Friday, December 31, 2010

Secret Life of the Herd

This morning Dove was standing on the track, halfway up the drive, while the rest of the herd were eating in the grazing cell. "Poor thing," I thought. "I'd better go help her." So I grabbed a halter, with a plan to put her back in with Journey until the weather gets better. Of course, she was having none of it - didn't want to be caught. So I walked her back to the pasture, instead. Then I had a look at the tracks in the snow. It seemed like the whole herd had last been along that stretch in the early part of the night, but then Journey had ventured out for a drink of water in the morning and was simply stopping to eat weeds. Maybe she's not so helpless after all.

After breakfast I headed out to the pasture to bring them in for feed and to close the gate, with a plan to move them to the next grazing cell after they got their buckets. Bruce and Iona came easily, I shut the gate and took Hunter out next, but Dove was not up for it. Catching Game in a 10 acre field in 6 inches of snow. "Oh, boy!" An hour in, it wasn't getting much better. (I realised that I wasn't being entirely consistent with my body language and responses, though, which was a useful revelation that I'll come back to in a moment.) I stuck with it, and fortunately Mark saw my problem from where he was working and hatched a plan. He drove to the pasture gate and got out of his car, which kind of drew her that way. I'm sure she was looking for a change of pattern. (I know I was!) I helped her out the gate and we corralled the four of them in the feeding area. I was finally able to get her haltered in this smaller area. 

What I could see was that she was frightened of the other horses, particularly the Fells. I don't think she likes being in close quarters with them at feeding time. Naturally their energy is a little high. I have made sure that she gets to eat in safety, but there have probably been some skirmishes at the water tank. The best I could do was to make sure I kept her safe while she ate her feed. She relaxed quickly when she saw that I would defend her space, and that the others respect me. I hope I got some leadership points, but I expect that it will be tricky to catch her off and on for awhile. 
The new grazing cell gate opens almost directly onto the water and feeding area, so at least we won't have horses missing the gate when the herd leaves without them this month. Perhaps we can establish some more positive patterns.

Mark and I drove out on the track, to connect the temporary fence of the new cell to the main live fence. What a story the tracks in the snow told. It seems that the horses left the loafing shed while the storm was still blowing last night. They probably stopped off in the pasture for awhile, and then they headed on up the track! They went quite a ways along the north side, maybe to shelter from the north wind in some trees. They emptied two of their five haynets on the way back to the pasture in the morning, where they lay down in the snow and went to sleep. 

I was surprised at how much they had moved around. The track doesn't currently make a complete loop, as we've had to close a section. I have had the impression that they haven't been using the north part of the track at all. But last night's activity made me wonder whether they move around a lot more at night than we realise. Or was last night different because of the storm? We only know what they did last night because of their tracks in the snow. Hmmm.

So back to that revelation. I realised that my Catching Game was wavering between putting pressure on Zone 5 and retreating when I got two eyes, and just plain trying to catch the darn horse! OMG! When did that creep into my habits? Who knows! But I think I understand now why things got stuck with Journey, too. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just Smashing!

Tuesday, Dove got her feet trimmed. I had managed to pick them up a few times, and our trimmer, John Graves does a nice job with less-than-confident horses, so things went great. I decided that having passed this milestone, and now being pretty easy to catch, I'd introduce her to the herd and if all went well, turn her out. I put Bruce in the arena and took Dove in and led her around the perimeter to show her the fence. (We put a training wire, that looks just like the stuff on the track in Dove and Journey's pen a few days ago.) 

Once I let her go, Bruce tried to sniff her rear end, she made to kick him with one of those long hind legs, and he whirled around and squealed and double barreled her to let her know that's not advisable. With that out of the way, they totally lost interest in each other. I put two piles of hay on a tarp for them and they ate pretty well in close proximity until the hay ran low. Then Bruce started nipping her shoulder to move her off. 

While they had their lunch date I played a bit with Iona in the round pen. (I've missed using the round pen. It's been a calf hospital for ages, however, the calf is finally better and  been moved in with some buddies.) We worked on our Porcupine stuff, did a few successful changes of direction and transitions, and I hopped on for a brief bridleless session. It all went well, especially the circles and riding. I can pretty well fake having the stick in my right hand now, if I use it two handed or just drag it along. However, she was pretty light and I didn't need it much. I'm afraid that I still don't have much of a program about progressing with Bruce and Iona these days, other than getting better responses with the Porcupine Game, especially where their heads are concerned. I just mess around and do what I can. Liberty is the easiest, although Iona is not bad to ride. I try to keep the sessions short and not show them too much about what I can't do.

