Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions for 2011

I made New Year's resolutions, once. I think I will try making them for this one. . . or rather, I will make them and try to keep them.

#1 Each month's total hours with the horses will be greater than the last in quantity
#2 I will film at least one audition this year
#3 I will maintain my flexibility and fitness--this will be my second season without ballet after 15 years in the studio. I will become a regular student of either yoga, pilates, or Callenetics.
#4 I will read all of my suggested reading books
#5 I will keep track of where my money goes
#6 Never ending self improvement, Never give up.
#7 Keep God in it all

That should do it, I think.

ORI Blu, 1 hour 30 minutes, 1-1-11, afternoon

In between work shifts, I went straight to the farm. I did not allow myself to go home and get distracted. I got Blu into the barn, but then I just let him wander in the aisle and eat loose hay while I decided on what we would do and set up the obstacles in the driveway. I had a lot of environmental factors to consider. It was a bit wet, but not too muddy because of the heavy winds--winds that were now whipping up a lot of visual racket. I knew that Blu would likely be a bit more edgey and fresh, today, because it is only the second day of everything being in full color, as two days ago, we had a good 3-5 inches of snow covering everything, and all that color was being tossed about by the wind.

I deliberated, wrote down on a white board some of my general ideas I want to accomplish, and decided that we would try and canter on the featherlines from zone 5, get sideways down with those tools/criteria, then ride finesse in the drive. I figured cantering would be easier since he would want to move and I did not want to ride bridless out in the open in this environment with the time I had.

I started with the touch it game to get his confidence, concentration, and focus in gear. He was really rough, at first--not very pretty. I stayed relaxed, though--I knew he would come around. He did come around, too. Soon, we were ready to start where we left off yesterday, which was doing point-to-point between two particular buckets. Today, the buckets were about 20 feet apart, I think. I started with the walk, then the trot. One time, we did not stop at a bucket and just kept going all the way to the other end of the U-drive. It was only a fast trot, but Blu was at least understanding to not jog. We did a repeat of the that. Then I decided to try something else. I cantered in stick to me position in zone 2 and he understood that. Next time, he got it in zone 5 with two lines!

I think that the most important part of this whole piece was the waiting we did. Patience is a key. The tougher it was for him to grasp a concept, the longer I gave him. When things got easier, we moved quicker through concepts and exercises.

Next, I took off his halter and lines. He followed my to his bridle. Good boy! The bridle became a whole lot of struggling before we got the light. Again, I was genuinely calm and accepting. I had known this might happen. He was having trouble staying calm and keeping his head down. I let him move his feet and just continued to correct him with relaxation and softness. Finally, he was able to keep his head down and let me bridle him from my knees, no reservations, no holding him their.

The bridling incident had gotten Blu a bit high, so I knew that I either needed to put him on line, again, or I needed to be ready to ride whatever he had. If I rode, we would need to start with something that was a lot of moving so he could get it out of his system and not feel trapped.

I decided to get on. He was very good about not moving away as I got on, and he had no ears pinned or anything negative. So, I made up a pattern in my head of trotting down the arm of the U, picking up the canter at the bend, then turning around in a half circle while maintaining the trot to repeat the whole thing. I used a suspension rein and it had to be really high, sometimes. It was cool how that worked. What was REALLY cool, though, was that he began to calm down after about about 4 cycles of the pattern. He really got relaxed!

Next, we did the sideways game by the trailer. I wanted to lighten our sideways. I could push the hair and get movement after our little sideways session.

I took our sideways game to the open drive way. We did halfpasses down the driveway, back and forth from one end to the other. He was really getting it. We only did the walk, today. I was very pleased, though, because Blu has not ever been able to go sideways any gait. Misty can walk, trot, and canter sideways, but not Blu. So, we are try to work that into his repertoire. This sideways stuff will be very important when I return to getting flying lead changes into his "savvied skills."

Throughout the session, some of the other things I liked were his back ups and forequarter yields. We occasionally needed me to flap my feet gently for the back up when Blu was distracted. He generally went with just my seat, though. He was also doing really well for 1/16 and 1/8 turns using just my focus. His forequarter yields were very snappy and light. Hindquarter yields need to get lighter, though.

I dismounted when it was feeling really good. I took off his bridle and he followed me to the trailer where we played with backing in, for a bit. He was really struggling to get a back foot in. I think he was having difficulty with footing. He spooked and ran off for about 50' and panic ate. I waited a moment then went to him. I pet him until he was eating with relaxation, then I put him back in the pasture and hustled off.

Today's session was really good for me to start the year. I was in a good mental place today!

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