Sunday, September 26, 2010

Don't Rush Me!!!!!

Blu, 1 hour 30 minutes, afternoon, 9-26-10

I started out too relaxed and was crunched for time at the end of the session, so I suddenly felt very rebellious and did not want to go to work. I did go to work, though. I did not stick it to the man.

After getting all my gear out (23' line, halter, strung carrot stick, saddle, pad, girth), setting my precision figure eight, and increasing the length of the short side of my arena by about 10 feet, I walked out to the back pasture and put the on his halter with a savvy string on a carrot stick attached to it. I approached with lots of rests and sits so he would feel less pressure to go up front. Once he was on the carrot stick, I took my time moseying up to the front. On the way up, I tested some things with him being attached to the carrot stick. I lead the carrot out in front of us then passed the stick behind me to have him follow the feel. He was responsive and willing to learn (it is a different visual for him, having the stick lead him). By the time we were done, he was much lighter and more maneuverable.

Once Blu was on the 23' line, I wanted to take some time to do something nice for him (scratch his itchies) while he stood by the rail. Essentially, a friendly game on the rail. So, I led him to the rail of the arena I built and scratched him. This is one of the items that I probably got carried away with. He enjoyed it.

I used my 18' line to build my precision figure eight in the middle of my arena. I used tires as the two center points, a little less than 18' apart. Cones were set 18' east and west of each tire and then I used 10 gallon buckets to mark the point 18' south of the southern tire and 18' north of the northern tire. Do you have a mental picture? Does it look like this?
Good. I am facing west right now, so the diagram is orient with west on top, north on the right and so on. Back to the post!

When I was done scratching Blu, I sat on the yellow bucket to play with him. I yoyoed him back, testing how light it could be. Once he became more connected (that took very little movement in and of itself), he was going back with my energy phase one. When he got to the tire, I waited for him to stop pawing and investigating it--as in I was waiting for a question. When he asked, I directed him into a figure eight pattern that had the southern tire and its eastern cone as centers. I only got up once, and Blu made sure I stayed sitting after that. It probably took 15 eights and one or two rests with me before he completed 2 eights without me doing anything. That was our ending point. Another thing that I probably should have cut short for the sake of time. In order to "cut it short" successfully, I would have had to change my goal to something that would have been easier to reach. My goal was for him to complete those two laps without me touching the stick or directing him. Instead, an adjusted goal would have been for him to get around one bend without me touching the stick or otherwise directing. See? But no, I was in the zone and all sense of time gone . . .

I saddle Blu up and put my foot in the stirrup before having walked him at all. Blu threw up his head and pinned his ears. "Alright, then, let's walk over here." I walked then trotted him to our arena. He was moving fine. I tightened the girth and stepped up and waited in one stirrup, leaning on the saddle with my hip. Nothing from his end. So I got on and still nothing. Interesting. Something to pay attention to next time so I can compare.

We followed the rail (the arena was bigger!). The first lap was off from the change, but then he learned the new boundary and was good for walking and trotting. Canter lap was ALL over at first, then he did a perfect lap and a great stop. The first lap was him feeling out the new arena size and trying to collect his thoughts and body. I just guided very gently and the second lap I could feel him moving himself through space on the new path much more efficiently. I rewarded him with the stop because, for those two laps, not once had he broken gait out of a lack of impulsion. I definitely did not touch the reins for the stop.

I was pretty sure that I would need to go right into the figure eight. The first one was really nice. He latched right onto the idea of walking along a path on the outside of the markers. I did have to use my reins/legs a few times, but not bad. One more figure eight lap with precision markers, then I realized the time and knew I needed to get going. So, I rode to one bucket and picked it up. The bucket was only 24'' high, so I really had to reach to get it from the saddle. Blu was very patient and still. The second bucket was upside down, so I had to get down to get it. Putting the time into picking up the bucket from the saddle was another "time well wasted" deal.

I took off Blu's bridle and he followed me to the fence. When we got there, I put the buckets down and laid his bridle over the fence . . . and the stinker walked off before I had unsaddled him! He did not really walk. It was much slower than that. And as he went, he would stop here or there and think. He thought about going into hs stall, for example, but then he decided to go out. I just stood for a while, watching, waiting for him to make up his mind. The mares were right by the gate, so I knew he would only go just inside the Middle Earth Pasture. Once he settled, I walked out, took my saddle off him, itched his under-saddle itches, and took care all my stuff.

All the while that I was putting stuff away, I was quite disappointed that today's session had to be cut off, but I was very glad that we ended on a good note. Even though Blu left, I don't blame him. It would be nice if Blu could see the horses right there and the grass right there and decide to stay with me, but we are pretty darn close to that.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

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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

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  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
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