Friday, July 2, 2010


I tied Blu up while I got some things around then I saddled him. On the 22' line, I fixed his yoyo, which just so happened to turn out to be an "I think this means circle" yoyo. So, lots of friendly game and just asking him to back up a little at a time then come back to me, and it was fixed in less than 5 minutes.

Next, I actually asked for a circle. I had him rest at obstacles until he was going straight to them when he saw them. He also got much looser and more relaxed in his movement. This was all in preparation for my genius plan, which I will now divulge below:

I am quickly deciding that there is no way that Blu will be wanting to jump without some incentive. He can't do these workouts where we are just pounding around and around in endless circles jumping the jumps. His movement is NOT getting better, in fact, it's quickly getting worse. He is avoiding jumps, not jumping the centers, he is super tense, and there is a lot of indecision-swerving before hand. If something's not working, stop doing it. I can either stop jumping or find a new way to accomplish my goal.

I once heard the Parelli's tell a story about a horse who had been jumping for years and then just stopped jumping. No one could get him to jump anymore, either. Then, they put a bucket on the other side--without the horse knowing it--and Pat got him to jump the jump, and SURPRISE! There was food. Bonus! He got to the point that he was jumping better and then they had the horse jump two jumps before he got food. It's one of the basic principles of teaching horses--over time, to increase the amount of effort they need to put in before they get rewarded.

So, I had been stopping Blu at various barrels that are all over the pasture to get him thinking about obstacles and to get him moving better. Now, I was going to have him go over the cavalettis and stop him at the barrel with a food bucket on it. Then, I would add a jump to the cavalettis.

The first time I moved the circle to the cavalettis, I just moved it next to the cavalettis. His body tensed up, as I predicted it would, so I waited there as he trotted around until his trot was more relaxed. The first time, Blu totally braced against the halter and went around the cavalettis. The second time, he started on the cavalettis, but cut out at the end. Since that was his honest effort, wiggled him to a stop at the barrel. He missed the barrel so I turned him around and sent him back to it for a bite. The next time, I did not have to guide at all. He was focused and floated over the cavalettis. Way to go Blu. I did that 2 more times before I changed the cavalettis to something more difficult: an 18'' jump at the end. Blu knocked it the first time, and destroyed it the second time, so I decided it was too early to do something that difficult and took the jump down to a 12'' cavaletti. That time, he made it over without knocking anything and I ended there.

I cannot tell you how beautiful it was to see this horse's change in expression. I can't wait to pursue this path and see where it takes us.

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