Up in the ring Royce had me do some groundwork with her and then get on. We started with her 'following the rein' exercise. This means that when I ask her to turn with a direct rein she's to follow it until I ask her to do something else. This will help with steering, obviously, but also, if it's truly engrained if I'm ever in a bolting situation I can ask her to bend and she respond reflexively.
It's coming but not great (with me). But with his guidance and me truly understanding when she was blowing it off I could fix it. It's a hard exercise because sometimes the circles are so small that I get dizzy. I then asked her to move out of the middle. She determined that there was something spooky and flatly refused to go to the far end. Just like the other day only without the fear. My kicking was futile. So I spent the rest of the ride getting her to move off of my leg and then go forward. I was learning about moving her feet and getting her to move.
I was happy-ish with it but a bit frustrated. When will she stop this? How long can I last? I may have to sell a kidney to keep Royce on contract.
When Royce was satisfied he got on and put her to work. She was much better for him. Of course. It makes sense. But it still bummed me out. He then had me tell her WHOA and bring her to a halt. We have to transfer the command to you.
He then had me open the gate and rode her out and down around the field. She was golden. I felt my heart lift a bit. He then rode her around the yard and I did some 'spooky' things and she stayed on task.
When Royce left he asked me to not ride her until he came back. I agreed. He's probably one of the few people that I obey without question. Yesterday it rained and frankly I was happy for a day off. I spent it thinking. I realized that while I was upset at her freezing I needed to see how far she's come. Before she would have spun and bolted. She knows she's not to do that now so she's trying to figure out what the answer is. The freezing makes sense. I felt better after that.
Royce came back today. And, you guys, it was unbelievably good. I started with the leading and groundwork exercises and she was right with me. I then got on and she was with me.
I did the 'follow the rein' and with minimal fuss she was with me.
Then Royce started walking right at us with real purpose and Carmen pinned her ears and tried to get away. It caught us both by surprise because Carmen likes Royce. If he ambled she was fine but when he strode towards her with tension she reacted. We stopped and talked about it. We realized that she was showing us a bit more of her history. So we spent a few minutes with him striding around and me steering her around him and ignoring him. She settled when she realized that I was keeping her 'safe'.
I then asked her to go down to the far end that was causing the trouble. She froze and I moved her hind quarters and then side passed over. We repeated this again and again. Once she stopped and started to back. Royce said 'I'm going to throw some sand at her hind legs when you ask her to go forward'. He did that and she leapt forward. After one more there was no more backing away.
I found that I could direct all four corners of my horse and we could make transitions that were balanced and drama free. I could feel her actually yielding to me -not because I made her but because she wanted to. She didn't need to worry about stuff because I was in charge. She was in a great training level frame and accepting the contact.
Royce then stopped and we talked about how she was doing. I was thrilled. Can I ride her now? he asked and I laughed and hopped off. He rode her for a bit and I realized that he loves riding her. She's stolen his heart I think.
He stopped and hopped off. She stood there looking relaxed and happy with herself. I walked her down and put her away. My heart was as light as a feather as I came into the house. Earlier I had prepared supper and left instructions for Ed so he could eat before I came in. He wasn't in the house so I started finishing supper. He came in and said What are you doing in here?
We're all done.
That didn't take long.
As Royce said you just need to stick with the plan and believe it will work.
|from last year. I obviously need to take some more photos|