dancing horses

dancing horses

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sandbox Games

I want to start mixing things up with Miss Carmen. We're using the ring- although there is still 'dramatic corners' I'm sticking to my plan and working through it.  As much as I love dressage I want to do more than that with Carmen. I do have this idea that we can play at Working Equitation:
We are a long way from this (if ever). But we can take baby steps. I now have 6 poles, two jump standards, 4 cavallettis and a bridge. Time to start making use of them. So on Sunday I put some obstacles in the ring.

First:  I set up an 'L' with poles so that there were many options: ride straight through, walk the L forward, back through one branch, back through the whole L. `

Then I set up two jump standards about 10 metres apart. I put a towel on one. Options for this obstacle were: pick up the towel and carry it to the next standard, weave around the standards, do 10 m circles with the standards as the middle (either just one or a figure 8).

Cynthia and Irish joined us for the fun. The first part of the ride was just to warm up and get her listening. My plan was not to focus on just the obstacles but to incorporate them into the ride. We had our issue at troll corner but nope, not playing that game, we're just working here missy. So she soon settled into it.

And we played with the obstacles and she was completely cool with it. Even backing between the poles. I had to dismount once to straighten them because backing in a  straight line is hard, apparently. We even backed the whole L. It became obvious that this will require work.

What was interesting was how I could use these obstacles interspersed with the schooling and how this kept things fresh and different. It helped to keep her attention and minimized the drama.

After a bit I rode over and dropped the gate from her back. I've been working on this for a while. I can pick up the board and slide it forward a bit but she keeps walking and I have to drop it and come back to it. Then we added in walking out and going over the bridge with the work in the ring. This was all fresh and new for her and she wasn't sure at first what she thought about this change.

But it was fun for me and she seemed to get with the program until Irish and Cnythia left the ring. Then, all of sudden troll corner became incredibly scary and she wasn't going there. Like really wasn't going there. As I was riding this out (yes you do go there missy so get your arse up there) my brain was making connections that had only been hypothesized before:

It's not about the trees or the grass or the leaves. It's about feeling stressed in the work and the trees are the excuse. 

Not like 'the dog ate my homework' excuse- I think she gets tight and then things set her off. Like trees blowing. However, I am much better at riding this out and realizing that the tree was not the issue but Irish leaving was enabled me to tackle it better. Instead of focussing on the trees in troll corner I focussed on keeping her working under me no matter whether he was in the ring or not. We went back and forth past the open gate and I ignored it. Cynthia was great about going in and out and Irish didn't care one way or the other.
this is us going through troll corner at our lesson

Once I had her back with we called it a day and headed out to hack around the field. She was relaxed and I was able to ride her with a loose (not free) rein. Which is good- I want her to associate the hacking with relaxation.

Heaven knows we don't need more excitement in our lives.


23 comments:

  1. I love the breakdowns you give in your posts - it sounds like things have really started to progress with you and Carmen. I like the idea of incorporating different things, especially in ring riding because we all know it can get a bit stagnant from time to time. I think aiming for Working Eq is an awesome goal - it looks like so much fun.

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    1. It does look like fun. I've always love western trail so I guess it's what I'm drawn too. Breaking things up without jumping is good too. :D

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  2. Geez, she's going to be a ranch horse before long. Ride em' Cowboy! In all seriousness though, I really have seen the benefits of going further with Leah. The more we move out of her comfort zone with games and "hacking", the easier the lessons become--the calmer she becomes--and even happier.

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    1. I aim to do all the things with Carmen. ;) It will make for a better and happier horse

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  3. Working Equitation is so cool. I'd really like to try that myself, though it's not very popular around here. I hope you keep it up.

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    1. I'm surprised- there are a lot of Baroque horses in California- I thought it would be popular.

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  4. Working Equitation is so fun! I hope as it becomes more widespread that clinics and fun shows hosting it will become more popular. It was one of my favorite events to watch when I went to Andalusian World Cup last year. Texas seems to be where all the competitions are at now, but hopefully soon they branch out more! I think you and Carmen would be excellent at it :)

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  5. A neighbor from here started doing the working equitation, shes now a judge, it looks like a lot of fun.
    I like obstacles they keep it interesting and I think it helps the horse trust you more about weird stuff

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    1. I think it builds trust as well.

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  6. When Oxidada [auses to let him open that gate, & scoots through, like "Hurry UP!" Awesome.

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  7. i kinda really wanna try some of those types of exercises with charlie. like we can conceptualize speed and balance and track and all that all day long. but nothing quite brings the reality home when we've got actual obstacles in our path to execute!

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  8. I've always thought WE was super cool! This post reminded me that there's a WE club near me that I want to check out ;)

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    1. Yes- go check it out and report back!

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  9. I love how the obstacle exercises are occupying her brain! Maybe they'll help to further unlock some of her mental blocks so you two can reach the moon with your goals. =)

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    1. I think that they add jus the right level of distraction!

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  10. Cross training is so important! For both horse and rider. I bet you she is more focused when you do your dressage work after you have been mixing it up for a little.

    I know my mare uses little things like that as what feels like 'excuses' to spook. It is kinda funny to me. She gets so upset and tight and then spooks at stuff she never would normally.

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  11. Yeeeeeeessssssss. Working equitation IS dressage. I think you'll find it quite fun.
    Also, posting a video of Pedro Torres is like posting a video of Charlotte Dujardin. He's the king of WE. No one will be as good as them! Haha! ;)
    Carmen will excel at it since she's bred for it. I hope you enjoy the obstacles.

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    1. He's pretty awesome. I hope to do more and more of it. I want to see if I can organize a clinic (if there's enough interest.

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