Monday, May 11, 2009

Yesterday with Blu

Groundwork: To warm up, I had Blu walk, trot, and canter around me in both directions on the 18' line. He back out and sent very well, and he returned excellently with great demeanor, but he was not as good about changing directions on the circle. Next, I had him yo yo back and forth from me with me standing on the other side of an overturned barrel. It took several back and forths before he went back straight and with effort. I then rolled the barrel away from me so he had to jump over it to reach me. That was a struggle for him to make that choice. He tried going around it of course and I just made that uncomfortable for him by whipping the ground when ever he stepped out from behind it. Twice, he zoomed in an arc away from it and I whapped the ground until he returned to behind the barrel and there, he got to rest for 30 seconds. He started to paw the barrel and he was rewarded for his interest with a watermelon rind bite. Of course the next step for him was to attempt to step one foot at a time over it, which, always ends sillily for him: he get his front over and then ends up stepping ON the barrel with his back end and rolling it for a bit. After that semi-success, I worked on speeding up going sideways on the fence. It took about 10 ft before he was calm.

I have been working with Blu's bit skills when I made a decision. Skip it. New approach: train him to do everything with my hand down and reins loose. The back up aide is the carrot stick rather than the reins. To guarantee that I don't need the carrot stick when I get into the show ring, I am going to teach him this quick (luckily for me, he is a cooperative, fast learner and my first show with him is not until June 20). The other day, I worked on sharp turns to the right with a few markers and two lines of fence to help him make sense of it all. It was super rough for the first 20 turns, but all of a sudden, he was whipping around almost all the corners with a light leg cue (a few of them at certain points still needed the carrot stick). Yesterday, I did turns to the left, and he picked it up faster. He understood that the leg pressure was not to speed up (that was an issue the other day) and he got those turns at every point I asked by the time I was done.

The other thing I am progressing him on is cantering outside the round pen. He is not a confident canterer in the saddle and the round pen helped him focus on a small path. With the open pasture, he gets all over, speedy, head up, etc. So, I just ease him very gently around the pasture until he calms down at the canter. I usually loose all power steering and have to go totally manual with him, but with just the two days of turning focus and straight lines, his canter has gotten a lot easier to control. I look forward to the next time I can work with him.

About Me

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I am a young horsewoman with a million things on my mind. I have been a student of the horse all my life. As a little girl, I had a desire to understand horses on deeper levels. I believed that there was no such thing as a bad horse, and I believed that all horses were beautiful. One might say that I was a naive child, but I guess I don't have an excuse anymore, because I still believe all of that, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship is helping expand on this perspective.

What We Are Currently Playing With

  • Moving Close Circles at Liberty
  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
  • Zone 5 Driving