Saturday, August 21, 2010

Striving for Excellence

Some people are content to enjoy a relationship with their horse safely and confidently. I am not one of those people. I want to see just how far I can go with these partners. I don't think that my destination can be defined, but I am on a journey towards it at full speed (I came up with that, you are welcome to quote me and reference my blog!). Today's session was all about finding excellence.

Misty, 1 hour 30 minutes, afternoon, 8-21-10

Misty was in the corn crib in the eastern doorway. She stepped in head first, but instead of following, I waited. She backed up to see what was going on after several moments of intense waiting. Then she went in all of the way and hid behind Connor. I went in and pet Connor. Pretty darn quick, she came up to me and greeted me with a very open face. I smiled back and held out the halter. She did not put it on as perfectly as I would like (really, I would like to hold it up and have her come running to it and then, with precision, put her head right into the nose hole!), but she was trying to get her nose in the hole and she waited very nicely with her head in the proper position (down and tilted toward me) except for only one polite correction in the middle.

As I walked off, I let the 45' line drift through my hands. I wanted to work through her thresholds if she had any, thresholds present not due to fear, but not-wanting-to-go-"work." She stopped at the corn crib doorway. I played the yoyo game to approach and retreat from the door way, and eventually, through the door way. The next threshold was the open way where a gate used to be in the pen outside the corn crib. Things got tricky there though because Blu was being a nuisance. (Here, I will add that Blu did not come right up to me, but now that I had Misty, he was all over us). So, I sorted those two out and when I was finished with that, Misty followed me right out. However, I went faster to the front fence than she did, so as she caught up, I was able to practice recoiling the rope really fast. All of the coils looked like coils, but some were slightly bigger/smaller and some were crooked like.

Leading out to the back of the North Pasture, I said "hey keep up, baby" by flicking the carrot stick behind me. As we went along, she was walking about 6' from me and I was level with her zone two, but she was scoping out the path for something to touch, stand on, stop at, etc. I just remained a viewer of her behavior and kept on walking. Every cone, barrel, etc. we passed, she gravitated to, but our momentum was always greater than the "gravity" until we got to the tire pedestal. Shooonk! She stood on it, but only then did she finally ask a question. Before, she was not connecting with me that way. I petted her then kept walking, letting the line slip along. At the end of the line, she raised her head at first, pulling a bit, but then she conceded and came along with me. I am thinking about that little behavior, as it happens with other obstacles that I am asking her to leave. With a barrel for instance, if she is trying and then asks a question, I might reward her by going on to another thing. She sometimes looks back to the barrel, as though she thinks I am going to tell her to try again, or maybe she is not even reading me at all and is just taking the reins. Then, she will also sometimes do this stiff opposition reflex sort of raised head thing. . . and I am not sure if I should continue walking away with a porcuppine feel, or if I should retreat and relax then reapproach; I have done both in the past. I will email Meggie (who is now in Colorado, I believe) and see what she says.

I have created a new phase one for my yo yo: Just my energy. At first, I did a long phase one with my energy, then I ran her backwards for about two horse lengths. Next, I did a long phase one and rewarded her slight shift backwards with totally turning off my energy and looking down. Her try just got bigger every time, and after about 10 repetitions, she was backing with two feet at a time, relaxed, and for about 15'! That was one of my homework items. Now I need to continue to use it.

I have this post written on a piece of paper, so I will finish it tomorrow, hopefully.

Very cool stuff!

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