I then put Iona in the arena with the other two. She wasn't interested in Dove at all. Just wanted to stand by the gate with Bruce. Okay then! I spent just a couple minutes catching Dove, haltered her, and we all started down the track. I encouraged the Fells to walk in front and Dove and I followed. We stopped for a drink and then headed on out to the pasture. I let Dove graze on line for a little while then took the halter off. I hung out for a bit, then made sure that I could still catch her. That took maybe five minutes of persistence. She looked pretty relieved when I let her go again!

I had left Hunter in the pen next door to Journey for company. However, he didn't have to stay there long, as Mark arrived home with yet another new horse! This is a gelding that belongs to a workmate of Mark's. Mark has him on trial. He's a sort of "been there, done that" horse, and we've heard good things about him. However. I wasn't prepared for the great big guy who stepped off the trailer. Especially as Mark had forgotten to take a halter with him when he picked him up, so I said, "Oh, don't worry. Just open the trailer door a bit and I'll throw a rope over his neck." Well, here was this big bay, about 16hh, and about 12hh wide! Talk about stocky! He's actually built a little like Iona. Short legs and a really, really deep body. How kids barrel raced him I'll never know, but it must have been something to see. This fellow currently rejoices under the name of "Smash" (part of his registered name). I'm thinking something like "Ranger" might be nice. We'll let you know.

Most of Wednesday was taken up with picking up a load of hay, but with the round pen clear, I decided it was time to try and make some more progress with Journey. I'd love to be able to turn her out, but I'd also love to be able to catch her again, get her feet  trimmed, be able to deal with her (and maybe a foal) if she's pregnant, etc. On the way home we figured out how to create a corridor from her pen to the round pen, where we could open a gap in the panels to drive her in. That went smoothly and I started playing the Catching Game. I'm not surprised that she's proving a tough customer with this. and I wish I had some more Savvy Arrows. I ended up sending her around for ages. She would start to lock on to me, and would face me when I took the pressure off, but I couldn't get any forward steps. In the end I played things a little different and approached her. If she let me make a little progress (first, touch me, then let me touch her and make some progress through the zones) I'd back off. Not all these things at once, of course, but progressively. If she chose to leave, I'd send her out again. If not. we'd do a slow dance where I'd casually try to get back to Zone 5, then send her out. We had quite a long session, and she was a bit sweaty but I managed to get a little further past her withers than we had been so far. I didn't want to push her any harder as it was getting late and cold and I didn't want to stress her too much.

Today we had another session. I tried a few new things. One was backing into her space just as her Zone 5 went behind me on the circle. I watched Pat do that on the old Catching Game DVD. However, I think that scared her, so I quit. We also had a period when the whole thing took on a more playful feeling. I think that was great, but somewhere it dribbled away and I didn't really find it again. I also tried using a telescoping rod to touch her. It was a bit cumbersome and not quite long enough for the size of the pen, but I'll try it again in a smaller space. Toward the end of the session I'm pretty sure I approached too much and retreated too little. Darn!  I felt that I'd taught her to keep facing me but we weren't progressing much past that. I also discovered that she really doesn't want me on her left side, so I worked on that, and when she let me touch her a little there, we called it a day. Later, when I was doing chores in her pen, I noticed that she was obsessively facing me. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing.....

I also had short sessions with Bruce and Smash/Ranger today. Bruce and I mainly worked on Game 2 at Liberty. I could tell he would like to do more, but I didn't have a plan. At least the little bit we did went pretty well.

I managed to play the first four Games with the big guy. He's been a little pushy and disrespectful so far, so we defined my space. He went along with this, but I can tell he doesn't really believe me yet.  Surprisingly, his Porcupine and Driving was pretty good in all Zones. It's possible he's been played with a little in the past. I think his owners have flirted with PNH. Yo-yo was harder. He couldn't believe that Phase 1 or 2 meant anything. Perhaps my energy could have been clearer? Having given him a couple of BIG Phase 4s, I settled for some good steps at Phase 3.

