Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Fourth 2 Star Lesson

Official Records Information:
2 hours and 15 minutes (30 minutes before lesson, 1 hour lesson, 45 minutes after lesson)

My next lesson is on September 17, so I have on month to play around with what I learned today, which is a lot. I decided that I would not ride in today's lesson because I have not had the chance to make much progress with my homework for riding. So, I asked Meggie if we could start "reintroducing" the 45' line to my sessions. Now, I got my 45' line last August. When I first started using it, I was like, "Golly, this is ten times worse than the awkwardness that happened when I transitioned to the 18' line (I had a homemade, not yacht braid, line for level two. I do NOT recommend going that route. I had no other choice, at the time) because it was not only SUPER DUPER way-longer, but it was a totally different material. So, I worked really hard to get excellent at handling it. It lived at home with me, I tied it to the fence and practiced reeling the fence in as I coiled the rope, etc. etc. Over the winter, I became an adept user of it. I especially liked that in the mud, it did not get super heavy the way that a yacht line does. However, I have used the 23' line a lot this summer (I now have a 23' yacht braid)--a lot more than the 45' line. I did use the 45' for two-line ground driving, but even then, with my lessons, we have been focusing on one-line ground driving. So, at fair, when I was using the 45' line, I noticed that I was about as rusty as my truck--the Barnkat is VERY rusty--at handling the line. In addition, Misty was super rusty at her responsiveness with it. And that is the rundown of exactly why I requested a 45' line session.

I specifically wanted to play with the yo yo game and the circling game, as both were seriously affected by the distance. Misty would reach a certain point and not back up as responsively, and circling, she circled too close. Of course, this is an instance where I could have played with it by myself and gotten it worked out on my own, but when you have Parelli Professional at your disposal, you ask for help. I am really growing a lot in that area--usually, with horses, I suck at asking for help. I have my pride and I would much prefer that I can stand back and proudly exclaim "I did it by myself!" I think that I have finally realized that there is no shame in asking for help. I read books and watch DVDs, why do I draw the line at asking a live person for help? Big stuff for me.

So, onward ho! To the lesson!

Pre-Lesson Warm Up
Can you say "Misty rocks!" for me? I went into the pasture with a halter and strung carrot stick. Misty immediately walked into the corn crib. I followed her until she was in, which put me at the opening to the pen in front of the corn crib. I whistled and waited. Like a deity descending upon her worshippers, Misty walked out of the dark of the corn crib and came straight to me, ears forward, rhythmically walking. I thought she would hit a threshold and stop, or see the halter and have a change of heart. No such luck. The stinker just came all the way to me and got a cookie.

In my mind, now, the plan was to do some lead by the tail at liberty (permitting I did not have to go back to the line to work on it) with the pedestal and cones. I was a short for time, so that would be all.

I played the friendly game--extreme and massaging--by her zone 5 and then moved on to lead by the tail. I played with stopping at cones and then started to drive her forward to the tire pedestal. I yo yoed her on and off the pedestal, just her front feet, using lead by the tail. I played with it until she could respond with just 3 hairs! It was getting close to when Meggie should arrive, so I quit there. When Meggie got there, I finally got to show her a nice lead by the tail. It's about time!

The Lesson.
We started on the 23' line. The yo yo was a bit busted up, so we fixed it, first. She was nodding her head up, as if anticipating a quick phase 4 as she dragged backwards. The remedy was to stay light and just wait for her to use her whole body to back up, even if it was just a single moment in the right position. When that happened she was instantly rewarded with a release. The other tactic was to ask her back in a lot. We played with that for a while until she was much more relaxed.

Not much to say about her circling game, I guess. We did one, I think.

Then, onto the real meat of the lesson: the 45' line! The yo yo was not having a problem with her bobbing her head, but she was going slowly back, if at all. Meggie walked me through the following:
long phase one. . .
marchy run at horse's zone 1, driving backwards
retreat to phase one or stop and begin again

The idea is that Misty had two options: 1. phase one 2. CIRAAAZZY LADY COMIN' ATCHA!!
We played with this until we hit a stopping point. I will be playing with this more later. Moving on, I sent her, and Meggie got to see how unexcited, too close, and dull Misty was on the 45' line. The solution: fix the send. Meggie asked me to please fly Misty out to the end of the line (walk, jog, canter, whatever, just flying her). Three whaps "where she was" on the ground in front of me and she was flying. When Misty put too much slack in the line or made it too taut, I brought her in and resent her. Meggie told me it was important that she did not get a chance to relax when she came in, because the point of this bring back was to show her that if she did not stay at 45', no more or less, away from me, I would just resend her again. When we got some nice circles, it was over.

We saved the last few minutes to go over some 45' rope handling skills.

Meggie and I had some pretty in depth discussion as I was playing. We discussed my showing Misty and the sticky situation that it was and how I should handle it with savvy. I can't go into depth publicly, but this will serve as a reminder to myself that it happened.

She also talked about how at the ranch people are reminding you all the time that you are exactly where you need to be. It's kind of like what Linda says (she is quoting someone else) that life is perfect and unfolding precisely the way it should. It's an important thing to remember because it really affects your attitude, specifically affecting positive change in your attitude.

The other subject was that, as an instructor, you don't always feel like a winner at the end of the day. There will be some students who don't actually want to learn, as crazy as that sounds. It is the instructors job to do her best to facilitate learning and accept the place the student is at in her journey--not only on a level 1-4 platform, but on a platform of personal development as well. I guess I had never thought of the fact that there might be some students, who I would not be successful with. However, it did not turn me off to being an instructor--it's still my goal.

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