Circling game on line
- release on connection
- test connection with change of direction
- do a draw in if not changing direction with slack
I made that plan during dinner while talking with Faith and Karin about being prepared to be somewhere for a certain amount of time and about the winter and Karin's winter beach rides, amongst other things. I was happy with my short plan and headed out to put it into action.
I had no clip on my 45' line, so I just stuck the hondo through the halter--also, this meant that it would come off if he was too heavy or I was too heavy.
After a great couple of yoyos where he did not make any assumptions, I sent him off. He went off very slowly and with a bit of unsureness. My aim was for connection, though, so I did not fuss over it too much. In the beginning, I played with his feel by reeling him in and out. I did a draw in at the trot when I saw him connecting with me. I did changes of direction, too and the line stayed on the ground. There were some deer around that he was watching, but he was really awesome at focusing back to me again. I took off the line and tried it at liberty. His sent was a straight line to the rail, but after a lap or two, I stepped back and it only took about 10 strides for him to draw to me and they were all thinking strides as he considered (possibly) whether to continue on, change directions to the outside, or change toward the inside. I think he was not considering draw in because when he did step toward me, he started to continue into a change of direction but then wiggled straight toward me again. I ended on that because he trotted all the way to me, had great expression, and he chose connection.
After saddling him, I wanted to warm him up in the savvy park, but he went into his stall. Since it looked like that's where he wanted to be, I played with him for few minutes in there. I wanted to do a simple squeeze, but he was tight and worried. I just stuck with it until he figured out the game. Now he left the pen willingly with me. In the Savvy Park, I started with a puzzle for him to solve. Sideways to the tarp walls, yield HQ into tarp walls, back through tarp walls, trot to me through tarp walls. The first time, he made an assumption/offered to back into the tarp walls. I don't know if it was right for me to stop him--probably not because he was stiff when I went to bring him back to me. I cut the distance in half and tried asking him to come to me. He did, I backed to my old spot, then asked for a trot and he came confidently. The second time through was smooth and from the original distance.
I asked Blu to jump the embankment on the circle and he presented a bit of no and can't, so next time I want to do something to help that if it's not slippery.
I rode him bridleless in the small coverall doing a million transitions within the walk and trot gaits. As I worked through the walk, I kept reminding myself not to try the trot until the walk was working slow and fast.
Working the gates went so smoothly both ways and when I put him in his pen, I stayed mounted and backed him in. Since that's a pattern he knows, it went really smoothly, too.
Tonight, I learned again the importance of waiting for the horse to find the answer in a lower gait before trying a higher gait. Maybe that's something that I could apply to myself a bit more, too. I will keep an eye out for parts of my life that I am skipping steps and getting direct line. I am just not thinking about what it's really about in those instances, anyway--it's really about the connection I have and the connection I am reciprocating with during whatever "gait" we are in.
Natural Horsewoman Out.