Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

"Picture the feeling" ( the ramble as promised )

So I will throw a few pics in here for entertainment but mostly it is a classic Fern Valley  ramble.
As I said in the last post the key words in my head about this particular wander through the cobwebs of my mind are;
Energy, resistance, biofeedback, working with young horses, working with young people, relationships, life.

So Energy and resistance , we something I talked about a while back in this post Resistance is Futile but it fits here too. 
What I said ,in short was the greater the energy can equal greater resistance, where patience,and gentle pressure together create softness and success.

So Picture the feeling? While working with a couple of the young people I see as an EAPD coach , we talk about how things feel when they are going well, and also when they are going badly.Put into context with the horses, especially Tango lately we see the successes when the kids are calm ,using low peaceful energy and creating a flow.  Pictured below at liberty and on a lead, this young horse is moving with them softly and willingly. So in carrying that lesson forward we talk about the "feeling " that creates, and what it would look like in a picture. 

 An example of what I am trying to say for me, when things are going well with a horse I am working , the "picture I feel" is a gentle stream, rolling over rocks and sparking in the sun.Peaceful, pretty and refreshing, I can almost taste the sweetness of the cool water.
When things are going badly, I would say the feeling looks more like dry jagged gravel , hard ,harsh and unforgiving . 
So what feeling do I want to picture when I head out to work with the horses? or with people for that matter?  
Both of the youngsters I see  struggle with sibling conflicts and anger management some of the work I have done has been geared towards that . Finding a balance of energy and resistance , and teaching them that it is not necessary to engage in every battle that is presented. Just like in working horses, it is not always necessary to "win the battle " but to teach a better way or disengage from the behavior. IE when a horse pulls back, pulling harder on the rope is not likely to help, nor is chasing them yelling and flailing . Sometimes you have to disengage them from the fight and sometimes you .Bringing up and old blog post from long ago, sometimes its OK to let go of the rope.

An adult I recently  did a demo with had a very interesting response to resistance. Stated she was fearful of horses,so  initially when I handed her a lead rope it was not attached to a horse, simply I held one end and she the other, I calmly said, I am going to pull the rope and lead you , before I knew it she had essentially set back and begun to pull for all she was worth (which I kinda expected) I held firm and calm and said nothing for a moment or two then said"how is your arm?" She laughed and said pretty tired,  I asked her who was working harder at that point? and the penny dropped, she loosened her grip and we continued talking , all the while with Tango standing nearby, calm soft pressure on the rope no longer disturbed her and suddenly she found (because I am sneaky ) that she was now holding a horse!  How excited was she to be leading a horse that day? well I think you can imagine .

This conditioned response to pull and not let anyone take us anywhere we don't want to go , even if we don't know where we are going is extremely common, our environment makes us often distrustful and anxious and  we instinctive demands control, and we , say it with me here ... RESIST
Our instincts are to run away right away.
Same for horses, so while we are so busy teaching our horses to be calm and (I hate this word ) desensitize them , we become more hyper vigilant, anxious and more sensitive ourselves .Which in turn we telegraph to our highly intuitive critters and we  are sending some very mixed messages.
So on to the Bio feedback . I have recently through work been training on a program called Heart Math   a program using the heart rate variability to help people learn to regulate themselves, their heart rate and breathing and ultimately their stress levels . I am really enjoying the training, and find there are some very useful tools to help me as well and for me to help others. Another program I have done some recent work practising with, is called , Wild Divine , a series of games of a sort and it uses the same type of biofeedback sensor  which reads, heart rate ,temp ,breathing etc and as you go through the lessons you are taught to visualize certain feelings of calm, or happy, etc to achieve the goal in each screen.One was a Zen garden, if you are relaxed and  centred  the stones that float across the screen stack on on top of the other, if you become anxious or "try to hard" they float around and will not come to rest. That one I rock at !LOL  though as a general rule I am a pretty calm gal, any calmer I might slip into a coma! lol. The running joke at work though is when I do get anxious or irritated,is "I need to find my Zen, or start stacking stones"
I am not marketing these systems I am just trying to show that even without the actual sensors, visualizing the feeling we want , and maintaining our calm, is a great way to help us in our horse work, or our people work, or just in life. 
Instead of picturing the rodeo , when something or someone might spook our horse, picture the stream, or the clouds or stones, and see the feeling you want , after all if you "see the wreck " you might just "be the wreck" 

So there you go. Another of my tangled rambles that seem to got here there and everywhere, but they are my thoughts. Hope it makes sense to you .
Stay safe my friends. 
Oh and by the way ,I did go swimming . 250 meters and 10 mins of treading water. No records broken for speed, or distance, but its a start! 


Buttons Thoughts said...

250 meters and 10 minutes of treading I am impressed. Good job. HUG B

Shirley said...

Good post. Visualization is really effective in dealing with horses, I took a Centered Riding clinic many years ago and it really opened my mind to just how effective it can be. That's an awesome story about the lead rope. I really REALLY think you need to keep Tango. I think he has found his job. And he kinda looks like Johnny ;)

Anonymous said...

Very nice post - it's so true. Thanks.

Reddunappy said...

I like what you do! LOL :O)


does this article make you as mad as me? It is about a Canadian breeder.

kden said...

You amaze me; whether you are working with people or horses, you are spot on.

kden said...

You amaze me; whether you are working with people or horses, you are spot on.

Cut-N-Jump said...

It didn't seem to be a ramble at all. At least not to me. Instead it seemed to flow, like the water in the stream that you pictured. One thing leads into the next and so on. It too is a way of life.

Lovely post as always Sherry.

Sherry Sikstrom said...

Thank you all

Haddock said...

Like the way you have mentioned about leading a horse and the "resist" part.

aurora said...

Somehow I missed this insightful post. Such wonderful things you are helping these folks to learn, and I so love that horses are involved! I practice similar energy release in my Yoga Alignment class, especially during the meditation part. It's amazing what the power of mind can do - or undo.

Oh, and I second Shirley's comment regarding Tango.