and present and controlling your breathing and becoming totally tension free.
So Lil' Richard was doing very well, but I wondered if I couldn't make him relax and come to me easier.
Well, it couldn't hurt could it? Besides, I needed to practice my Tai Chi before we had another session.
So I had Lil' Richard standing facing me after a 'whoa'. I took the Horse Stance, and then began letting the tension out of my shoulders, and letting my whole body relax into my breathing.
I concentrated on watching Lil' Richards knees. Pretty soon he began to drop his head lower and lower. He began to lick his lips and look totally relaxed.
I took my baby finger and lifted slightly on the rope. Lil' Richard quietly walked into me and took a deep breath. He was totally relaxed.
I couldn't believe it. Well really, I could, because I am well aware that a tense wired up person near a horse will make that horse -- or any animal -- tense themselves. I've always practiced relaxed body riding. So this made perfect sense.
I wanted to make sure that this was not a fluke so I worked him a bit more and tried a more aggressive stance. Lil' Richard ignored my commands and picked up the pace.
I returned to the relaxed breathing and body stance. Lil' Richard progressed rapidly and willingly.
He is a an older pony, somewhere between 17 and 19. I figured this would be an impossible job. But I think he is enjoying the work.
Later I brought Siera in the round pen so that the sand could dry out her feet and I could check on her frogs. She thought that she'd just nag at the gate to get back out with her friends. After asking her to work whenever she misbehaved, she settled in.
Siera then heeled me for the next 30 minutes, while I cleaned the roundpen.
I stood in front of her and did my relaxation technique. Siera watched me and soon dropped her head and stood quietly as if she had not a care in the world.
I'd like to call it magic. But it isn't. It is just body language and it shows how quickly and animal can pick up on it.
Hopefully today will be the day that Lil' Richard gets to try a bridle and we get to our first ride by the weekend.