It's amusing to have all these things that I can do with horses I hardly know. The first four Games one handed are pretty easy. So is most of the work with Journey. But at the same time, I can do so little with my "advanced" horses. At least the new guys are keeping me occupied. 

A bit of a blizzard hit this afternoon, and they say we will have some really low temperatures for awhile. Because Bruce was in, the others hung around the yard area all day and didn't go get their hay. By the time Bruce was out the storm was coming, and he was not sure whether to take them out to the pasture or stay near the shed. I knew they were hungry and needed something in their bellies for the cold night. They got halfway up the drive and stood around eating weeds with the snow sticking to them. By dusk they were still there. I decided to put a bale in their shed and walked them to it. Dove isn't well integrated yet. She hangs back and Hunter bullies her a bit. I was worried that she wouldn't get into the shed or get any hay, so I offered to catch her, and would have let her wait the storm out with Journey, but she wasn't having it, and it was getting dark and I was frozen. I felt bad, as she's a bit thin. but she's lived out all her life and I know she'll be fine. If she's looking unhappy in the morning I'll catch her and give her some TLC.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


This afternoon I placed the tires out by the electric poles as planned. That part was straightforward, but let me just backtrack a little. What with the arm and everything, I got a little sloppy the past few months with the herd's grazing routine. The plan is that I get them out of the grazing cell first thing in the morning, and let them back in around sunset. Needless to say, there can be arguments some mornings, and sometimes they can also get a little spooked about something and not want to come through their gate and past certain areas. However, for a number of weeks we hit a nice routine and they were pretty much bringing themselves in. (They have to come in to drink.) Of course that just made me complacent, and so the rot set in.

This month, the grazing rotation brought them down near the house. That's great! Less walking and hassle to get them in, I thought. Especially in the winter weather. However, Bruce saw an opportunity and so started bringing them the short trip in to drink before we got up in the morning, and  taking them straight back out to the grass. Then with little further motivation to come in, they were difficult to round up. 

Bruce - 1
Kris - 0

A variation on that was that they would drink in shifts, and if they saw me coming to take the straggles out, the drinkers would run back in. 

Bruce - 2
Kris - 0

Then the gate became a very scary place, and it was like pulling teeth to get them in, even though they were so thirsty their tongues were hanging out.

As I only started the hay nets recently, and they were getting a lot of grass, they weren't really bothering to walk up and eat them most days, and I didn't always notice when the nets were finally emptied. The past week, though, I noticed that Bruce was bringing them in much better on the mornings when hay was available. While they were in drinking, we would zip out and close the gate, and they would wander up and get the hay.

Bruce - 2
Kris - 1

Later in the day, they would hang out at the loafing shed, or wander around the track looking for pickings of fallen leaves and stuff, basically waiting to see us head up to open the gate to the grass. Late in the afternoon, while they were focused  on the gate, I would put out hay for the next day. Perfect! Except, as I mentioned yesterday, Hunter wasn't getting to eat any. 

Late this afternoon I put out the tires, and the hay for tomorrow. An hour later when I went to open the gate I saw them already stuffing themselves on tomorrow's hay.  

Bruce - 3
Kris -1

I can guess that they will not be coming out of that grass willingly tomorrow morning. And I'll need to figure out a new routine. Probably put the hay out in the morning before I try to herd them out. I don't really mind. Being outsmarted by Bruce is one of the great pleasures of my life!

Game 1, Game 2 ...

Dove's progress
It only took a couple of minutes to get Dove haltered today. Out of curiosity, I tried just walking up to her. That wasn't welcome, so I started sending her around. Ha ha! That wasn't welcome either. I could hardly get her to trot. She was doing stuff like going along the fence and stopping at her water bucket and looking at me like "Can't go any further. This is in my way." At that point I did throw the line at her and get her to trot a couple of laps. Halter on! I think we could be looking at a serious LBI (Lazy and Bone Idle). Interesting, since her pedigree is full of winning race horses. We'll see.

