Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Third 2* Lesson (Riding)

Official Records Information:
2 hours

My Warm-Up
Tonight was a riding night, so I had to have her worked on the ground, saddled, and flight-checked before Meggie arrived. As far as catching goes, she did not take off or anything, of course, but it can be in the record that it is still not what I want catching to be like.

I did friendly game for a while--just standing and relaxing for a few minutes. Then I did extreme friendly game, got a very bored look from her, and moved on to the circling game. I did a few yoyos to get her mind on me with long phase ones quick 4. I also began to sneak to her zone 5 if she was not looking at me then stand up and smile if she looked at me. During the circle, she was not putting slack in the line, so I did the bullseye pattern to cause her to focus on me. That made a big difference and got slack in the line and her body bent on the circle nicely. Her canter to walk is still looking better and better. She still only canters one circle before I ask her to walk, so next time we play, I will work on that with something like change of direction.

We ended up running about a bit doing some cutting game and then I bowed and she put her head down. Then we continued the stick to me game and she was really doing a nice job of cantering when I did. Then I turned it into a squeeze game over a few barrels, going over them, turn/face/and waiting and back over until she was doing it fluidly and looking like it was not taking any effort. Walking up to the fence, she was very sweet looking.

Saddling up was a non-event. Maybe I can mention that I tightened up the girth and then changed my mind and took it down a hole because it looked to tight. When I rode, I checked her indirect and direct reins and lateral flexion then went off to and did my little exercise. Everything was looking good, so I went off to do my exercise.

I chose a T-post for one corner of my invisible arena, then there were two ground poles laying together so that they overlapped. My plan was to go over the ground pole, aiming for the middle where the poles overlapped (that was a good way for me to judge how well she was following my lead/focus), then, in line with my chosen T-post, we stop, rest, turn left to the T-post, stop and touch it, rest, turn left, at my other T-post, I turn my focus, then, when we are in line with the ground poles, I turn my focus left again and repeat. At first, she needed a lot of rein correction, did not want to go over the poles, would stop and look into the bushes instead of touching the T-post (that was a right-brain thing that was helped by the consistency), and really wanted to not go. I moved from the walk to the trot, rests got shorter, she needed less rein, she went over the center of the ground pole overlap, she touched the T-post right away.

Meggie's Lesson:
Meggie and I chatted for a few minutes, which was enough time for Misty to go into snooze mode. When the lesson started, that definitely had something to do with the slow reaction time and mental disconnection. So, the lesson began with a billion "can you?'s" for me to think about. I showed her our lateral flexion, direct reins, and indirect reins. For the direct, Misty was not planting a foot like she would if she was thinking. No matter, though. I would think that this should be something that Misty and I can do with a little less waking up. The "Can You....?"'s

Can you do it without reins? Tried it, and the answer is maybe for the indirect and direct if I really worked on getting her focused, she could do a very yucky one, but otherwise no. Also, definitely have a no rein lateral flexion on my list of homework items.
Can you do it with just a carrot stick? Usually, yes, no problem. Not very well for Meggie, though. Still, that goes on the homework list of things to make much better.
Can you rock your horse? Yes. I can also do the thing where you take a step back and then forward, and back, and forward. NOT FOR MEGGIE, though. This I am not too worried about because I really know she can do it well.

Conclusion: I got to know just how crippled Misty and I are when she is not mentally engaged!

So! Next!

We decided to do a figure eight to check out steering. The biggest issues we had were that Misty was drawn to the fence and that she did not want to go. We discussed how I use my legs to steer. In order to turn right, I used to plant my right leg in the middle and shift the left leg forward to bend the front end around. Well, Blu does not steer well that way when he is scattered, so I began to turn right by putting the left leg back instead of forward. Well, that works REALLY well for Blu, but putting the leg forward works better for Misty. So, I need to make sure I do what makes more sense to her. After some time, I was able to muscle her away from the fence by putting the leg forward. Of course, my homework is to refine that so I don't muscle her around at all!

Then I began to stop in the middle of the eight to get her more motivated. Meggie suggested it just as I was beginning to do it! Licking and chewing came pretty quick. When we began trotting, I took the saddle off because Misty moves better sans-saddle. Meggie read Misty's sweat pattern. There were no dry spots where they shouldn't be, but there was a spot of hair on both sides in the same place where it was going backwards. Meggie said that is friction where there should be none, caused by my riding. I think it was from when I was moving ahead of Misty's motion, a bad habit I have when she is not going fast enough. Homework!

At the end, I did a few laps of the canter around the pasture so Meggie could at least see it. She did not seem conclusive, but she felt that there was just some disharmony in the way my hips move. She said that if she could see me go around at the canter for a while she could be more sure, tell me if I was braced/stiff somewhere, etc, but I will be taking videos of the canter to see if I can find it and fix it by myself. We conversed about how smoother horses can be harder to be perfectly in harmony with because if you are off just slightly, it does not feel bad. On the other hand, with the Quarter Horse and Hanoverian I have ridden who belong to other people, if I did not stay in harmony with those horses, I knew it! It seems this is a very fine art, being in harmony with a horse as smooth as Misty.

At some point, I also showed Meggie how I frog hop onto Misty's back and also vault. Some day she will have to see how Maggie has Ginger bow so she can hop on. Or how Connor throws Bridget onto his back when she climbs on his neck.


No Touching The Reins

Synchronization at the Canter? (video?)

Bridleless- be very interesting

Have Tail Driving PERFECT so I can show Meggie! (this is my personal addition to the list; I want Meggie to see how good Misty is at this now--every time I go to show her, Misty is zoning out or something)

Pattern/Track-be very particular about where Misty steps (maybe draw lines)

Point-to-Point with Cookies

Direct/Indirect/Lateral Flexion Without Reins

This lesson was a huge success for me. I am glad Misty got to relax and disconnect while we talked because that brings to surface some problems. Ideally, I don't want Misty to be so difficult to get back into mental collection and connection, and I was able to get some tangible visuals to keep in mind as I am doing my preflight checks. I like doing these "can you do this simple thing very well, right now?" stuff. It's all about finding holes so that I can fill them in. Very constructive!

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