I got to do a ground lesson with one of my students yesterday which I was both excited and nervous about. The nervous part was more that teens would rather ride a horse in a lesson than do a ground lesson. I would rather ride a horse in a lesson than do a ground lesson, come to think of it.
But my student and the horse were not particularly getting along. She's been doing very well with the riding aspect as far as not kicking or pulling on his face as much and he balance has become much better, but the dynamic that she doesn't like him and he is wary and defensive was getting in the way of truly successful rides. He did not see her as the leader of the situation in our lessons. He saw me as the only leader so when he would get confused or not understand he would rush over to me (he's a very sweet, sensitive horse) so I thought a ground work lesson would help establish a better relationship between them. And I was happy that my boss was on board with that idea.
Thankfully, my student did not think it was boring or annoying as I had worried she would. We started out with some basic ground/liberty stuff to talk about intention and body language. I tried my best to describe what I was saying but getting my conceptual thoughts out into words coherently is still a challenge so not sure if I succeeded at that. Then we did some free lunging and I started teaching her the concept of leading a horse with your body language, which is hard to explain in one session because there are so many subtle details - it's like you are molding the horses movements by your body - like you're dancing together - and anyone who has done a lot of dance and been the lead in dancing knows there is a lot of subtly you can't quite express all of in just a half hour.
But I felt like it was a great lesson and at the end of it I asked my student to lead the horse across the arena to the door just by having him follow her (no halter or lead rope) and he lowered his head in his relaxed way and followed her licking and chewing and didn't even look twice at me. Which was a huge improvement from the beginning of the lesson when I was on the other side of the arena and she was to interact with him but he had his eye on me the whole time and was mostly ignoring her - waiting for his cue from me on what *I* wanted him to do.
In other news I apparently seem to have developed Sjogren's syndrome, which I'm none too happy about. I haven't had any formal tests but I have all the symptoms and my eye doctor tested my eyes a couple days ago and said they are severely dehydrated. So, now I need to drink more water and put eye drops in my eyes several times a day along with after every half hour I read or am on the computer. She's going to check again in two months and see if my eyes are less dehydrated and if not "ramp up the treatment" ... not sure what that means except putting eye drops in my eyes every five minutes. I actually haven't noticed any difference in my eyes yet (they've been stinging a bit for months now and on really bad days feel like I have grit in them which drives me crazy).
The RA has been acting up again too. By the end of the day I'm hobbling around with a lot of pain in the bottom of my feet - so much so I feel like whining and am constantly wanting to sit down. It helps that I have a job I like (despite I'm on my feet the whole time) because it takes my mind off of it. Although I think I'm going to need to soak my feet in hot water for awhile when I get home. Also, the fatigue is kicking my butt! Good lord. I finally pushed myself to go back to pilates after three weeks yesterday and I felt like just lifting my arms to do the warm-ups was going to crush me. But I also felt a lot better and had more energy by the time the hour was over so I'm glad I did it. I just need to be really conscious of making sure I do lots of self-care. I'm keeping up on my Humira right now which is helping, my eye doctor said to up my Omega 3 intake and that will help, up my vitamin D and I'm going to start making fresh ginger tea in the evenings because that helps inflammation too. And this too shall pass. And I really need to lay off the critical thinking like how I should lose weight to look better and I should be accomplishing more ... blah blah blah. I'm doing pretty damn well for having what some what call "physical disability" (I don't like to use that term in regards to myself because it gets me down and freaks me out) but I do need to realize that I am doing great for where I'm coming from and be kinder to myself and not so critical.
And in Geir news, he is doing wonderfully. My daughter struggled with riding him a bit last week in her lesson because he is very "friends oriented" and when her class was lined up on the wall and it was her turn to take him out in the arena to trot he turned really fast on her and trotted back to the line and she got frustrated and said he "wouldn't listen" to her. It's not that he wouldn't listen, it's that he is like a very large, strong, little kid with very strong ideas. And when he wants to be with his friends, he needs a rider to be "bigger and stronger" (conceptually - not physically) to tell him "No, we're going to do this work and THEN you can go back to hang with your friends". So, he will listen, but you have to let him know he needs to listen to you. That's why he is not good for beginners alone in a class because if you're at all insecure he'll (in a very friendly way) say "Oh, well, if I'm in charge I'm going to stick with my friends!" and galumph over to his friends no matter what the timid little rider is trying to say. But if you catch him *before* he does that he will listen. But you have to catch him as he's giving that subtle cue of asking "Hey - can I go back to my friends?" before he is turned around and heading toward them. So, my daughter and I talked about it and sure enough, when she paid a lot of attention and was able to hear his body language when it said, "Can I turn and go back now?" and she said "No, listen to me," before he had turned to go back to his friends, she was able to ride him successfully even when all the other horses were lined up on the wall and she had to take him out in the arena to trot. I was so proud of both of them!
It's time for my daughter to choose a new song to work on in voice lessons. We just had a recital and she sang Katy Perry's "Roar" and did a surprisingly good job (she comes from a long line of non-talented singers). She chose this song. Which means I will add it to my repertoire of pop songs I am learning to play on piano so I can accompany her when she practices. Oh my.