Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just Laugh

This morning, I fed the horses their hay early so they could have it all eaten by the time I went out for my session. Blu was a bit contrary to coming to me when I came back to play, though. I think he was expecting some grain, first, maybe. I played the catching game with him and had fun getting him to focus on me. I went to his stall and waited for him to follow me in there at the end. I was tempted to pop out and call him, but I stayed disciplined and waited (that 2 minutes nearly killed me, don'tcha know?). He came and I gave him a sweet. I sat with him while he cleaned up some hay in his stall, then I took him off to the other pasture on a 12' line with one strung carrot stick.

After some extreme friendly game in zone 5, I led him through the weave pattern of 3 cones from zone 2--simple stick to me. That got our path tracked through the snow and established connection. I moved on to driving from zone 5 with one 12' line. This turned out to be a situation where there was not enough preparation for our goal and the tools we were using. Blu ended up confused and worried and I ended up frustrated.

Quite out of frustration, I yielded his hiney as he was wandering off with his head up and body stiff. It was very fast and he totally changed. Even though I should not have been so emotional, it was exactly what Blu needed--a big HQ yield that matched-and-then-somed his energy. It snapped me out of my stupor, too. I suddenly knew what I needed to do, and things were much easier.

I took a step back and did the weave pattern from zones 2/3. I moved it up to trotting with cantering on the ends. At first, Blu had difficulty cantering, but his ears and mouth relaxed after a few times and he did an end with relaxation and lots of hind end engagement. We were ready to ride.

Blu did well squeezing between the barrels. I sat down and we headed off. I got warm and took off my coat, placing it on a corner post. Blu was very confident with this whole thing, but when we got to the opposite corner, he was suddenly frantic, nervous and stiff. I was searching for the offender and doing changes of directions as well as considering dismounting if I needed to. But then I realized he was spooking at my coat! It looked different, so here we were. I thought it was very funny, but I made the rest of our session about building his confidence. Using change of direction every time he stopped at a threshold, I helped him find relaxation and build confidence as we went with his idea. Every time he stopped, I leaned down and marked in the snow where he made it to before doing a 180 and going off. I also asked for a canter or jog as we left and let him slow down as he needed to. We were making about a foot of progress each time, then all of a sudden, he got curious (still tentative, though) and covered over 50 feet of uncharted territory on the track since the coat. There was a huge lick and chew moment, a sigh of relief, and lots of laughing from me as I thought of him saying "Ooooooooooooooh."

Blu did not take issue with me reaching down and swinging my coat on. I got down and hugged him then he followed me at liberty to the gate. I was sure to follow the track out. Interestingly, Blu did not wait while I locked the gate on the other side--he did not turn face and wait. Instead, he went to the barn. I suspect he was thinking about his breakfast. Sigh/laugh.

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