Monday, November 19, 2007

BFO. Blinding Flash of the Obvious. That is what we call it when we have a sudden, blinding insight, an "oh, DUH" moment during horseplay. I've been having a lot of those lately.

Last week, I was playing in the round pen with Cheerios. This was just after playing with a visiting yearling at the BM's request. The yearling was in for "training"—respect and manners—and I suspect the BM wanted to confirm her suspicions that it wasn't the horse, it was the owner. Meaning, she knew she could get the horse to respond, because that's what she does (train and give riding lessons). She wanted to see if someone else could get a response, I think, especially a non-trainer.

Of course, I got great responses, bonded with the filly, fell in love, and wanted to buy her. Of course, she's for sale. Of course, I can't justify it because the BM might raise board in January (due to rising hay/bedding costs) nor can I justify a horse that will need far more attention than I'm already (not) giving my Levels Partner. Plus I'm only L1 officially.

But it did soften the way I asked, and that carried over to Cheerios, and was I surprised to get BETTER responses from a light suggestion. I know that's the tip of the iceberg, that there is subtlety I'm missing with regard to when he changes from LB Confident to RB Unconfident and so on, but it was a major BFO.

Then I mounted up bareback, just to do Passenger Lessons. I just wanted to sit on him. Move with him. Remember how to do that. Because last time I tried to ride, I realized, dear me, I've forgotten how to trot. Yes. I've been that lackadaisical this year. I've fallen away.

I shut my eyes and just "listened" to him with my body as he stood there. The oddest thing happened. I suddenly became acutely aware of his body under mine, and acutely aware of the most incremental shifts in his balance or stance. Just standing still, he had to focus carefully on maintaining his balance, or rather, balancing me. If I shifted ever so slightly, he had to shift to accommodate my shift. Likewise, I could feel him swaying beneath me—swaying I say, but if you looked at us you wouldn't see it—and I had to focus on maintaining my own balance point.

It wasn't like big human sitting on broad backed beast anymore. It was like gigantic upside-down pyramid poised on top of gigantic right-side up pyramid, where the only contact point, the balance point, is the tippy tops of the pyramids. Any great shift would cause it to topple.

It dawned on me just how difficult it must be for a horse to carry a human rider, and why some horses are just plain impossible to ride no matter how well balanced you are—it's because THEY have not learned how to carry themselves balanced, let alone with weight added. Then toss an unbalanced rider into the mix—disaster.

Now THAT is a BFO.

Cheerios received many apologies that day.

We have a round pen now, btw, thanks to me and my generosity. I bought the panels and gate and helped assemble it, and the BM is paying me back in board trade. They also fenced in the back pasture so there is a riding area now. Perfect timing, Winter is here. Of course. But that's all right. I'm thoroughly studying L&HB and will be well prepared come first thaw.

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