Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lesson 2 with Cherokee

It is absolutely incredible what horses can do for people with depression, anxiety, low self esteem, etc.

I had my second riding this morning, and I feel so amazing right now. Even though it wasn't a super successful lesson, I feel like I could fly. Horses are literally the best kind of therapy for me. I've known that for a long time...and even on nights when I feed it helps, just being around them. But when I ride, it's like every bad thing about life doesn't even matter anymore. I just love it. :)

Now, onto the lesson. I had some trouble today. We worked on turns first. Worked on looking before rein. But my problem is when I go to use my rein I always go out with a leading rein, because that's what I was always told to do. x) Lisa said "look at you, Miss Western, with that leading rein. Now give me an English rein!" xD

So I have to remember rein to belly button, not out. I was getting the hang on if by the end of the lesson.

Elastic elbows was much easier at the walk this time. Cherokee pretty does all that for me, as soon as I can loosen my elbows enough!

We started some trotting. Cherokee has a fast but smooth trot. I had trouble keeping contact with the reins, because the trot is so much different. But my main problem was my legs and seat. As soon as I went into the trot I was way back on my tailbone. I have to remember to sit up on the three points of my pelvis more, and I have to remember to keep my legs back (sitting back on the tailbone brings the legs forward). She also keeps telling me to tighten my legs. Not squeezing hard, but just enough to help Cherokee stay collected. Then she was telling me toes up and out, and pinch my shoulders, stick out my heart....I must have looked like a ragdoll flopping around. x)

But right at the end, I got it just enough that I felt the difference, and so did Cherokee. He was much happier! We ended with that, since it was a success.

It'll just take practice for me to remember all of that at once. today made me realize that I have many habits to break, and many more make!

Friday, March 27, 2015

First lesson at Holistic Horsemanship!

First of all, here is the link to Holistic Horsemanship's website:

I am in love with this place. :)

My first lesson was last night. As part of my training I have to take so many hours of lessons, observes so many hours of lessons, etc.

I learned that pretty much everything I have been taught thus far was very western, which is fine, because I think I am naturally more of a western rider. However, Lisa is switching me to english riding, because most of the students I will be teaching are english students.

I am learning how to keep contact with the horse's mouth, how to have elastic elbows, how to keep contact with my legs, etc. It's all very different...I have some habits to break.

I love the way Lisa teaches though. She always makes sure to give me a reason why something works. She tells me WHY we do this instead of this, WHY we have this...she gives me a reason behind the theory, which is EXACTLY what I need in order to retain knowledge! If You just hand me a rule and say "we do it this way cuz it works", that means nothing to me. I have know WHY it works. Otherwise I forget. I believe this is the main reason why I do not understand math! x)

I rode Cherokee, who was one of the first horses to ever greet me at HH. He was of course, a dream. On ground he is definitely a left-brain introvert. I've known that for months. On his back though, he is more of a go horse. And he loves cones. Must step on all of the cones in the arena! :)

One note I should probably put here: At HH, Lisa does not use Parelli Natural Horsemanship. Many of her students came to her because PNH failed them. And I understand why it failed them- they got confused, and got their horse all confused, and now they have a huge mess to clear up. That's the only reason why PNH can fail, in my opinion. And it is easy to get confused with PNH, so I certainly don't blame anyone or point any fingers, but Lisa made sure that I understand that she does not plan on starting to use PNH on her farm.

I am willing to comply with this. Almost everything Lisa does anyway is literally PNH. Literally the same. And the root foundation I have in PNH will help me considerably, I know. The psychology of it. I still do not like getting on a horse without ground working it first, but oh well. Until I have my own farm where I can do things 100% my way, I will gladly comply with Lisa's rules and theory. She is very good about discussing things with me when I get confused, so if I find what I think is a kink, I'm sure she will be willing to explain to me why she does this a certain way.

Next lesson is on Thrusday morning! :)

Two Years.

Two years. Wow.

A lot has changed in the last two years...I don't even really know where to start. x)

Perhaps one of the biggest changes is that I no longer live at home. I am out living on my own now. I didn't exactly leave home on good terms, but I've made it work. Things between me and my family are much better now than they were when I left. I usually go home to visit at least once a week. I would probably move back home in a heartbeat if I could...but I guess that's what growing up feels like. :/

FYI, being an adult sucks. x) get to have your own rules and stuff but nothing- I repeat, NOTHING- could have prepared me for this. Note to parents or future parents: you can tell your kids that being an adult is hard a million times, and it still won't prepare them!

Anywho, just rambling. x) What else?

I have a boyfriend now. Jon and I have been dating for almost two years now. I met him a few months before I left home, which was actually right after I quit writing here. He's an first and my last. :)

Right before I left home, the anxiety that I always knew was lurking inside me came out full force. This, of course, leads to mild depression, which means the optimistic Maggie has been buried. I have become a pretty hardcore pessimist on the outside, which is something I am trying to work on. It's just hard.

