What I like about the program is that you are not to strive for perfection: you work on something and when the horse is starting to show understanding you leave it and let them filter it. The theory is that if you continue to drill the horse starts to think that they don't have the answer and it leads to shut down. So our sessions consist of cycling through things, starting with the easy thing. For Carmen that is the leading exercise where she has to measure the space and maintain it no matter at what speed I walk. When she seems to get frazzled we go back to that as a 'reset'.
All progress is rewarded with a rest, even if the horse went backwards. You let them rest if they try to do the right thing, even it is less than what they were doing before.
In our last session I introduced the idea of going by and over potentially spooky things. I put the whip with the plastic bag attached in a pylon. When were walking up to the ring Carmen spied it flapping and went on high alert. However, she never pulled back or balked. When we came into the ring she demanded to walk up and investigate it.
We worked though the leading and ground pattern. Then I reviewed the approach of the bag and other objects. She did not care. I then put down a tarp between pylons to walk over. I didn't expect it to be an issue and it was not. I propped my phone up on a post and did a short video:
Right at the end the phone fell off the post but was unharmed. I need to find a gadget to attach it. You will notice that I don't lead her over/through. We're not supposed to- because then it's not about them figuring out to manage themselves. I'm probably explaining it poorly but it makes sense. When I'm sitting on her I can't lead her either so I can see how it can transfer.
I've noticed that she is expressing more curiosity over strange things rather than being wary. The other day I was trying to repair Irish's stall door to the outside (it was frozen). I felt a nose at my neck and looked over to see Carmen.
Hey, what are you doing? Let me see. Also, do you have any carrots in your pockets?
So even if this doesn't result in a perfectly zen magical unicorn it is a good tool to add to the toolbox.
|waiting (somewhat) patiently for me finish cleaning her stall|
during the storm. I'm really happy with her weight this winter.