Friendly game continued. I introduced the Carrot Stick. That was no problem. I doubt that she's ever seen a whip, so it was just a "thing" to her. Rubbed her all over. A few slightly iffy spots, but nothing dramatic. Got all four feet picked up. Good, as the trimmer's coming in a couple of days. Moved on to the Porcupine Game. Surprise, surprise - the rear end was light and the front end was heavy. I decided to see if I could make the right thing a little easier, by backing her up first, to lighten her front end, and then staying in rhythm while asking the front feet to move across. I learned this technique from Adrian Heinen, and have used it on more advanced horses, but never tried it on a horse just learning this. I think it did make it easier for her to move, although I'll still need to isolate it later. My idea was that if I make it easier for her to comply at this stage, she might have a more positive feeling about it. 

I fed her a bunch of treats and petted and scratched her and let her go. I can see her taking in these new experiences with amazement and starting to relax a little. It's nice to watch. I'm wondering  whether we might get as far as backing her a little if the weather holds for awhile. I know that if we don't do it soon, we will probably have a long wait while she is heavily pregnant and then looking after a foal. Something tells me not to go too slow with this horse, but we'll see!

Track adjustments
The other horses are now using a grazing cell which is close to the house, loafing shed and water, so in order to keep them moving I've been putting a bit of hay out on the track during the day. They don't really need it, but they do need motivation to move. I've mainly been hanging the nets on a convenient row of electric poles that run along the west side, however they are too far apart, and Hunter is not getting to eat any hay. The Fells go from pole to pole sharing a net while Hunter stands and politely watches them dine. He's just too dependent on them to go all the way to the next pole and eat by himself. It's not a great situation since of the three horses, Hunter is the only one who isn't fat. So today Mark and I collected a bunch of tires from the east side of the track (which we've had to close for awhile due to fencing issues) and tomorrow I'll place them near the poles, ready to have hay nets tied to them. I'll let you know how that works out. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Catching Dove

Dove and Journey

Two weeks ago Mark and I went to a farm auction. The owner was selling up. He was a breeder of Appaloosas and Quarter Horses of quite good quality and we came home with two mares. A nine year old gray whom I named Dove, and a three year old bay that Mark has named Journey. Dove is halter broken and probably had two or three rides put on her as a youngster.  She has been used as a broodmare. Journey probably isn't halter broken, and we don't think she's been ridden. Both are probably in foal.

So far they are fairly timid or skeptical about people. Dove will tolerate being touched, but obviously doesn't enjoy it, although she's not really that scared, I'd say. Just cautious. Journey is more curious about us, but at the same time more timid. I have only touched her nose and face, so far. Mark has gotten slightly further. Journey also makes a lot of grumpy faces and occasional threats. So far she hasn't followed through, but I'm sure she could. Her eyes are always the first thing people comment on. The whites show a lot of the time. This seems to be partly conformational, but she also has that habit of arching her "eyebrows" when she's worried, which is a lot of the time. She's going to be quite a challenge, we suspect. 

I've spent some time just sitting in their pen reading, and stuff like that. They do come and check me out. One day I put a haynet under my chair, which made me a lot more interesting, and that day I got to touch Dove a lot more. Then I got busy and haven't done much for a few days. However, this morning as Mark and I were standing looking at them I felt the moment was right to do a little more with Dove. I took a halter and lead rope and played an informal and low key Catching Game. 

It went much as I expected. She didn't get scared, but there was no magical moment when I suddenly got lots of draw or she decided to "join up". The pen is an odd shape with lots of corners, plus a run-in area. Luckily they didn't want to be in the run-in with me (too trappy) and it was pretty easy to keep them circling. I say "them" because of course Journey is in the pen, too, and had to come along for the ride. She likes to stick close to Dove for security, and at times seemed to be trying to cut me off from her. Dove pretty much ignores Journey's insecurity, and didn't try to hide behind her at all. I tried not to put too much pressure on them, and stuck to walk and trot. Canter might have been a more effective gait, but Journey is pretty reactive, while it would have taken quite a bit to get Dove going, I think. We are in a tape pen, the ground is hard, their feet aren't that great, and they're pregnant. Lot's of good reasons to keep is low key.

