We had an unusual clinic at the barn a couple weeks ago, an animal communicator. We used Portland local, Joanna at The Wild Thread. A few people in the barn had used her before and Trainer A did a telephone session with her in December and raved about it. We were able to get a group of 6 together and Joanna came out to the barn for in person sessions.
I had signed up for the Equestrian Growth Session, which was 30 minutes communicating with Cinder, and 30 minutes focused on my growth, what's blocking or holding me back, and what to do about it. Trainer A asked if she could sit in on my session with me, and I happily agreed. I figured she has insight into Cinder that I don't have, and I would want her there when we talked about my issues and what Joanna recommended for them.
Joanna's first comment about Cinder was that she had a big voice and was easy to talk to. And that Cinder said she was my baby. The session officially started with a quick body scan of Cinder and Joanna said that her mouth was sore. A and I said at the same time that we have the dentist booked in February, and laughed. Cinder also said that her bit was ok, but she'd like a straight bar bit, something without joints in it. Not the bit A or I would have expected, but we said we could do that.
Switching the bit was like riding a whole new horse. Cinder was soft and stretchy and A said she thought it would take a year in the old bit to get Cinder to where she was 30 minutes into the ride with the Mullen mouth. We'd been struggling a little with the Myler, but not to the point where we thought it was the bit, more of a "Cinder is five and its winter and we're asking for more and it's a struggle" thing. Riding her in the Mullen mouth is fun and easy and I feel like we can actually work on things rather than struggle to get a basic connection. I never would have tried this bit without Joanna.
|Unicorn stuffy for my unicorn|
Cinder also said she wants toys to play with, but soft toys. She's a pretty busy horse and has destructive tendencies, so I've been hesitant to buy her soft toys. She's had jolly balls but doesn't play with them. I figured why not, and got a few stuffies and so far they've lasted and she's playing with them without ripping them apart.
Finishing off the body scan, Cinder said that her hocks were sore as well. I asked about ulcers and Cinder came back with an emphatic "I do not have ulcers." She did say she liked the new girth I had just bought (and used like 3 times on her), saying she could breathe better in it. I had been reading about different shaped girths and what shape works with what body type and ordered a Mattes athletico girth during Hufglocken's Christmas sale. I'm glad she liked it because it was total impulse/what the hell am I doing purchase.
|Girth and mullen mouth in action. Next order of business, get my saddle fit checked|
We then moved onto training issues. Cinder said she's still not 100% certain when to leave the ground when jumping, and likes to hear when she's done a good job. I told her I'm not 100% certain when to leave the ground either, but I'll always tell her when she's good or saves my butt. She also likes showing off her fancy feet, which we took to mean strutting around on the flat, so I told I'll enter more flat classes at shows. A asked about why Cin can be hesitant at water and Cinder said she doesn't like not being able to see bottom of puddles or stepping in the mud. We told that we would never put her in an unsafe water obstacle and that she can trust us when we ask her to go into the water.
For the rider growth part of the session, I told Joanna that I have a fair amount of anxiety, especially about seeing distances to jumps, and that's what I want to focus on overcoming in my riding. She scanned me and said I was sitting in a room cluttered with ribbons, old memories, and expectations. My perfectionist tendencies want to get everything squared away, but there was too much for that to happen. I need to let things go (not the first time I've been told this) and embrace doing things wrong. Find the wrong distance, the wrong number of strides, jump on the wrong lead. Joanna also suggested A put me on the lunge line and have me ride around with my eyes closed or with no stirrups, to get a better feel for things and to be ok giving up control. It honestly sounds slightly terrifying, but in a good way. We haven't been able to implement the lunge line into lessons yet, but I'm hoping we do soon.
I was very, very impressed with Joanna and the session. Both A and I came away with great insight into Cinder. I highly recommend her and I will most definitely be doing future sessions with her.