Thursday, August 12, 2010

Witty Title

Official Records Information:
I am going to do a pattern interrupt and put the ORI at the end. Toss the salad, people, toss the salad.

I have been watching some of the Parelli DVD material that I have in my personal awesome-library. It was prompted by my lesson. Meggie asked me what patterns I did freestyle with Misty, and I answered, but my mind kind of froze up on me. That happens frequently when she asks me questions that have correct answers because I am still not over being nervous around her (it is just me and how I am with new people), but I realized that I did not know all of the patterns like I know the 7 games (Friendly, Porcupine, Driving, Yo-Yo, Circle, Sideways, Squeeze) or the 7 keys to success (Attitude, Knowledge, Tools, Techniques, Time, Imagination, and Support)--that is all burned into the back of my eyelids. So, I watched the free style patterns DVD. Well, that was neat! Nothing like watching something again with fresh eyes. So, I began watching other DVDs--enjoying the brand new DVD player I bought at an auction for $15!

So, long story short, I had a lot of fresh ideas, concepts, and principles swirly-swirling in my head for tonight's sessions.

Blu was funny catching tonight. He does not put much effort to getting away if he is not coming straight to me. It is almost like a game to him, whereas with Misty, she really is communicating something like "I don't feel like it." So Blu walked off and went through the corn crib and I very slowly followed him. When I came out of the corn crib on the other side, he was defecating and facing me. I smiled and he came up to me like "where have you been?" He, then followed me to the other side of the pasture where I had a halter on a barrel with a 45' line and carrot stick sitting on the ground.

At the barrel I revived our dame (In spanish, the verb "give" conjugated into command form with the attached "me" meaning "to me," so Give to Me) command with the halter. I got him to the point where he understood that when I point to the halter and say "dame," he bites it and lifts it. I made a point of not giving him a treat until the halter was in my hand, but I don't think he made that connection. I decided that we made enough progress on that front for one night, though.

No problem putting the halter on. . . let's see, next we must have stood out in the pasture for a few minutes and done some friendly game of rubbing. I cannot tell you how important that is to your horse. I fit the friendly game into my sessions at many points. Don't underestimate it's awesome power!

Next, I yoyoed him out. He was kind of "eeh" so I had to do long phase 1 quick 2-3-4, so when he got to the end, I did the friendly game, slapping the ground and then swinging the carrot stick around by the savvy string. At first he shifted his weight as if to go on the circle, but that was as far as that thought went before he said, "oh" and stood. Then, I turned my back to him for about 30 seconds. When I turned back around, he was intently watching me. When I asked him to go off to the right, I really liked his expression and response. He seemed to see me, process the request, and commence going to the right all in a very timely manner. Turning my back to him did a lot to catch his attention. When he completed the circle, I brought him back in and played some more of the yo-yo game. He was stepping his hind end out and getting to about 30 feet out and getting dull. So, I focused on keeping him straight and when he petered out at 30 feet, I did long phase one, quick 4. Another thing I think I could have tried is to ask him to come back in before we hit 30 feet, like at 25' feet, then have him stop at 15' feet and back him to 30', then forward to 20', then back to 35', etc. It would be interesting to see if that technique would work. I just thought of it now, but I think it would be less noisy (By "noisy" I mean the phase 4).

When I was satisfied with the yo-yo (by the way, his bring back was fine), I moved on to my session goals, which were:

Get Blu to jump the barrels (laying down barrels)
Ride Blu over the barrels if he does well enough on the ground, otherwise, just jump him over something while riding

So, I sent him out on the circle and played with transitions up and down from walk to trot. It has been a while since he circled at 45', so I think he was kind of "wide open spaces, la la la," for a bit, because he was kind of dull at first when I was asking him to slow down with the carrot stick. Once he was going up and down, I put his circle over the barrels and he stopped and talked for a very long time with the barrels. I had a ground pole on either side to keep him from rolling the barrels away, because all though that is wonderful, sometimes we want him to jump over them. So, in my set up for success, I did that. When he finally stood still with his head hanging over them, nibbling on grass on the other side, I began inching toward zone 5, but not putting slack in the rope. Pretty quick he stepped away from the barrels and I snuggled him for a bit. The next time, which went similarly (slide to a stop in front of the barrels and eat grass on the other side), I did not snuggle him after wards, but sent him off in the other direction and moved the circle away from the barrels. Now I began to ask for him to maintain the canter. I will note here that Blu has much better impulsion than Misty. He is an LBI, too, but his impulsion is more of a 4 or 5. He is much easier to get multiple laps out of than Misty. It only took 3 direction changes and he was doing 5-10 laps with absolutely no problem, maintaining a nice shape, slack in the line--lovely. Now when I moved the circle the barrels, he skidded to a halt but this time, he wedged his leg between two barrels and made a 4'' gap that he squeezed through. I just stood and watched. Once, he asked a question and I just smiled. After that is when he began to put his leg on it and then squeeze his way through. After that I had him into snuggle and I killed a B52 Bomber that landed on him. The next time he came to the barrels, it was in the opposite direction of what he'd been doing all night, and he stopped again. This time, he did not put a leg over. I yo-yoed him from way out there to and from the barrels. Finally, he put his head down and ate from the other side. I brought him in and friendlied before sending him out again. This time, he suddenly noticed the barrel 45' from the barrel jump. He was not sure, but he wanted to investigate it. At first, he would stop and face it (away from me), so I used it as a way to ask him to stop from the canter with the carrot stick. But the problem was that he was disconnecting from me, so I asked him to change directions everytime he broke gait. When he got to the barrels the next time, I asked for a change of direction before he could stop. Huh. When he got around to the other side, I did the same thing, and as he cantered off, he noticed the set up again and I let him drift there and get a bite.

