Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Power of Positive Attitude

This morning I got to see how Misty was doing after last night's kerfuffle. She looked at me, which was good. Starting in that moment, I was positive. I just blogged about last night's session before going to the farm to get this session started, so last night was very fresh in my mind. I knew that today needed to be a new day for me, but also to remember the lessons I took from last night. My plan was to focus on exuding positive energy, to be very sensitive to her thresholds, and to end it when it got to feeling really good.

Catching her did not take so long, today. In fact, I had prepared to myself mentally for the event of Misty not wanting to do anything today after last night's ride. She was actually quite tractable. I did the S bends to catch her, heading always to zone 5, turning away or fading away when she moved her front end toward me. She was actually following me after only a minute or so. Then, after standing with her for a moment, I put the halter on. This process did not take long, either. She got more cooperative, aiming her nose into the halter sooner.

After some friendly throwing savvy string around her body, I began drawing her to me. She was sticky, so I maintained a light and rhythmic pressure on the rope. When she looked at me, I walked away from her at a good pace. This technique worked exactly as it is supposed to. She walked faster and faster trying to catch me, putting more slack in the line. When the rope began to drag on the ground, I would reel it in a bit more, and in this way, she ended up right next to me in a very non-confrontational way.

Our walking put us all the way in the northwest corner in the invisible arena. I rubbed her and then played with leading her by the tail. You may recall that last night she gave me an extremely awesome back up toward me. Well, Misty was, right off the bat, leading backward with just about 10 hairs, and very smoothly. I then dropped her tail, but continued backing up myself and also lifted my hand and did a beckoning hand signal. She kept backing up. When I wanted her to stop, I held out my palm in a stop signal and I stopped. She stopped. I backed up again, this time without touching her tail, but using my hand. She did it. Isn't that great? Then I played with steering. That is the next thing to make this better. She needs to steer by her tail as well as she can be steered by a rope. I just did simple sidesteps, picking up where I left off. Today, she needed support with the line (light), so that should improve. I also asked for her to move her hindend around when we were already in motion, and that needed the light line support, too, of course. It is looking very good.

I moved onto the yoyo with just energy. Super. She was so sensitive. I was thinking about using a more positive energy to push her away, though. What I mean is most easily communicated using the analogy of facial expression. Rather than frowning to send her back, I tried to have a more calm face. This could also be equated with telling her to get back and asking her to please step back. I noticed that when I frowned, she would look away, get tense and stiff, and/or roll her eyes. When I was more relaxed, she was more relaxed and could keep her eyes on me. This might also be like using less energy to push her back. It was very thought-provoking for me.

Circling in arena, I had her stop at each cone. This pattern was the option that would allow her to be very "correct," or, in other words, the pattern that would her idea my idea the most. Remember, she wants to stop and engage every obstacle. I did not want her to stop at the two tires, so I set it up for success by pushing her away from the tires before she got too close to them. She only got through 6 cones before she stopped at that 6th cone, put her head down, and went inside herself. I waited. As I saw her begin to come out of it, I put the softest feel on the rope, the lightest porcupine. She felt it, though and I could feel her enter the very start of panic--a brace. I waited it out until she relaxed and tilted her head just a tiny bit. That is precisely when I released. This became the game. Remember that when I pull, her answer has previously been to go at the obstacle with more focus. Playing this very light, slow game, we progressed to moving her head, in total, about 6 inches toward me. Then, all of a sudden, the next time I put a light feel, she lifted her head all the way up and looked at me, confidently and curiously. When I beckoned her to me, she came straight to me. That was a huge success.

I wanted to reward her with some nibbling in the pasture, but she was not interested in eating! She just kept looking at me. I would point to the ground, and she would put her head down and look at me. That was really cool. So, I just itched her.

We played the circling game with changes of direction to build connection because she was sometimes going off the circle path on tangents away from me. At one point, she stopped and put her head down in an introverted manner. I waited for a bit before slowly moving toward zone 5 to snap her out of it, then she came to me with ears up when I beckoned her. After rubbing her face and withers for a moment, I began walking to the front.

As we were heading to the front, I trotted then cantered around, stopped by the gate in the same position as last night and asked her to sidepass away from me while I stood facing forward by her shoulder. She did it right away, and I could tell she was making a connection to last night.

Once we were out, I waited for no brace before lettiner her graze. She licked and chewed before grazing. Once food was out, I trotted to her hay and took off the halter there so that there would be less of a disconnection once the halter was off.

This morning was so positive. It took all the things that I did wrong last night and righted them. Also, Misty was very willing to be with me, much more than I had hoped for. Positivity rocks.

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