Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Ideas #1 and #2 and Other Interesting Things

Blu got out, so Maggie was walking up the pavement path at the neighbors with him as I was just about to go out back and find him. I took the time to brush his mane out really well because he had roughed it up pretty bad while he was getting out.

I him up with the circling game, working up to the canter through up and down transitions. I noticed that he was not making very straight yoyos, so I made a personal note to play with that in the session. He was doing quite well with taking cue from the carrot stick by the time we were finished. I did have to wiggle it and going from the canter to the the trot was easiest for him. Perhaps I should focus on this again in the next session because he could have had smoother upward transitions at times. He was, however snorting a lot, a sign of relaxation. I was doing my transitions very quickly and I could see him shaping his body into a more condensed form as we went along. I played with a new facet of change of direction by asking him to change direction at the halt. This idea just occured to me while I was asking him to halt. If the horse maintains gait, which is responsibility #2 for the horse, change of direction should look like a 180 degree pivot on his haunches. Blu wanted to walk off after his pivot, at first, and it was not quite a pivot, either, but after only 3, he got the picture and would pivot then wait. I started changes of direction for whenever he went off on a tangent, thereby taking the slack out of the line.

After the circling, I saddled him and went to the invisible arena. There, I played with the yoyo, focusing on straightness. I wanted his head to stay straight, because that is where crookedness starts, usually. If he was not focused on me, I would step to the side, or even just look with my head at his hind quarters to straighten out his head. That generally prevented him from taking a crooked step. He wanted to go out on the circle instead of rest, so I also got him thinking about forward and backward by doing many yoyos.

I sent him out to do a figure of eight around two cones and worked toward the goal of only stepping a little backward or forward and otherwise being quiet. Check, goal reached.

I put his bridle on, tightened the girth, mounted, cantered out to a cone in the back of the pasture, and stopped right at the cone. I needed the cone for my precision figure of eight because I replaced the bucket positions with two cones. We cantered around the pasture, into the invisible arena, dropped the cone in its position as we cantered by, went straight to the rail, still cantering, and followed the rail at the canter, then transitioning down to a walk. I think Blu was very impressive and connected for going along with the whole thing so pleasantly. He could have not stopped at the cone, he could have spooked at me dropping the cone in place, he could have not latched onto the rail so well. But it was all just as nice as can be.

After letting him relax with the fluidity rein, I commenced the corners game because I could feel Blu shutting down in the rail pattern. I think it is time for it to become much more interesting. I am thinking that next time I ride, I will do a million transitions on the rail. I played with picking up contact, and he was quite compliant. I only did it at the walk and trot on the rail, and I maintained a finesse position in my body into the figure eight. Circles are very helpful in getting Blu shaped upward. He is so maluable on the circle. An idea I would like to try next time is to try shaping him in a curve opposite to that upon which we are traveling. I did canter on the circle, but only to the right because he could not collect himself to do even a simple change, so I went with the trot. I think I need to be thinking more about a resting spot for Blu in the figure eight. I only started to stop in the middle when it was getting very sloggy on the circles. That helped improve his impulsion. On another important note, the support rein is very important to Blu right now to keep his inside shoulder up.

We tested his freestyle follow the rail responsibility to let him unwind from finesse. At first, the invisible corner needed rein to keep him in, but then he began to follow my focus better. I would like to see this get even better. Perhaps trying it bridleless would be a good idea so I can have a very clear image of when I am touching him.

Overall, tonight, Blu had much better stops, in that he is shifting his weight more to the back than usual. I will look for that trend to continue.

I took Blu out of the gate and he was much better at working it than Misty. He was patient and cooperative. He has room for improvement, but nearly as much as Misty. His strong point was positioning and waiting. His weak point was sidepassing. That should go on my to do list!

Next time I ride plan:

Bridleless follow the rail to warm up
Rest in the middle of figure of eight
Add a jump to the rail for interest--Throw the whole follow the rail repertoire into it (180's, changes of direciton, million transitions, yo yos, corners game, exiting the arena surprise, sideways)
Straightness in the YoYo
changes of direction at the halt

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