Since I don't live at home anymore, I don't have my precious flock of chickens, ducks, and geese anymore. All of them are gone. I know that's a huge part of my depression. My life will never be complete without my birds. I don't have my bunnies anymore. I sold them, and my baby Buster Brown died of old age. Shelby, my cockatiel, died as well, but I'm not sure why. He wasn't old, and seemed to be in perfect health. My two precious cats are both gone. I believe we had a mountain lion roaming at home (there have been confirmed sightings in the feild directly behind our house), and the monster got a hold of Jackie. One night I came home and bent down to pet him in the dark, and instead stuck my hand in a massive wound on his neck. It was so deep and horrendous I don't know how he was still living. He didn't even seem to be in pain. Every piece of the inside of his body was visible. We had him put down. Several months later my baby girl Sweetie disappeared. I'm positive it was the lion. The fact that I don't have her body or have any closure kills me everyday.

So yeah....there's a good chunk of what moved along the depression. x)

I live in a subdivision now. I rent a room out in my boss's house, actually. x) I owe my boss so much....she has been an incredible friend and has helped me out in so many ways...I will never be able to fully repay her. As grateful as I am to have a place to live, subdivision life is not my thing!! Too crowded, too noisy, and zero privacy. x) I have filled the gap in my heart with a few new pets. They are like therapy. Without them, I don't know what I'd do. I currently have 9 adult leopard geckos. Some are used for breeding, and I have two babies hatched out for this season thus far, with several more batches in the incubator! I also have Brutus Jr., my bearded dragon, Chinook, my hedgehog, and Zorro, a cockatiel. And of course, I do still have Cooper, my precious puppy!!

About six months after I moved out I had to quit working for June. I had started a medication to help with some pain, and it basically triggered a deformity in my lower back that was so excruciatingly painful, I could not move without crying. I ended up going to urgent care (first visit ever in my life x)), and was told that I could either go off the medication and deal with the pain, or stay on the medication and do stretching exercises to strenghten the muscles in my back. I opted for the second option. However, it was a many weeks before I could even bend down halfway. So I unfortunately had to move on from June's. I do still talk to her. How could I not? She taught me so much....I still get antsy every evening when feeding time rolls around. I guess my brain is still programmed to go feed every night. x)

I am no longer active in 4-H, unfortunately. I still am in contact with everyone and visit when I can. I would go to help teach in an instant if I could, but alas, gas is expensive, and I am poor. x)

What other big life changes have I had...? I am still working at the petstore and loving it. I was working full time for a long while, but my hours got cut back recently, giving me a little more free time. I started a second job last September, which has brought on an incredible opportunity for me.

There is a place about ten minutes from where I live, called Holistic Horsemanship. It is owned and run by Lisa Wynne, who I kind of met by accident at Mrs. Wilson's one day. Once I realized who she was I was in awe. Anyway, she had been in need of extra help cleaning and feeding around the farm, so she had emailed me and asked if I was interested. Of course I was! I currently feed for her three nights a week, and I also house sit for her if she needs to go out of town. She has become one of my closest friends very quickly...we think alike in many ways, and I know I can trust her with absolutely anything.

I have wanted to take lessons from her for a very long time, but I never have been able to quite afford it. That all changed just this month. :)

Lisa has an apprenticeship program every year, which is basically two weeks of of intense riding and training and learning about farm management and such. I have wanted to do it so bad, but couldn't afford it. Momma and Daddy surprised me this year by offering to pay for it for me, since they know that my life goal is to run my own farm and teach horses and riders partnership. I was ecstatic. :)

About the same time, Lisa had asked if we could sit down and talk about my career goals. She said she wanted to help me, regardless of what my goals were. I explained to her that my goals were much the same as what she was already doing, and she surprised me by showing me her instructor certification program. I didn't know she had one, because she does not advertise it. She asked if it was something I would be interested in, and I of course said yes! To become an instructor, and to study under HER??? A dream come true!!

So, I am officially starting the program. The money that momma and daddy offered to pay for the apprenticeship they have put towards this instead as the down payment. We have worked out a system so that I can pay the rest off to Lisa as I go, and also pay off my parents as I go. I had my first riding lesson last night. I hadn't been on a horse in eleven months. I learned so much in just one hour!!

So, I am going to be an instructor for Lisa. I still am in shock...I don't know how all of this happened, but I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and for the people that helped get me here!

I am hoping to use this place as a way to write out what I learn so I can sort my thoughts better. Posts may be far and few between though, since most nights when I get home I just crash into bed. x)

But anywho, hello again. It's good to be back, in some manner. x)