Monday, October 11, 2010

Jump Rope

Tonight was a race against time as the sun sank away. I had about 2 hours (I am not sure. I started at 6:30 and could have gone to anywhere from 7:30 to 8:30). I put a 12' line around Blu's neck and did a short warm up with it. I played the friendly game and oh my gosh I am tired. i will tell you tomorrow how he did the yo yo game and did not have good draw then worked with feel on the circle. Then we did liberty in the round pen with the circle game. Then I got on bridleless, played the extreme friendly game, then taught Blu to jump rope. Will tell tomorrow. Just too tired.

Picking up where I left off Monday:
Blu did not have the greatest feel on the rope as he circled around me, but he was not so bad that it was really pulling. He just did not have slack in the rope. I gave him a chance to feel for slack though. He did just that. It took several circles for him to adjust to the shorter length, but he did.

I took him to the round pen to see what we needed to focus on. Blu's draw was way not what I wanted it to be. He was not always leaving, he just would not come all the way to me. I taught Blu how to back up on the circle and we also did walk-tr0t-canter transitions. His draw was much better at the end. For backing up, I stopped him in the same place every time--just beyond the gate. He seemed to catch on to backing up toward the gate pretty quick. This is the kind of backing where I stand in neutral while he backs around me. It was slow going, but it was going. The longest I let him go was about 10'.

I stood on the gate to get on. The 12' line was around his neck . . . and that is just how it stayed all night. I got the second carrot stick and played the extreme friendly game to make sure Blu would be ok with me riding with two carrot sticks. I wanted to teach him to back up by wiggling the carrot sticks by his head, but he was doing so well with all the extreme friendly game stuff, it occurred to me to jump rope with him.

I tied the savvy strings together at the ends and did some more friendly game. Confident in his confidence, I swung the strings over his head, let him walk over it, then I waited for plenty of time to pass and pulled my shoulder blades together and repeated the whole process. Blu was very good at staying inside the invisible arena, which surprised me. The gate was open to the other pasture, which should have enticed him to go over there, but he was great. I couldn't believe it. He even did the figure eight pattern in his invisble arena. We walked, trotted, and even cantered a bit. I also stopped him into the fence to teach him to back up. It was not a performance worthy of a viewing audience, but my horse and I rode bareback and brideless for our first jump roping session!

When we were done, we had to go get the other horses from out back. He did a good job with that. Then Blu did something wonderful. You might recall the previous post about my original idea called "Something from Me." Well, when I got down from Blu, he reached down and rubbed his lips on his leg then did a big sigh and lick and chew. That was my idea. I have heard Linda Parelli say that itching the head on something is a sign of confidence and I know that the tension in the lips is physiologically related to the horse's overall tension. But my original thought is that when the horse is rubbing his or her head on something, usually the leg, it is to massage those lips. The result would be a release of adrenalin that was in the blood and a kick in the gears for the brain. The reason I believe this is that whenever Misty or Blu itch, they almost always follow it with licking and chewing, snorting, and/or sighing. So, there. I may not be the first to say it. Some reading this might be saying "Um, duh!" but I had never heard the theory before. Thank you Blu for reminding me of my brilliant hypothesis.

So, here's to a new skill for Blu.

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