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March 2015 Sandbox Session

Posted by Lynn Elston on March 22, 2015 at 8:35 PM

Greetings, Herdmates...

Yesterday afternoon's Sandbox Session was full of learning opportunities and smiles!  We tried some new things and had great success!  The pics from yesterday's event are posted in this website's Photo Gallery...put it on slide show or select individually, to read the story line-captions.

We started with Karen's cute pony, Hunter.  He's 11 years old, roughly.  Karen rescued him and has been trying the Liberty things she's learned from her Liberty lessons with Sylvia Zerbini and her one seminar with Robin.  Karen's done some wonderful things with and for Hunter...the two of them had an obvious bond!!  However, when karen left the arena, we began to see a different pony...

The pony we had, that day, was very intimidated by Nancy's proximity to the treats.  He would approach very respectfully, cautiously, and, when Nancy held the bowl out he would try to grab a treat and then dash off.  So, we had a lot of "Push" and very weak "Draw."  The session was a lovely demonstration of Nancy allowing Hunter to work out his own trepidations and come, in his own time, to get the treats he wanted without resistence. 

This was a very quiet session, during which the Auditors' stand was abuzz with questions about what and why things were as they were.  In true Sandbox session style, we discussed and wondered, got off track, refocused and kept watching.  It was a very rewarding session.  The progress that Hunter made was not "dramatic" but it was entirely significant in his life make-up!!

It was raining when we started with Hunter, but the sun came out when we were finished.  So we all moved up to the big grass pasture to see how and what Nancy, Brenda and I could do with our horses, pitted against their third time turned out on the luscious new grass!!  Results were incredible, satisfying and such fun.

All of the boys did their "Head Up" when asked, were willing to companion walk with us and were happy to participate in some of the playful and treat rewarding activities we invited them into.  The grass draw would sometimes divert them, so we'd just continue to be present to the situation and move towards being together.  Some leading from behind was involved, at times...especially for me and my grass eating machine, Moon!!!

The pasture session ended with all four horses playing the Bowl Symphony, with Nancy and then with both Nancy and me.  One bowl of LMF Senior Feed, four horses and Nancy or me in charge of who got to come in and eat and then stop eating and back off.  I call it the Symphony game because, as lead mare, you are like a symphony conductor:  asking one section to bring up their energy and signalling others to damp it down, concurrently!  It's fascinating!

Our next adventure was to invite the horses to come with us back down to the arena.  There had to be some visiting with Karen's pony and some grass sampling, but within a satisfyingly short time, we had three of our guys down in the arena. 

I had asked Moon to come with me, but, as he got to the pasture gate he decided he just could NOT leave all that grass and left me.  In going after him, Yogi came up to me and darn near volunteered himself!!  I am not one to look a black and white gift horse in the mouth...so off we went. ( I went back and got Moon much later

Yogi was great!  He was being so in with me that, before we entered the arena, he agreed to show everyone his new trick of getting all four big feet on the elephant stand.  A few of the auditors and I got to watch as he stood still on the stand, and went away from himself, processing whatever.  And, we could see when he came back and continued happily to come with me.  Fascinating!

In the arena, the three of us demonstrated lots of things that a horse and human, in the Bond, can do together.  The pics will show you Nancy and CJ's adventures through the tarp/gate...something that most folks can't get their horses to do with a rope and halter!!!  We demonstrated some bowl games, behavior reward games (Touch it.) and gate opening and object relating games.

We played the "I'm on the mounting block what are you going to do about it?" game wherein Brenda, or Christian ( my new barn manage who is in LOVE with Yogi and with Liberty) or me, would step up onto the top step of the mounting black and wait.  The horse would come around and place himself in the perfect position for mounting.  Then we'd jack-knife over his back and have him carry us to the feed bowl!!  A fun twist on "getting on and riding."

Towards the end of the session, my two boys, Yogi and Moon began to groom on each other big time.  They are not particularly close, and I have only seen them do this one other time.  I left them alone for quite a while, so they could enjoy what they were doing.  But, then I decided to see if I could get them to leave their fun and do something with me...just like the green grass in the pasture.  I was testing the bond. Sure enough, each one of them came away (albeit, in Moon's case, reluctantly) and gave me his attention.  I did something very minor with each and then let them go back to their newfound fun!!

So, lots of things went on, lots of being inside the bond and lots of losing the bond and getting it back.  Reports from the auditors were that watching this was very informative and helpful.

Thanks to all of you who attended.  Your questions and comments were really great!  It was a delight to share the afternoon with you.  Nancy, Brenda and I hope you all learned as much and enjoyed yourselves as much as we did!!!


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