There are things I learn a hundred thousand times, and things that never quite make sense. Release is the first -- I've learned its importance over and over again, like I've always known it and yet continually learn it. But perfect practice? One I never feel perfect. And two, perfect is the enemy of good. I'm pretty sure there are more quotes about that too.
But I did experience something about perfect practice the other day. I got Jin from the field, and now she is again out in the big front field with about ten other horses so it is a bigger deal to go get her. Probably is for her too although she seems to be doing fairly well there. And the first thing was that all the horses were waaaay in the front but as soon as I caught sight of her over the rise, I whistled and her head came up, and after a short pause to look around she started toward the gate between the field she was in and the one I was in. She didn't trot but she sure came steadily. It was heartwarming. Since the rest of the horses had not come, we just led by liberty to the gate.
I put the halter on her and got her through the gate then turned her loose to get the gate and she very quickly said, "Grass. Over here. See ya." Ok. Message received.
I've worked with Jin a relatively long time. She knows how to saddle, and how to saddle correctly, how to stand still. She's always wanted to move a little forward, especially if I do it in the stall, but she knows, especially in the hallway. I haven't tied her or gotten someone to hold her in forever. But I also know that the last few times I've saddled, which have usually been with some kind of hurry, she didn't stand so well.
So there we are, in the hallway, and I decide that yes, I'm going to insist you do this correctly. If that is all I have time to do today, we will do that. Just like with a colt I throw the pad a few times, correct a few times. No big deal. She stands with the lead just resting over my arm. I pick up the saddle. And make her step back. She's very soft about it, not resistant, not scared. I start with the saddle. And make her step back. In the end I probably threw the saddle (well, not throw) seven or eight times. It was just a step. But I did it until she didn't do it.
And what I thought about was all the times I hadn't insisted on that. Because it was "just a step". Because she was soft and not resistant and not scared.
We have a big fancy expensive dressage horse boarder and for all his training, he doesn't know how to lead. Because no one ever taught him, or expected it of him. And I thought then that I just wasn't expecting enough of Jin.
Sometimes I don't know what to expect, what to release for. Sometimes I waller through stuff trying to get to something to release for. But not that time. And yet I had neglected that looking for other things.
As Kathleen said recently, " If you build your loop with a twist built in it, you're going to end up with a loop with a twist in it." I don't know a thing about roping (at least not yet) but even I can understand that.
We had a lovely ride in the fields, after some groundwork and after I insisted that yes, she was too going on.