Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Easing Back In / Easing Back On

Today was my first play day since we began walking. I wanted to do something very easy so I could assess and decide what to do next as well as to sort of ease my left-brained introvert back into doing things that require effort.

I had an apple core in hand and when I stepped out, there were 10 equine eyes on me. I don't think they saw the apple, though--I was too far away. When I got to the door to Blu's pasture, I unlocked it then waited. Usually it flies open so fast, but today I let the suspense build. I was kind of proud of my way of making things provocative from the start.

When the door opened, Blu (and all the other horses) definitely had their eyes on me. I stepped out after waiting and Blu met me 1/2 way. He followed me as I backed into the barn. I gave him the apple and while he ate it, I put on his halter. When we left, he went off a nice soft feel. I focused on keeping him next to me instead of behind me.

First thing we did was check the time. He had to wait outside by the door while I did that. Then we went out to get the paper. He did have one threshold, but he went on after only a few seconds and by himself. In the road, I sensed some tension, but not much. He was much more relaxed and not frantic or tight about getting back to the driveway. He waited outside patiently again while I put the newspaper and mail in the house. He was not tied either time; the line was just laid over a planter on pedestal. How obedient! I suspect that a good foot of snow over all the grass played an important role, though :)

In the drive way, I played the friendly game and stood with him for a bit. Then I gently yielded his forequarters a bit. His hindquarters a bit. Forequarters, hindquarters, forequarters, hindquarters. When I asked for sideways, it was very soft and he went together. Next was to come sideways to me. I did the same separation and recombination and got the best sideways to me, yet. Blu stayed calm and relaxed. Usually, he gets tight and worried about sideways. Today, I finally managed to be clear about it.

He became absorbed in the goings of a plastic bag in far off yard. I did a falling leaf pattern that turned into a stationary figure eight pattern, then I put our heads down. He licked and chewed. Now I had his attention. I began yoyos. He was doing them with just energy on the way out, but coming in was hard for him--an "I can't," not an "I won't." I just waited with light steady pressure through his sleeping. Whenever he would wake up, I'd take the pressure away. As I applied again, he'd go to sleep. There was slack in the line, but I would just keep it steady. Then he would just wake up and come to me. That was a very nice thing.

I sent him out on a circle. He was doing a good job of keeping slack in the line. If he took it out, I did a partial disengagement. When his walk was rhythmic and he was leaving the slack in for several laps, I asked for the trot. He kept the slack and jogged on. He did ten laps without correction. My goal was 15. In those first ten, he was falling out of the jog and then picking it up again quickly without being told. I decided to aim for 10 the next time. This time, he did 10 nice laps without any breaking gait. I stood with him for a while.

Out in my arena, we walked the path of our follow the rail pattern. The fresh snow made it easy to set things up for success. I stood on a barrel and squeezed him through space between the two barrels. He had to go around the first time, which I let him. The next time, he stopped in front of me an invited me on. I got on, took off his halter and line, and put those on the barrel. He took them off the barrel a few times before finally walking on without swishing.

I was going to go until I got one lap without using my stick. Just the walk. I wanted it to be easy so we would win. Well, he stayed on our track and I did not need to use my sticks at all. So, when we arrived at the barrels, I had him squeeze between them and stop. I put his halter on from his back then stepped onto the barrel. I tried to get him to hand me a carrot stick, but he was more interested in throwing it away from me. Finally, I was able to grab it before he threw it. It was funny--I was laughing.

Blu was great with the gate. I took off his halter and he waited patiently while I locked it back up. Then he followed me to the barn and we sat in the aisle for a while. He cleaned up loose hay and I cleaned his back hoof and sat there feeding Hoosier handfuls and feeding Blu.

It was such a nice, easy session.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
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