dancing horses

dancing horses

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Glimmer

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
~Martin Luther King Jr~ 
 
Thank you everyone for listening to me vomit up all my frustration and disappointment yesterday. I was bouyed up by all the support and positive advice I received. Thank you for not saying that I suck (that's what my internal voices are for).

I have been thinking about the groundwork and how to make it meaningful so that she learns to tune in rather than shut down. I like N's idea of doing patterns in hand and googled a few on my break at work today. I can see how it would add focus for me and her.

Today I was in the city all day which makes for a long day. In the morning as I walked the dogs Carmen came over to the fence to greet us as we walked by. Clearly she is not viewing me in a negative light. The same thing happened when I came home and walked the dogs again. I prepared the stalls and fed the horses (I'm making some changes to her feed too but that is probably a different post).

After we ate I decided to take her out to the ring to do some work. Since the dogs had been in all day I decided that they could come with me. It was getting dark and was quite windy. I figured that and the dogs might make things interesting.

My goals were simple:

  • respect my space
  • respond to my directions
  • focus on me 
I started with the leading up to the ring. I made sure she followed along and did not try to graze (confession: I've been letting that slide). At first I took her to the centre and asked her to walk a circle around me. She was ignoring me and looking into the next field so I firmly increased pressure and she trotted off.  After a few minutes of lunging and changing directions I asked her to walk beside me and the discussion about 'where' her spot was really short. We alternated between me sending her off to work on the edge of the lunge line, to leading, backing up, turns on the forehand and haunches. 

There was an overall difference in our work this evening. She was softer. The corrections we able to be lower in intensity. There's a lot of possible reasons for this:
  • the stomach meds are working
  • the dogs added security. She definitely wasn't worried about them even when Guinness was trotting at her heels (we're working on what he's to do when I work the horses. He's like a young child 'mom, mom, MOM'). 
  • the work I did sunday
Clearly I have altered too many variables to identify one #no_scientific_method #throw_everything_at_the_problem. Probably some combination is working. I brought her down by the barn to do some ground work there too. At first she just wanted to graze and became annoyed by my asking her to turn her attention to me. But after a short discussion she stopped even trying to graze and kept her attention on me. Not in a 'oh my god why are you so mean' way but in a 'what do you want' way. 

Either way, this feels like the right path. We shall see. 

Irish looks so good in the fall foliage



16 comments:

  1. I just took my first horsemanship lesson with my horse. Damn, it was mind blowing and incredible and horrifying and amazing all at once.

    There is so much to learn about working with sensitive horses. Like, things I thought I knew but was subconsciously not doing or sabotaging or doing wrong.

    I definitely am not in a position to hand out advice, but it is so interesting reading about your work with Carmen. Fingers crossed it keeps moving in a positive trajectory!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is pretty amazing. there are so many layers to it.

      Delete
  2. WOOHOO!
    Do you have a rope halter? Try the windshield wiper exercise by buck brannaman. I go up and down the arena with it.
    - N

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a rope halter but I think it's too small. I should get a bigger one. Is the same as the half-circle one below?

      Delete
    2. I would be suprised if your rope halter is too smal as they as usually one size fits all. You only need 5-6 inches of slack in the throatlatch to make the knot. As for the exercise, its the same. You might really enjoy the brannaman dvd series with lots of groundwork exercises. A great xmas gift. He inspired me to expect more out of my groundwork.

      Some of the trick in groundwork (and later translating to the saddle) is the timing and nuance of corrections. Watching buck do it with dozens of people/horse combinations helps develop your feel. At least, it did for me.

      But that half circle exercise is brilliant for the shoulder challenged. ;-)

      Delete
  3. Once mastered, this becomes a great alternative to lunging. More mental then physical.

    https://eclectic-horseman.com/half-circle-exercise-with-buck-brannaman/

    - N

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sometimes, all we have is a glimmer, but those glimmers can become major breakthroughs.

    ReplyDelete
  5. small steps are the best ;) c'mon Carmen, keep it up!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. I like to think that if things just get 1% better every day then progress will be substantial.

      Delete
  6. Yay for progress and feeling more hopeful!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm behind in reading so I scrolled back to catch up. I'm glad to see this most recent post. From the videos on the other posts, I do wonder if she's having stomach pains. There's something about the *way* she says no that makes me suspect it's more than just behavioral. Glad to hear this session went so much better. Here's hoping some combination of factors keeps working in your favor <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm getting more certain. Each day she's better and better. While working on the things I have been is certainly helpful I'm attributing the change to the medications.

      Delete

Thank you for leaving a comment. I love the feedback.