Tuesday, September 15, 2009

and lots of things kind of came together...

. . . like the stump. As per older posts it has been interesting to see Nigel start to take responsibility for stuff.

When I first asked him to stand up on the stump he did it. (of course) but I really had to micromanage him onto it. ...zone 1* here, zone 2* there etc.

Last time we played I just sent him towards it from about 13 feet away. He looked at it and passed it. So I just let him circle and come back to it. It took about three times and he looked at me and stepped up.

Yesterday I must have been about 17 feet away...he marched right over and got up there. Excellent. Now we're getting somewhere.

Heading up to the arena he was blowing and relaxing. Going away from the barn!!!!

We've been working on our cantering circling game online. This was not all that pretty or harmonious when we began in May. Mostly I think it was a respect thing (not at all appropriate response to pressure. pulling on the line...not going...or going to much etc.) and also a big lack of rapport. He wanted away from me!

Yesterday again he took responsibility, he gave me slack in the line and did 4 laps each way with only one or two tiny corrections. This was up in the arena ...where the last time we played he was really right brained and kept trying to take off heading towards the barn. So this is great progress!

Another thing that came together. Maintain gait, maintain direction, and look where you're going. Playing the circling game over stuff has needed some confidence building. I've been just using a cavaletti about 12 inches high.

Several sessions ago he would slow down and needed a little help to even walk over. I could see there he was a bit worried about the whole thing. Of course with Nigel its usually like "eek! can i do that? oh. well, ok. " So as long as I don't force him in that moment of unconfidence he gets braver right away. A tiny bit tricky for me to know when to wait for a second...and when he needs a little encouragement. But if I get it right it works like a charm.

So it's been getting better clearly every time. First, walking over without stopping...then trotting to it and walking over picking up the trot after (obviously getting the concept of maintain gait)... then trotting over it but knocking it down....then yesterday.....voila! Jumping! Right off the ground like a good little motivated confident boy. Super.

Then I got to hop on. His response to the direct rein was nearly perfect. We practiced longitudinal flexion with the fluid rein at the walk and trot. He seems to understand that a lot more but he has trouble staying stretchy at the trot. Better though. Heaps better. .... I was hoping to get more blowing out...but no dice. I even waited several minutes before getting off...just in case.. dang. Oh well, I'll be looking for it again.

He felt happy with me when we undressed...and relaxed...and I just love riding him so I was happy too...he gently dropped the bit with his nose on the ground then he rubbed his head on me in a nice way....

I'm noticing more and more of a connection. Sigh. That's the best part.


  1. That's wonderful! You write so beautifully about your hourses, I really enjoyed reading. I am follower now!

  2. So glad your enjoying it. It helps me so much to "get it out". Especially after thinking about it over night.