Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Official Records Information
1 hour

Both of the horses made a good first connection with me when I got out of the truck. I was the one who had to break the salutation because I went to get the halter and 45' line and stringed carrot stick. That is definitely a good thing to see.

I let Blu catch me, which was pretty easy, then haltered him with a wonderful feel as he turned toward me and put his head in the halter, then waited so patiently as I tied the knot. I wanted to savor that nice feeling for a while and I took several minutes to talk to him and rub his face and neck, down his legs, across his back, and under his belly.

I flowed right into going sideways from there. I put him in position so he was facing me then I put the carrot stick out to his right to ask for a side pass to his left. I let him get himself coordinated and thinking before asking him to speed up and straighten up. Then, I changed direction. He was exceptional; he went so straight, and the carrot stick usually stayed on the ground. He learned that fast.

I moved right into asking for more speed and floated to his side as we went. Again, at first he was confused and frazzled, but it did not take as long as it did last time for him to relax. As a reward, I stopped and let him come in and really relax. After a few minutes, I sent him on a circle (the send of which I yoyoed him all the way out to the end of the line and he made it with a few phase 3s, but mainly phase 1-2. Throughout the game, he came closer and went back out to the end, never staying at the same distance for long and generally pulling toward the barn (which is in the pasture). I drifted with him and stayed at whatever intensity I needed to be at to be appropriate). I could sense a bit of tenseness, so I began asking for changes of directions in order to fully uncover that issue. You see, Blu gets really upset when asked to do changes of direction sometimes. If there was something going on besides focus and calm, asking for a change in direction would let me see it. He was canter and pulling and really tight for about 10 changes before he got lighter and calmer.

He came in for another period of just chilling. After a nice long five minutes, I took off the halter because I wanted to see if he wanted to leave and give him a chance to make himself heard. I began walking and he followed for a few steps then stopped. I watched him thinking and watched him make the choice to go somewhere else. Then he went somewhere else. I remember thinking "Maybe I don't want to write about today," a thought I quickly followed with "I will make today a day worth writing about!" What ensued was a catching game that was very in depth for what I usually do for catching Blu. I played with Ginger for a while, protected Blu from Ginger, played with Misty over the fence, sat down to be in a completely unthreatening position, waited, approached and retreated, moved his hips side to side to get his feet moving...all with no goal of catching him, just to have a long time to observe him and let him observe me. It was his idea to approach me, and when I held out the halter, he came forward, put his head in and then put his head down so I could reach to his throatlatch to tie the knot again. He has never put his head in the halter as I stood in front of him holding it up for him. I have put the halter on that way, but he has never put his nose in by himself. It means a lot because a horse has to have a lot of things mentally, emotionally, and physically in place to do it. The halter is in a blind spot (below the nose), so they have trust that it is safe, they have to want to put the halter on, they have to stand while you reach around (so there are multiple chances for them to change their mind and leave), they have to have the human standing with all of its pressure (eyes, front of body, toes, knees, hips, belly button, shoulders, and face) facing them, and then there is the cooperation of putting their head down for the knot and adjusting. I took it as a very good sign that all that time I spent wandering the pasture and doing all those things and doing all that nothing meant something to Blu and changed his attitude about me.

I tested how he was following me, now as I walked to the open area of the pasture. I wanted to try the circling game and changes of directions with this Blu. He followed willingly and pleasantly. I yoyoed him in and out several times to make sure he was not jumping the gun and to check his straightness. Very straight and appropriately responding to the tiny finger wiggle all the way to the end of the line (as he got further out, though, he sometimes did not go two hooves at a time back wards). More importantly, he was super willing to come right back in again.

When asked for a circle, he stayed soft at a nice jog and had open-handed, soft changes of direction. I was only using about half the line and I did a few bullseye patterns. He had great feel and spiraled right in to me.

I took the line and played the cow game and he was not as enthusiastic as he can be, but he was definitely enthusiastic. He did not push against my hand in opposition reflex when I laid my hand on his face when we finished the cow game, which is a huge sign that he did not get belligerent or dominant after playing that game.

As a last thing, I introduced the "Dame" command to my cowboy hat. He only got so far as to bite the hat, but was immediately familiar with the command, which is very exciting!

Natural Horsewoman Out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
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