Monday, September 13, 2010

Blu and the Parelli Feather Lines

ORI: Blu 9-13-10 30 minutes evening
My mom brought the horses up from the back. Blu saw me and walked to me to get his rubs and hugs. Then I tossed the brand new 22' featherlines on the ground and pointed to them. He appreciated that and enjoyed investigating them with his mouth. He did not eat them, just nibbled and rubbed with his nose. Of course I haltered him, next, using the barn knot set up, level one style, looking for quality. He was in position and in the frame to be haltered.

I started slowly with leading and following the feel of the lines. For some reason, at first, he was really heavy on the lines, but he became lighter and more attentive. Next, had him yoyo out then circle and his energy slowly came up as we did flying lead changes and moved around the pasture. Pretty soon, we progressed to Blu and I running around the pasture in a stick to me like exercise with changes of direction that had a lot of elevation in the forehand and real hindquarter engagement--plus flying lead changes, of course.

After I brought him down from his high with some slower stuff and friendly game, I made the 22' strings in reins like a horseman's reins set with a tail that went to my belt loop. When I got to the fence Blu came sideways to me upon my request, but I needed to ask. It seemed that he was just not paying attention, not that he did not want me to mount. When I did mount, he was very quiet and stood patiently waiting for instruction.

In the invisible arena, I did a very bad thing, though it was out of excitement mixed with exhaustion, both of which hindered my judgment, I guess. For whatever reason, I covered too many rail games. I started with follow the rail, but then we were all over the map--180's, circles, corner game--it was really nuts. Blu was not bothered by it, but he probably did not learn much. Toward the end I realized that I was being a nutter and I retreated to doing just a very simple follow the rail game. Phew.

We did follow the rail in all three gaits. The canter was the most difficult because it was hard for him to stay in balance. I recognized when he broke out of imbalance and would wait until he found balance again before I asked him to go up to the canter again. This is something Walter Zettl stressed this past weekend. You should not make a transition until your horse is in balance and can do the transition with elegance--whether it is a walk to a halt or flying lead change. Balance is a required ingredient for a good transition and a good conversation. This was Blu's big learn for the night. It was actually pretty quick that he stopped breaking gait due to lack of impulsion. The corner that was particularly imbalancing for him was the northeast corner where there were many hickory nuts on the ground. I ended when he stayed in balance and maneuvered the corner at the canter. Good thing I got focused on a single pattern!

When I let Blu go, tonight, he followed me unconditionally to the other pasture. Once there, I pet him and scratched him, then I pointed to his stall and he went right in.

I think that the important lesson I learned tonight was to stay on task. Sometimes we have to divert from the plan, but if you do not have to, it is really important to be consistent until the horse really knows and performs the pattern.

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