dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Changing the Topic of Conversation.

Carmen and I did some work yesterday in the ring. I haven't been able to work her since Monday because of weather and work. It's not ideal to have long breaks and I'm going to work out a plan so that doesn't happen too often. However, sometimes it cannot be helped.

I got her tacked up and we headed up to ring. This required us walking past the sand pile (of death). I thought that there might be a bit of an issue because of how close we had to go to it but she besides a brief hesitation she walked right by. She stopped twice going up to the ring but I let her know that she was to keep going.

I started as always asking her to walk in hand and listen to me. Her attention came and went. There's this one corner that she spooks at and today was no different. As we walked by she tried to bolt past. After a few pa
sses I realized that I was just telling her 'no' and usually too late. I needed to change our conversation from 'Run AWAY'  'No!' to something different. I thought about what I do under saddle- and that's to address the behaviour not the spook. With the spook she would drop her inside shoulder, change her bend and try to cut me off in her desire to get away. So that's what I addressed. I didn't worry about the speed as such but rather that she needed to bend away. It took a few passes and I won't say that she magically improved but she got significantly better.

We then lunged for a bit and she was good. So it was time to get on. The first time at the mounting block she walked off. So I brought her around a few times asking her to just stand. Once we had that I got on. The first little bit was 'interesting'. She was more interested in choosing the pace, direction and everything else. I felt like I was constantly arguing with her.  Once Cynthia came by and heard me growl at her and asked 'oh is she being ADD?'
'No' I said. 'She's quite clear what she wants to do. It's just not what I want'.

And then I realized- all I was doing was telling what to not do but I wasn't letting her know what I wanted her to do.  So I decided that I needed to change our topic again. I began to ignore everything and focus on being clear on what I wanted- which was steering, brakes and gait control. And things got better after that. Not perfect. But better. A few times she sped up her trot and I did my level best to keep my posting slow so that she would come back to me. I realized that if she was all over the place I needed to be the steady centre for her find.

I found a good note and then dismounted. She stood there with a soft expression and droopy lip. She felt quite relaxed and looked pretty pleased with herself.  Even when Irish left the ring ahead of her she stood quite relaxed.

I've decided that I need a plan for our summer and am working on that now.
what are these plans you're talking about? 

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! That is what I am being tasked with as well - finding a plan for Boca and me. The word "Program" has been used quite a bit in recent weeks.


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