Monday, April 12, 2010

Trailerloading Made Easy

What fun I had tonight! Bridget and my sister, Magnolia, all played with our horses while my mom looked on (for the most part). I built a playground around the trailer, which was hooked up to The BarnKat (my truck). I had the table cloth tied up again, but in a new way and with an additional table cloth. I had to cones out, as well. The trailer door stayed up. I worked with the 45' line. We three just loaded our horses for the first times this year and we had no big scene, no yelling, no frustration; just laughing, jumping up and down in joy, and really big smiles.

Official Records Information
2 hours

I have decided to make a serious patterned program out of catching for the next seven sessions. I started it today. My goal is that Misty will put more effort into being caught. It is already a general non-event, but I often sense reserves on her part, and I don't want that. So:
1) sit outside the pasture with back against the gate for 5 minutes (I used a timer)
2) stand up, go into the pasture and give Misty 10 seconds to make a salutation
3) a. if she ignores me, I will casually walk around to her and begin stalking with serious intensity b. if she meets my eyes, wait for 20 seconds and halve the distance to her, wait, repeat
4) allow her to close the distance, dance as necessary, avoid tagging her/keep the energy low
5) give her several chances to leave during haltering by stopping and stepping back during haltering. If she leaves, start over from step 3) a.
6) Tah Dah! She loves me!

I had a very interesting Catching Game, tonight. There are a few noteworthy observations:
#1 she greeted me when I got to the farm, coming up from the back of the pasture, but she completely ignored and moved away from me during the 5 minutes of sitting.
#2 I could really tell that she was keeping at least one eye on me and she was very attentive to my movements, but she was not in a rush to get away
#3 she did not leave me when I gave her the opportunity to when I was haltering
#4 she took a long time before she began to get into halter position with her head laterally

On the way to the gate, to get her mind started, I tossed the line over her body to the other side of her so she had to do a spin away from me. When we got to the gate and the gate was open, it took her a few extra seconds to think through it, as she wanted to go forward, not right.

Misty immediately got tense when she saw the trailer, so I spent a good amount of the time to let her relax and eat grass before starting anything.

It took a 1.........2-3-4! before she stopped grazing and looked at me with an "Oh, we are starting?" I asked her to play the circling game behind the trailer. I stayed very patient and quiet, letting her pick the gait and direction at first. I did not want to start asking things of her until she was looser and more relaxed. Then I began asking for changes of direction, and when those were more relaxed, I moved her to two cones I had set up and began asking changes of direction with those. The two cones were set up about 10' apart and each 30' from the trailer. I am sure you guessed that the next step was to just do figure eights. I progressively made the cones closer together and closer to the trailer until they were about a foot from the trailer and about 4 feet apart. I got Misty there and she was not in the least worried about the trailer; rather, she was so attentive to me, asking questions, trying, stepping lightly. Then, once, instead of going around a cone, she just stepped confidently in the trailer and looked back at me, I smiled and decided that was a successful ending note for the day and we grazed and watched the other two girls have success with their horses for the next...I don't know, 30 minutes or more.

Natural Horsewoman 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