The next time he got to the barrels, I let him go over them, and it was wonderful. He stopped and ate then sent him around again. I made the decision that I did not want to ride him over it tonight because of just how hard it is for him. It does not seem to be an "I don't want to," just difficulty wrapping his mind around jumping over them instead of rolling them away. He has jumped tires and wood and seeing the same set up of a barrel after it really helped him think "jump it." I will play some more with this, though.

I sent him over them again, let him eat, then brought him in to stand with me. I sat down and let him chew his huge mouthful without the halter on. When he began to want to move around, I got up and played at liberty with him. I did some cutting game and stick to me. He did not even look at the barrel, which was cool. He was trotting to me, stopping and backing up when asked...good stuff, folks. Then, the ultimate test, I ran around to the barrels, and instead of going off to the side or trying to run me over, he went over them and ran with me to the barrel. In order to progress this, next time I will ask him to stop with me before we get to the food barrel then walk to it, and maybe in a couple sessions away I will decrease the barrels from 3 abreast to 2.

We walked and trotted and stopped and backed and trotted etc. in the stick to me game on the way up to the fence. I decided to ride bareback but wanted to put on the bridle. As I walked to the fence and picked up the bridle, Blu began to amble off, so I ran to the barrel with the food on it. Pretty quick he was running after me, and when I stopped, he was caught up to me and we were back at the barrel. I let him clean up the food bucket changed the barrel jump into cross bar jump with two up-ended barrels as stansions and the ground poles I had used to keep the barrels from rolling as the bars. It was about 2' high, I think. Then, I refilled the food bowl, put the bridle on, hopped on, and off we went.

So, I took him away from the barrel to two cones to play with the figure eight. I was very particular about making to nice, round circles in the same track. Blu was bending his body very nicely, but was took several 8's to catch on to going on the same track. Also, at first, he would pick up the canter when I put my leg on him to bend him. Interesting, just a simple miscommunication that I just let him figure out by himself. When he did two figure 8's in a row on the same track and maintained a consistent movement in the trot, I asked for the canter and we cantered together straight for the jump (which was changed, remember), over it, and stopped at the food, where I promptly hopped off and took off his bridle.

After Blu finished cleaning the bowl (which was him dumping it onto the barrel and cleaning off the barrel, he followed me to the other pasture. There we hung out for a while. I took him to the water and told him to get a drink. The whole time, Misty was hanging around us. It was very nice and took about 10 minutes for me to decide to start with Misty. I went to the back gate to close it so Blu did not go out and walk through the back pasture's fence (bad Blu. he does that every time he goes out, so now he does not get to go out till we get the fence fixed!). Misty and Blu followed me. When I went to Blu, Misty came to see if I was sharing anything edible then ambled back to the front area. I walked with Blu with his head under my arm for a bit--he likes that--then decided to play a game with him and Misty. I walked bent over and crept very slowly, ducking below Misty's view behind her zone 5. Blu followed me as I swerved away from her eyes, keeping his head low like mine. I was telling Blu, "Now, we need to stand up and smile as soon as she faces us," when she turned and faced us. Blu and I stood up and smiled and she came to us. Fun. Also, while I was over there messing around, I lead Misty by the tail, totally at liberty, no proper playing or safety net and after a little waiting, she remembered and was leading like a pro, much better than she did for me when we were in front of Meggie the other night. Gah! I went to the gate and I felt I needed to hold onto her while we went through the gate. That is definitely one of the little things that I am looking to get better as the relationship does.

I himmed and hawed for all of 30-60 seconds before I decided to just ride her bareback and bridleless with a neck string and carrot stick. I decided that we were good to go after the nice things we did on the ground in the other pasture. I wanted to ride around the cones and see how our figure 8 was now that Meggie was not here (there is a trend of us not doing very well in front of Meggie, if you haven't noticed!) and work on not touching the steering device (reins, string, carrot stick). The cones were in the same place and I hardly used the carrot stick, never used the neck string, and she even followed the track very well (put my hand out and used my peripheral vision to keep my hand covering the cone, so our loops were the same). I stopped in the middle, another thing I was particular about. If she did not stop right between the two cones, I backed her up (with just my seat and feet, by the way) to the middle. When the walk felt really good, I moved on to the trot, and when that was good, I did one figure eight at the canter with a simple lead change. Super. And, coming to a stop in the middle, it was all great, even at the canter we went from canter to a stop with just my energy. I hugged my horse.

As promised, the Official Record Information at the end of the post:

Blu, evening, 8-12-10, 2 hours

Blu and Misty, evening, 8-12-10, 10 minutes

Misty, evening, 8-12-10, 30 minutes of awesome

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