Friday, August 10, 2012

Sweet, Kind, Gentle MICROMANAGER

For two weeks I have been in an Externship lead by Kristi Smith. Today, I put my foot down and raised my hand. Even though I wasn't sure which mediocre on line or liberty task I would ask for help with, I knew that if I did not take action today and get direct coaching right away, I would continue down a path to nowhere.


Kristi is an amazing teacher; every demo is filled with something to help us reach a higher quality with how we converse with our horses. I was incorporating many of those ideas into my horse development time with Blu, but it seemed like we weren't making any head way toward any of our goals. So, when Kristi asked us who needed help solving an on line or liberty puzzle, I shot my hand up along with eight other students. All my puzzles I was afraid the answer would be to just make a program and give it time to improve little by little. It seems like that is always the answer. But I did not care. I hoped and prayed that Kristi would tell me there was something I was doing to get the results we were getting, something I could immediately change in myself so I could begin getting different results.

Blu and I were second to last, so we sat through seven horses. Kristi played with each horse and changed as necessary for each horse and I waited in anticipation for what she would do when she had Blu. I kind of didn't want her to take him from me because I was sure there was something I was doing and I wanted her to see it. By the time she got to us, she let the other students go and get their own horses, so it was just one on one with no audience.

I decided to ask Kristi about our draw because it would seem that was the root of all of our issues. When Blu has been leaving me on line or at liberty, he does so like silly putty being pulled apart slowly. It just gets pulled further and further apart, the connection between each slowly getting more and more tenuous. Then, it just stretches out to nothing and Blu walks or jogs off very slowly. He is easy to catch again and if he is on line, he is easy to reconnect with, but I could not figure out what was triggering his decision to leave because it would happen at the strangest times. The specific example I used was with the Yo-yo game. Blu would cut himself off from me at a certain distance one day and another distance at another day. It was difficult to make 1% improvements when the starting point changed each day. Kristi told me that the starting point will change from day to day, week to week. The idea is to make a 1% improvement from the last time you played with that particular maneuver by the end of your session. This was a HUGE B.F.O. for me because even though it makes perfect sense and I am sure that is how I consciously understood it, what I practiced with Blu was not that.

Kristi had me send Blu out on the Yo-yo and I stopped before I felt him leave, and waited for a question. Next, Kristi helped me with the next big B.F.O. for the night. Once Blu asked a question, I drew him in, drew him in, drew him in, drew him in...Blu did not have to even think for himself because I left a light feel on the rope! So, Kristi was able to diagnose his very gentle leaving--he was leaving because I was very politely and gently micromanaging his every step. Since he was not needed to participate in a conversation, he left "I see you don't need me for this, so I will be over here."

Under Kristi's auspices, I played a new game. Send in the Yo-yo with a micro release after each step, wait for a question, draw in, put the belly of the rope on the ground and let him come in. If he stopped to eat grass, I started over with the draw. It was amazing how different this game was for us!

I am excited to put this into practice with all of the games and all of the savvies. It is such a small change and speaks (I think) to Kristi's observation skills. Such a small change that will make a HUGE difference. Onward and upward.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!!! amazing blog on natural horsemanship. I'm amaze with the wisdom being shared by a young horsewoman on how to handle horses. Her passion for horses fueled mine on passion for horses. Really wonderful thought.


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