Friday, December 18, 2009

Heart Puppeteer

The heart puppeteer
pulls gently on my heart strings
Makes me feel things

You can take what you want from it. I know it sounds like the most ridiculous thing you could find in some 15 year old girl's journal, but please let me explain how it is not some silly Haiku. The whole thing plays on the idea of your heart strings being controlled by things touch you heart. Puppeteers make puppets do things, like dance and walk. My puppeteer is my horse, and he makes me feel happy, humbled, strong, smart, creative, all collectively referred to as "things" in the haiku. Some might say that a puppeteer has a negative connotation because the puppet can't do or think for itself, so I balanced it out with gently. My horses don't haul my heart around, and some relationships do that. Not Blu or Misty. I go from day to day growing and changing a little bit with the passing of time. Also, a puppet is helpless to the will of the puppeteer, as I cannot help but be drawn back to horses again and again. A friend once told me that she can't imagine that God would put such a passion for horses in my heart if He did not intend for me to always be involved with them. I have a God-given passion for horses, so horses are the puppeteers of my heart.

Official Records Information
1 hour
Evening (3:40 pm-4:40 pm)

I showed my friend how I put the rope halter on for the right side. I put the Savvy String through the loop on the left side and use that to hold onto. Then, it is just the same old procedure. The only difference is that once the halter is on, I have to walk around to the left side to tie the knot. It was the first time I had ever tried it, though I came up with the idea between my friend asking me about haltering from the right and someone asking on the Savvyclub Forum. I am pleased that Blu did everything like a pro. He has been bridled from the right side, but I attribute his good haltering to our relationship in general.

I had to walk Blu to the gate at liberty. I drove him in zone 3 (his barrel) from about 6' away. He got sticky at first but then went along very well.

I had the 45' line hanging on the gate. After I attached the 45' line, I had him go through the gate. He had a much better turn, face and wait than yesterday.

Once the gate was shot, I started walking away. I turned around to see what he was doing, and there he was watching me. I smiled and asked him to trot to me. He put his head up at first, but then came forward at the trot. I stood with him for a while after that to give him some initial chill time, especially since he had not been too keen on trotting to me.

I did some friendly game to see where he was on that day. Then I played distal stick to me (like the matches my gait at a distance. He matched all three gaits really well, the canter was not the best. His upward transitions were nice, and he did great noticing my downward transitions in my body.

figure 8- This did not go very well yesterday, but today, we built on the progress we made yesterday, and at the end, he really understood the pattern at the walk. I focused on letting him figure things out on his own and getting more particular as he understood more of his responsibilities. One time he went to the barrel and just stood over it. I waited for him to ask a question before I directed him on. He licked and chewed after that! When I was done, he could do them without any carrot stick, just me stepping gently forward and backward.
cow game at liberty- After having such a good feel on line, a feeling like there was no line, I decided to take the line off. I did extreme friendly game, really whipping that carrot stick and while I walked all the way around him. His ears were concerned at first, but then he ignored it. I started out a million dollar move series, then it turned into the cow game. He is really getting speedy! I moved fluidly into stick to me from a distance (cow game increases dominance tendencies, so I did not want to put myself in nipping range. I asked for the walk for a few steps, then trot, then I did a burst of speed (I just ran as fast as I could for 30') and stopped. He stopped a good distance ahead of me, but when I started running backwards, he ran with huge life towards me. It is amazing to feeling all the energy coming at you then have it just stop when you stop. We relaxed for a while, then. I sat on the ground by his front legs and he kept his head low by me. He was not investigating my coat pockets or nibbling, he was just chilling with me. That surprised me that he was able to go from all of that dominance and switch to being calm just like that. The reason I sat down was to help him come off the adrenaline rush, but I had no idea it would be so effective!
weave at liberty- awesome Awesome, AWESOME! He really understood this, especially after the driving and drawing we had been doing this whole session. There were four barrels distanced about 7' apart. I deem him good for walkin' the weave at liberty!
freestyle weave- I put the savvy string on the halter to use as a one-rein in combination with a carrot stick. As we were walking to the barrel to mount I put the savvy string (which was attached to Blu) in my coat pocket to test how well he followed me (the string stayed in my pocket!). I mounted from a barrel that was on its end. I did not get permission immediately, so I waited for him to give permission (he did not move his feet, he just looked back at me and tossed his head once. Once I was on, he waited to go until I asked. For a long time, I had to use lots of carrot stick in the beginning. The first time through, he stopped at the barrel that had the 45' line and put it in his mouth and swung it around for a bit. When he dropped it, we moved on. It got tangled in his feet and he had to maneuver himself around it throughout the pattern, but he managed just fine without any frustration or fear. Another time, I took my coat, hat, and gloves off to put on a barrel. He put his ears back in a concerned position at first, but then was fine, of course. I ended when we got through an entire length of barrels (4) with no more than light legs.

Box set up from this morning (Squeeze Freestyle)- I went across the two sides that did not have the elevated ground pole. He followed my focus really well, but his hind end yields were not as nice. He dropped inside shoulder and got hard in the face. I worked on getting the hindquarter yields parts better (bending with a softer feel, keeping the shoulder raise, and getting more sensitive to the leg cue. I was also doing different things in my body like focusing on which front leg I wanted the weight on and lifting my inside shoulder. He did not stop as well he usually does throughout this exercise, though he did well maintaining gait and speed. We did it once at the trot and that was nice (at the end of the trotting one we got Misty who was playing with my coat on the ground). I ended when he had this awesome light pivot on the forehand, I really paid attention to when he was licking and chewing and waiting for him to lick and chew.

I dismounted directly after the awesome pivot and massaged his back. He enjoyed that immensely. Then I gathered up all the articles of clothing I had shed (Misty took the liberty of spreading them around a bit, which was funny to watch) as well as the tools I had dropped here and there. I took Blu to his stall and gave him some hay. While I was out talking to my friend about Conner, Blu stood with his head hanging outside his stall. When I went in to grab stuff and leave, I gave him some grain. Sometimes, he makes ugly faces as I am feeding him (which I fix), but he was really sweet and soft this time.

I had a really wonderful time with Blu, today. He was just success after success.

I will be coming back to this post to elaborate on the abbreviation above, but right now I have to go...Natural Horsewoman Temporarily Out.

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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