Lately I've been finding my motivation to ride lacking. Which is really weird for me. I know it happens and I know that I would tell someone else to just be patient and let it work itself out.
But since it's me my inner criitcal voices all decided to weigh in at the same time (you're sick, you are chicken to ride, lazy, what will Shanea think. etc etc.). These voices are not helpful.
Yesterday I got home from work and was not feeling the need to ride. In fact I was feeling pretty tired. But I have a lesson booked for friday and my voices were singing full on in my head.
I decided to try something new. I went up to the ring and using a variety of poles and jump standards I made a small space to try playing with free-lunging/ liberty work. I have tried it in the past but my ring is too big and Carmen can simply just go from one end to the other and not really listen to me. I have also signed up for a liberty clinic in October so I thought that I might as well see where we were.
I brought Carmen up to the ring and walked her around on the lead to see the new set up. She was intrigued and, because she's Carmen, highly suspicious.
Now way back in the day I learned how to 'round pen' a horse. I also know that the philosophy has changed- or maybe it hasn't. But I wasn't interested in chasing Carmen into exhaustion to get her to tune in.
You have no idea what you are doing said the loudest voice in my head. And Carmen definitely reacted to that. At first she was ignoring me then getting upset with me. I know that it wasn't just me she was reacting to- I was asking her to go into the corner that she hates and I had no line/ halter or anything so she probably felt a bit unprotected.
I realized that while I might not know much, I do know some things about ground work, body language and intent. So I decided to focus on what I did know, starting with being clear in my head that I wanted her to do X rather than hope (honestly, at some point I will learn that with horses, like many things, hope is not a good strategy).
|Carmen: what new torture is this? |
And so she began to respond. Not without testing, but with less drama. She began to tune in and respond. I would put on pressure and then remove it. When she would stop and look to me I would let her be. If she became distracted or tried to graze I would ask her to work. Not in a punishing way but in a matter of fact way.
A few times she thought about pushing through the poles (or going under). I was prepared for that and the main gate was closed so I figured it would be fine if she did get out. It also helped me to rate my pressure.
|pressure on but my body language is not tight|
In the last few minutes I decided to set up my camera and video us doing some work. I divided the clip into segments - probably poorly but there you have it.