Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dodging A Bullet

Siete is not IR, just overweight!! You can imagine how relieved I am to get the news. All week, in the back of my consciousness, I’ve had this nagging nervousness as I waited for the results of her blood test. Finally, yesterday, I couldn’t stand it and I called the vet. She was out and about and didn’t get back to me until after dinner. The results had just come in and my chunky monkey is just plain old fat. So, we’re both on diets, beginning our exercise routines. I’ll show you a “before” photo of Siete, but don’t expect to see one of me until I'm at least ten pounds lighter.

I’ve been occupying myself in my precious few free moments reading Mark Rashid’s new book. I have to say that I am going to finish it and immediately go back to page one to read it again. It’s a winner. LJB at the Horsey Therapist reminded me that we should order it directly from Mark, not from one of the big booksellers. So, here’s the link:

There are two things that he mentions that really speak to me. First, don’t be afraid to make mistakes with your horse. I put so much pressure on myself not to “ruin” Siete. Since Silk was abused before I got her, I’ve tried to be so careful not to do anything that will screw up Siete and make her distrust people. Yet, despite my best efforts, both trainers that I selected after much research and consideration, did things that really caused behavioral problems that didn’t exist before they schooled my horse. So, I’ve grown overly cautious about teaching her bad habits and hesitate to really commit myself to engaging with Siete. She is the only animal that I own that doesn’t have a strong bond with me.

I am so connected to Silk, and I often sense Siete feels it so she becomes jealous. She challenges me over and over, forcing me to reach into places inside myself that are hidden pockets of self-doubt and fear. Of course, I see that this is why she is a great teacher for me, but it makes it hard to let down my guard and have fun with her. My lack of trust in her and in myself is like a high fence between us. As soon as I can get over it, I have a feeling that Siete and I will be able to bond.

The other thing that Mark Rashid said which resonated deep for me is this:
“There is no magic, and training tools and techniques are only as good as the person using them. For me, what it’s all about is getting involved and giving guidance….trying hard, making mistakes, getting it right…falling down, then getting back up again… and most of all becoming part of the process. In short, just learning how to get better at seeing, doing, feeling and understanding.”

I’m going to hang those words in my barn, my kitchen, my bedroom, on the bathroom mirror. What a smart guy, that Mark Rashid.


Grey Horse Matters said...

It's good to hear that Siete is just a chunky monkey and not insulin resistant. That should be easy enough to control, wish someone would give me just exactly what I need to eat to lose weight.
I'll have to check into that new book when I get a chance, it sounds as good as all his other ones.

Anonymous said...

Good news about your fatty! Thanks for your Mark Rashid quotes - I've been very fortunate to have ridden with him in a number of clinics, including two week-longs in Colorado, and audited a bunch more, and think he is one of the best horsemen out there - both in communicating with horses but also in working with their people (which is often the harder part!). I haven't read the new book yet but need to.

Dusty Devoe said...

I"m so glad Siete is just a chunky monkey! I am interested in reading the book. I too am dieting, put on 4 # eating way to many sweets. I will check it out! Have a good day!

Pony Girl said...

Victoria, I had no idea that Silk was 21! I never would have guessed. How old was she when you got her?
I'm so glad Siete is just a little roly poly, not IR!!
Great quote from Mark Rashid...he sounds fabulous and seems to fit my philosophy of horses and training. I must get his book! Have a great weekend!

Lori Skoog said...

Good news for you and your horse. It had to make your day! Could not be better. Do you know about Nutrena Safe Choice? I have two chunkies, and they both lost weight on it. How much grain are you feeding and what is it?

Victoria Cummings said...

Arlene - Thanks and let's be sure to go get an ice cream cone before I buckle down and get serious!

Kate - How fortunate for you to have spent so much time with Mark. Other women may dream of a week at a spa, but my idea of the perfect vacation would be to go to a clinic of his in Colorado.

Thanks Dusty!

Pony Girl - Silk and I have been together for 12 years. Siete will be 7 this month. Time flies!

Lori - We've taken Siete off all grain. She gets 12% supplement from Triple Crown and hay - but not as much hay as she'd like . She's a real vacuum cleaner.

Strawberry Lane said...

Congrats on the "not insulin resistant" blood results for Siete. Since you and I have been walking the same pathway with Siete and Royal, I know how thrilled you are.

Royal's blood work also showed he was not insulin resistant. So we both have lots to celebrate!

Sounds like a great book. Look forward to reading it.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks, Marvel - I'm so glad that Royal is doing well too! These were trying times, weren't they? Let's hope for a peaceful, healthy summer.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Thank you Victoria. Reading Mark Rashid's words over here made me feel a little bit better, too. I know all about falling's the picknig myself back up part I'm struggling with.

I'm glad you received good news about your beautiful girl.

Hugs for you,

deejbrown said...

Sounds like great lessons for life, not just for horse training!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The first time I read one of Mark Rashid's books, I was so inspired that I wrote him a letter. Amazingly, his wife responded on his behalf, because he was out on tour. I didn't expect to get anything in return. Nice people.

My Word Verification is reines... reins.

billie said...

Good news about Siete - here's to a slim young mare and lots of good work this season!

LJB said...

What do you think about the possibility that you and Siete do have a strong bond, it's just that her way of showing it is hard for you to recognize?

Esther Garvi said...

It's funny but now that you mention it, my two favourite dogs after Aslan and Sheba were dogs I didn't own, but we connected in that wonderful way.

I've been thinking about Isolde all weekend and I read you on your thoughts on Siete. But despite me giving Isolde everything that I can, there is bound to be uphills ahead of us. Right now, I am sensing her frustration and I know I can only cure it by taking time and stimulating her. She won't love me just for having bred her. She will only love her if I give her the same trust and attention that I give her mother. And isn't it funny? Arwen is to me what Silk is to you. I could not ask for a better horse. They set the bar quite high for their offspring, don't they? While you work with Siete, I with Isolde and give her my heart and my confidence regardless of whether she will give me mine or not. I think it's time for a long one-on-one walk with my young girl!

Callie said...

Glad to hear the good, well, fat news on Siete! Like my fat monkeys over here! LOL!

Janet Roper said...

Good news about Siete. Glad she's not IR. Good being back here and getting caught up with everything. ;-)

Deborah Carr said...

This is a beautiful post, Victoria, about the deep places of our hearts that are touched by animals and how in their very special way, they 'train' us to be better people.

marymartha said...

I am glad to hear the good news about Siete. What a relief for you!
She's just a curvaceous beauty, or as I tell myself, "fluffy".
I think my animals have been some of my best spiritual teachers I have ever encountered. Its ironic that animals teach us to be better humans isn't it?