Monday, March 21, 2011

Dreary Weather

My plan was to play with his zone 5 driving to keep it fresh. I wanted to advance it if we could, but it was pretty slippery out, so I wasn't sure if we would be able to do a lot cantering. Then I would get on and play with the question box some more with freestyle and finesse. If I had time, I was going to do some liberty circles in the round pen.

It was raining and the pasture was super sloppy again. The 45' line got terribly muddy and my gloves were gobby yucky messes. For the pattern of going cone to cone, Blu did pretty nice for the walk and trot, but he was making ugly faces when I asked for the canter. As soon as he dominantly tossed his head, I shut him down and he licked and chewed--no tolerance for dominant thoughts when I am playing in zone 5. I was looking for the uncertainty that can follow after correcting a dominant horse. He went right on with another butt lift, though and I shut him down again. This time he was a bit unsure and after standing with him for a moment until he licked and chewed, I asked him to just walk to the other cone. He had a really nice lead by the tail, too (needs work on the steering). To help him with cantering, I had him do circles. I got a phone call while I was doing that and he got to take a break. He did fine on the line cantering. He found his balance pretty quick and kept slack in the line.

When we returned to straight lines, I called it a perfect ending point when he cantered. I think this was an important lesson for me on understanding each session as separate from the last. Yes, I should progress, but just because I went 50 miles with Blu yesterday does not mean that he will make it further than that or even that far today. I also think I am going to consider moving on from this idea to give Blu a break from it. It's time for us to put zone 5 driving to a purpose for a while if I want to continue to progress it.

I got on from the fence after moving my question box to a spot with better footing. He was quite tail swishy. Also, at first, instead of stopping in the center, he wanted to stop at a cone. I stayed soft and put him back in the center to let him rest until he stopped there better. I turned him around by yielding his HQ or FQ and he did so with just my legs. He was getting really easy to canter--he would just offer it.

When I put on the reins I began to play with relaxation and the friendly game with contact. We flowed into the game of contact. His tail swishing stopped. He was shaping better to the right, so I went back to stretching and relaxation to the left. Right about then I realized that I completely forgot his massages (!). Sorry, buddy! When I returned to the game of contact, he shaped better.

I wrote Linda Parelli about my success with the Game of Contact on our first try with it and she responded that to continue having success, I had to remember to keep it a game. About half way through my ride, I remembered that, put a big smile on my face and played the game with FUN as my goal. It was fun! Blu offered the canter while staying in his upward, collected carriage. That is HUGE because the canter has always been his trouble gait--he easily falls out of balance and gets emotional. I kept the ride short--short and sweet and FUN.

I had time, so I took him to the round pen after he rolled while following me around at liberty. Well, actually, he took me to the round pen. I had stopped once we were in his pasture because I was just going to let him relax, but we were facing the round pen and he did this kind of "Let's go to the round pen!" I was not going to shut that enthusiasm down, so off we went!

Inside, he maintained a nice connection as I squeezed him through the gate, but when I walked to the center, he kind of got unconfident--only slightly. I leaned back and he swung his head to me. When I took a step back, he came to me confidently. I stood with him and let him relax.

I checked his yo-yo. It was straight and so we went ahead and played the circling game. I had to draw him in and start again one time. Usually, it takes two or three to get him confidently and connected-ly circling. He came in when I pointed down and he circled six laps at the trot (new record). He also did a change of direction close up. He left with me to the gate, but did not turn and face after the squeeze out the gate. He did stop and I got the feeling he was having an introverted moment. So, I pretended like he wasn't there and continued with my business of locking the gate and going to the barn. I peeped outside and could see him looking super-intently at the door. His head was up and he was looking from door to door with alert quickness. His feet were firmly planed, but he looked like he could serge forward at any moment. When I called his name, he immediately headed to the barn (where I was) and met me in a run-in stall. I stood with him for a bit.

This whole session represented a lot of personal growth from me. I was not offended or down on myself when Blu was not confident or when he didn't follow me. I really just read it as output from him and changed myself to fit the horse. Also, the weather, which was disgusting misty/sleet/snow/rain mix did not cause frustration or blueness. I just played and enjoyed my time with the horses. I abandoned my gloves when they were heavy with mud. I kept on going when I splashe a huge puddle of water on to my pants. Emotional and mental fitness. . . that's growth . . .

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