Monday, January 16, 2012

War Horse

The only reason for this title is that I saw the movie tonight and it was moving. I always get fidgety during the training parts of movies like that, but I am trying to learn to just enjoy the gift of suspension of disbelief.

These movies are most enjoyable for me because I often see in the horse the marvelous characteristics of my horses. I think it is a horse person disease that when we see horses--at a show, a clinic, in a movie--we wish ours were with us. It made me wish Blu and Misty were with me. Sometimes you wish they were there so you could patch things up with them. Other times you wish they were there because you know that the great things inspiring you in that moment are within a stone's throw and you only need your horses there to complete the puzzle.

After Sunday and Monday play sessions with Blu, I was definitely feeling the latter of the two.

Yesterday, I was a little tardy to the barn and ended up with a lot of time with Blu by myself as the rest of the people were done and leaving.

Apparently, before I arrived, he was quite excitable. Looking back, I think it was because he could sense the snow coming. I am telling you, that horse gets so excited about snow, it is not an unlikely hypothesis.

We played some more with the telescopic pole. He had sideways to and away going well without fear!

When we were doing a circling game, he took off and was bucking and tossing his head. This was not quite the same kind of "eeee, I can't do that" leaving from before. I ran with him and we ended up back at the barn. I asked for zone 5 driving and we haphazardly wove through the columns.

When we were done, I put him on line; this was an entirely different animal leaving for entirely different reasons. He was flipping me the bird!

On the 22 foot line, we played the circling game. I only asked for the trot. He had nice flexion and slack in the line. I played with his change of direction at the halt before I put on his bridle and played the game of contact with him.

The game of contact was really exciting. It was so cool to watch him figure out that reins meant go. I ended when he took a step forward from a halt into the contact.

Blu is superb at stretching into the contact. He is also quick to relax. He did a lot of blowing out. We are going to have so much fun with this!

Today, I almost missed my window to play with Blu today. We had a blizzard dumping on us all morning and most of the afternoon, so I was waiting it out, hoping it would slow down before the day was over.

My neighbor is the one who prodded me about it and when I looked outside and saw it was quiet (finally!), I hopped on out.

All the horses were in the arena when I got to the barn. I called to Blu and he perked up. The next time I called him, he headed up. The other horses followed.

I wanted to play on the 22' line instead of at liberty because the snow tends to give Blu a bug up his butt and I knew that it would be better to have him on line if that happened.

We played the circling game for the first time since that weekend with all the huffing and puffing and would be dust (if it weren't for the snow and ice). Well, it was the first time on line since that weekend.

At first, when I asked for the canter, Blu got really tight and kept trotting. I learned something here, because where before I would have said "Aha, I am not being effective, let me get closer," I recognized that he was already under enough pressure. What he needed, was for me to wait. So I kept on with the swinging of the stick and came out of neutral with a cantering body. As soon as he cantered, I went to neutral and asked him to walk. The next time, he did not need me to canter, but I did have to keep swinging for a while. Next time, he did not need me to keep swinging so long. Then, he did not even need the stick.

Granted, I was asking for the walk as soon as he gave me a canter. The first time I accepted a sort of harumph little leap of the canter. I noticed that he was shaking his head at first--a sign of confidence. I think that is interesting with all of the tension. I think that it means that he was not worried that I was going to go stronger with my phases, but I think he was expecting I would and daring me to do it. "Make my day" sort of. Instead, I did just the opposite. And the moment he gave me what I was asking for, I quit.

Even better, I was finished before he spiraled. He was great when we were done with the circling game.

I took his halter off and began to play with the Spanish walk a bit. We have the pawing bit down, now we need suspension. He learned so quickly to hold his leg up and suspend it. Next will be to stretch it out.

It was so nice to be quiet with him after that. There is great satisfaction to be had when you end on a good note. Ryan's advice to keep the sessions very short popped into my mind.

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