How it went was that I would send her around for awhile, and she would begin to show signs of relaxing and/or locking onto me a bit, or wanting to stop at a favorite spot. I didn't have draw, so I would experiment with going over and letting her sniff me and/or trying to pet her. Sometimes I could, sometimes I couldn't. I tried to time sending her off again to her offering to leave. If she didn't offer then I would walk away and chat to Mark for a moment or two. I did feel we were reaching a stalemate at one point, and by this time Journey was getting used to the proceedings, and figuring out that this was just not about her, so I was able to up the pressure a bit and throw the line out at Dove.  I got to where I could pet her and she would stand for longer, then actually rub her with the halter and rope. I walked away. 
Pretty quickly after that there was a very clear change, and she let me put the halter on with no rush, no sneaking, and I felt she accepted it. We had a walk around the pen. I was very careful not to let Journey get between me and Dove with that halter on, as I feared that could turn into a wreck. I then had a look at how she felt about being touched in more provocative areas, and hand fed her some hay for awhile, and let her go. The hardest thing resisting the urge to try to touch her again before I walked away, but I knew it was the wrong thing!

If I did a good job today, tomorrow it will take half the time.

and Brucie
After this incredible feat of horse whispering, thank goodness Bruce was around to help return me to humility. I thought I  might just give him a nice grooming and a bit of attention, but it was obvious that he wanted to do more. As soon as I tied him up he had to play with everything, and clown around. So we did the grooming thing and I put his bareback pad on. We headed for the arena. I thought we might work on some Figure 8s. 

I started On Line. The 22' is too heavy for my wrist, so we were limited to the 12'. He pulled on me a couple of times and I decided that was a no-no, so we went in the roundpen, where we had a pretty good session recently. He did some nice transitions, but perhaps not quite as nice as last time. (Hmmm. I'd better monitor myself, or I'm going to allow him to get dull.) Then I tried some changes of direction between two cones, but he was doubtful about that. Because I know he can get a little unconfident with that I was trying it at a walk. I had no draw! It actually went better a little later when he was trotting and cantering. 

Things seemed to be improving, so I tried some Stick to Me outside the pen. That was great so I hopped on. I had no lateral flexion ot the right (my bad hand). It really took some getting, and when I finally got it, I gave him a treat. I'm not sure it was the right strategy. He did one or two nice things, but I spent most of the ride dragging him away from obstacles I had not asked him to visit. Aaarggghhh! It was pretty messy and although you simply can't out-muscle Bruce anyway. having a weak hand didn't help. My little pony turned out to be too much horse for me, so I found a good note to finish on and bailed out. Probably the most harmonious note of the session was me sitting down on the ground and inviting him to roll. I'm sure it was his favorite part!

Still my Black Angel

You might expect that my relationship with Iona would be damaged by our wreck. I have to say "No." My confidence is in good shape, and I don't bear her any ill will. She was just being a horse. She certainly didn't respect my space at that moment, but she wasn't acting aggressively toward me. She had no idea that pushing me out of the way would injure me. It would be nothing to another horse, after all. Let's move on.

A couple of days after the accident I thought I'd try some Liberty. I figured that losing the rope was a plus, since I only had one hand. We headed for the roundpen to try out some stuff Jena Cody had shown us. What I got was a very confused pony. My stick was in the "wrong" hand half the time! We hung in there and finished the session, but I had to stop and think about this. Did I really want to teach a bunch of new cues that would be pointless in a couple of months? No! Were we ready to go stickless? Huh-uh. Were the other Savvies going to be easier? HAHAHAHA!!!

Another day I thought I might have a little ride. It was windy, and I couldn't really warm up effectively. I dragged her to the mounting block anyway and wrestled her into position. I got halfway on and she said "Don't do this!" So I lay on her like a green colt for a moment and jumped off the other side. That was my ride.

Recently, I have been for a couple of rides around the property with friends. My arm is a little more useful, and fairly safe in the brace. On the first ride, Iona took off for the comfort of the herd twice and I couldn't stop her. However, it all felt pretty safe, and kind of got me over my worries about riding with The Arm. Sunday, I was out again with Denise riding Bruce and Sara on Sage. We did spend time warming up, and I was amazed at how responsive and connected Iona was in the arena. The ride went pretty well, too.

So today I thought I'd play for a bit. I have tried to continue to work on the Porcupine game, especially in Zone 1. Today we continued that and I wasn't thrilled with how it went. One of the things I tried was leading by the ear. We can kinda do this, but it's not pretty. This evening I was suddenly hit  by a picture of  me just grabbing her ear and pulling. Eek! Now, it wasn't quite like that, but it probably seemed like it to her. Shucks, I'm supposed to be doing this in the name of  lightness and responsiveness. Maybe I should try to offer some. You know, go slow...reward the slightest try. Great! I think I know where I'm going wrong with this.

