Thursday, August 19, 2010

We Belong

I taped my ear buds into my ears with masking tape (My ears are small, so the buds only stay in if I sit really still. Even then, there is no guarantee they will stay in), put my MP3 player into my ball cap, and drove off to the farm. My MP3 player is largely '80's music, and one of the songs that I heard during the session is called We Belong by Pat Benetar ( ). It fit perfectly to my session as a whole.

Misty and Blu
1 hour

I pulled into the driveway and parked under a walnut tree. The first thing I saw was Misty looking right at me, then some several feet from her, was Blu, also watching the truck. It warmed my heart, and as I got out and began walking over, I suddenly wasn't sure who to play with. Before I got far from the truck, I knew this was a great opportunity that should not be passed up.

I greeted each horse and called them to the gate. Blu I sent into the yard and Misty I lead closer to the barn where some long grass was. I knew this was important because she would be more likely to go off over the hill or to the neighbor's house.

Both horses contentedly grazing, I went in and picked out the two halters and then chose the 12' line for Blu and the 45' line for Misty. I know that sounds weird, but here is my rational: I wanted to play with the 45' line to work on my rope handling skills, but if I had to deal with two long ropes, it may have been too much tangling. Now, eventually, I would not mind playing with both on a 45' line, but for now, I wanted to keep it "simple'' so to speak.

Misty was not skeptical about being clipped on, and of course Blu could care less. I lead them off and Misty lagged behind Blu's butt while Blu kept right up with me. I yo yoed Blu through the gate back and forth a few times, then went through. Misty was grazing around the corner, so I put a little feel on the rope then spanked behind her drive line. Blu was confused about his job, at first, but I just let him drift out of place from his position behind me and then put him back into place with my free hand.

Misty finally came through and I stood with them for a little bit. Then we headed out to the back of the pasture, both horses coming along, looking very interested. When arrived, I yo yoed them out and got right to it, sending them one at a time out on a circle. This was just a testing night to see what kind of things we have right now. I know that these two are excellent with the circling game at liberty in the round pen. This past winter, I was able to have them go in OPPOSITE directions on the circle at the same time and not have a collision nor have one try change direction to follow the other. But lines attached are a different story.

Here are my discoveries and notes on the circling games we did together:
Whoever is on the inside is much more connected than the one on the outside. The one on the outside relies heavily upon following the inside horse's lead for changes of gait or direction.
When Blu is on the outside, he tends to get naughty and try biting Misty's back. Things worked out much better in that respect when I was circling with Misty only 6 feet away and Blu all the way out.
Things generally work MUCH better if the outside horse is much further out than the inside horse.
Wear gloves (I did tonight, and I know it was a good thing)
The line of the outside horse does the porcupine game on the horse on the outside by pulling him forward, and the horse on eth oustide by pulling her back. Would like to see this be more significant to the horses.
The horse on the outside had a bad send--would stand dumbfounded while the other horse pushed against him/her

Once I had gathered enough observations about what needed work, I took Blu to a line of three barrels end-to-end on their sides and ground tied them there. He stayed there trying to figure out what he was supposed to do with the barrels the entire time I was playing with Misty. I played with Misty's circling game on the 45' line for 10 or 15 minutes, using the whole rope. I fixed her send, but then she was running around like a maniac. So, I did the bullseye pattern to get her thinking more about me. That worked nicely and I was able to do some transitions stuff. I got to where we were just using the carrot stick. I could tell that she was still on a lot of adrenaline, though, so amongst having her come in and lower her head with me bending over as the cue to do so, I tried a mirror me sort of thing. I planted the line so it was about 15 fee long and then made an rounded rectangle shape for laps. I had her canter and it was fast and frantic. She learned where the line length was and respected it pretty well. I let her drift a bit on the corners in the beginning, because she was just learning the pattern. I mirrored her frantic canter, but then, I began to do a less frantic canter on the short sides of our rectangle as well as stop allowing her drift. She began to mirror me on those short sides, which would make sense because it was more difficult for her to go so fast around those short sides, which were basically just smallish half circles (but not quite). Then I made the change between the end caps and the long run more drastic: I would canter faster than her on the long sides and go even slower on the ends. She began to mirror me instantly. You see, I think her LBI started to kick in and, even though she is an Arabian, she was saying, "whoa, I don't need to go that fast" (I was going pretty fast), or she was just caught off guard when I went even faster than she was. Pretty soon, I was able to keep the slower canter going on the long sides. At the end, I was covered in sweat and absolutely out of breath and Misty was totally calm after our stand-with-head-down rest. We probably did about 20 or 30 laps, and I was going with her the whole time. I recovered quite a bit from bowing our heads.

Misty's change of direction toward Blu
Misty's excellent stick to me
More circles with Both horses, only they both did much better. No crashing or colliding.

Blu catching with Misty (Blu wandered off, so we drew him back to us)

I am so exhausted and I work tomorrow, so I hope some of this can be finished up tomorrow.

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