Friday, June 3, 2011
Latest painting and Etta
In early April I began participating in Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) at the Equestrian program at the National Ability Center in Park City UT. I began it because I felt kinda silly loving to paint horses but feeling, well, uh, afraid of them! So I've been working on that weekly. The horse that I've been learning with has been Etta, a 4 year old mustang from the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Center in Herriman UT, southwest of Salt Lake City. One thing that I realized before I began this work was that I knew I needed to work with a small horse; it just feels safer since I am very small. It has been utterly amazing to work with her! She is what they call green in that she has not been trained yet to accept riders. While she is small (13-14 hands) her energy is big. But there's been plenty to learn in doing ground work with her. She still has a lot of herd behaviors in that she is super sensitive to her environment and really wants to be close for assurance. So a lot of my work has consisted of setting boundaries, as well as learning to read her body and actions so that I can connect better with her. It is amazing to be able to lead her around the round pen with no halter or lead, just connection through my action and energy. I'm learning that horses require that we humans be congruent in our emotions and behavior. When I discuss a fear or concern, she walks up and relaxes by me. Today I discussed why I had to leave the workworld and she basically gave me a horse hug! Etta will be going to the trainer's for a couple of months this summer. Today I realized that in our work we've been training her to be more comfortable with people. The photo on my profile is of me with Etta.
I am currently working on a commission of Etta for the staff member who owns her. In addition to posting that image, I will also be posting soon about the Barn Party, a fund raising event for the Equestrian programs at the National Ability Center.