However, we had some good stuff, too. We were in a small pen with no toys. How to be provocative? Porcupine and Driving in the other Zones was pretty good. I tried a little Zone 5 Driving using just my hands. She is very sensitive to whether I'm asking her to go forward or back. I love that! It really does feel magical. Turning to left and right is a little harder, but if we concentrate, we can. We also backed in a circle and kept the belly of the rope on the ground. We played a fun game where I positioned her so that each of her feet in turn had to step on a piece of brick that was on the ground. We did lead by the leg with just my hand around her hock. What a cool pony I have!

I needed to pick up empty hay nets from the track. I thought we might ride part of that trip. I clipped on a set of reins. (I recently got a set of 7' ones, and what a difference it makes to have some the right length!) However, she felt a little high to me, so I sort of rode her from the ground, using the reins to cue her most of the way, and as a lead rope once I had my hand full of nets. Then we had a little ride in the arena. That went well. I tried not to use the reins at all. There were quite a few cones and barrels and stuff scattered around, and I tried to use them as markers, so that I wasn't too aimless. She was spot on with almost everything I asked her.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What Happened

What happened is this: A week or so after my last post I broke my arm. A lot of you already know the story, but just in case, here  it is.

After Livia left us, we  headed  straight into preparing for a big event. Petra, Kime and another instructor, Jena Cody, offered a day  of free lessons and a tournament here. We had a lot to do to get ready, so unfortunately horsemanship took a back seat that week. The event was fun and quite a success. Then once again I started horsing around.

The weather was great that week, and I was managing to get one or two horses ridden nearly every day. So one day I took  Brucie out for a ride around the track. Iona and Hunter were following us. I noticed that Iona's following had a slight air of desperation. She tends to get very hormonal in the autumn. I had put out some extra mounting blocks near some of our many gates, to make it easier to get through them (they're hotwire gates, and I don't really like to work them from the saddle) so I decided to leave the track by one of these and continue riding Bruce in the pasture. This wasn't to get away from the other horses, just somewhere different to ride.

I had decided not to take my stick. Since Bruce is the lead horse, his space doesn't really need defending, and I feel that everyone who rides him (me included) prefers the stick to the reins, since his Porcupine Game is not as good as his Driving Game. I'm trying to change this. I dismounted to go through the gate, and I was lazy, so rather than untie the mecate, I flipped the reins over his head. Iona and Hunter were about twenty feet away. In spite of how Iona had been feeling, I didn't think to check in with her or make eye contact. Things had been going great between us for weeks.

I never saw her coming. She hit me like a train. The only warning I had was a face full of black that must have been her neck. She knocked me out of her way and I watched in amazement as Bruce jumped me. Not very well, I might add, he stepped on my arm twice - but not the one that got broken. (Go figure that one out.) I'm guessing that either the hotwire hit him, or he was avoiding it. He's terrified of electricity.

I stood up a little shocked at how bad my wrist hurt, but fully expecting the pain to go away momentarily. It didn't. It just got worse. Darn! (Or words to that effect.) So I hobbled back to the house with Bruce in tow and let Mark untack him and catch Iona while I licked my wounds.

I was convinced that it was only a bad sprain, and hung onto that belief for three weeks. The pain wasn't too bad, but  I finally had to admit it wasn't mending. Long story short, it was broken into quite a few pieces, and I ended up with surgery to re-break it and put in a plate and screws. This journey included a full arm splint and sling, then a splint and bandage the size of Texas, then a cast, and now I've graduated to a part-time brace. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm still on restricted activity for now. Looks like it will be fine, though!

So I've watched October, November and most of December roll by, with some of the best riding weather ever, and been able to do next to nothing. Typing, cooking, playing music were also very hard work, and mostly I didn't bother. I admit that it got me down a lot of the time. However, it sure gave me time to think. I realised some uncomfortable truths about myself. How I view horses when I'm not able to use them to pursue my dreams, how I define myself by my activities, how I use those activities as an escape from my responsibilities... Yes, it's been a lot of fun. Not! But learning is rarely comfortable. Given a choice I would have skipped this episode, but I'm glad it's given me a new view on things. I hope that I will use what I've learned for positive change!