Friday, January 29, 2010

Guest Post! L3 Yo Yo Game by fellow "Aspiring Horsemen" savvy team member Lisa M. Overhuel.

video

Minnie and the barrels has been a sloooooooow process. i guess i could have pushed her more..... but why. we had soooooooo many things to learn and minnie seems to learn best in little spurts. so, we jump around alot from task to task, learning little pieces here and there while at the same time building and preserving confidence.

over the course of almost 2 yrs minnie has gone from touching the barrels to rolling the barrels to walking, trotting, loping through varied space between two barrels, to jumping them at a dead run, a hand gallop, a lope, extended trot, trot, jog and now a walk and most recently, walk, pause jump. WHEW!! the funny part is that she likes to rear and jump around like a fool so you'd think lifting her front end over the barrels would be no biggie, but it is!! go figure! lol.

so, now we're ready to perfect our Level 3 Online..... i decided to introduce "jump towards you, stop, back to obstacle". the first try was almost a first time success... almost! i placed her on one side, me on the other. backed her away from the barrels & lined her up for success. i went to the end of my 22fter & drew her towards me. she stopped at the barrels, asking questions. then an amazing thing happened, she put one foot over the barrels.....and got stuck, as usual. but then, she carefully brought her other front leg over the barrels!!! she had never, ever tried that before! she never thought it was possible (goofy mare).


now what? she was straddling the barrels & not sure how to get to me. so, she carefully sidepassed her way over the barrels and came right to me. lol. okay, not what i was hoping for BUT she thought her way through the problem and stayed calm and the result was the same.......get to mom! what more could i ask for!

we tried that one more time but she had lost her confidence and rolled them out of the way instead. so, i started breaking it down. got her jumping the barrels consistently then i walked along side her while she jumped. she even jumped them once while i was climbing over the barrels myself (totally unsolicited)!! obviously her confidence was increasing. i then started walking just in front of the barrels as she was approaching so when she jumped i was actually on the opposite side. she was hesitant at first but got the hang of it quickly. that was our first session with our new task!


next play session we did our usual warm up of friendly game & circling game. a couple passes over the barrels and we were ready. put her behind the barrels, backed her away, lined her up for success. i backed away on the other side but not to the end of my rope. this time i drew her towards me while i moved my feet backwards which encouraged more forward movement from her. she sailed right over the barrels!!!! we got off that task immediately. tried it again at our savvy group The Aspiring Horseman play day a couple days later with lots of people around........again, she sailed right over and straight to me!!! woohoo!!

after a couple more tries i felt this part was solid.
a few days ago i introduced the "back to the obstacle" portion. i knew this would take a few tries because she gets worried about bumping into things while backing up. she's fine with humans being in Z5. she's even fine with the stick and string in Z5. its just the unknown that she doesn't like (can you blame her? lol). so, it was tough at first. its like trying to push the wrong end of magnets together. lol. she knows the object is back there and she does NOT want to bump into it with her legs of her bum.

how can we break it down, hmmmmm? i took her halter and slowly backed her to the barrels as close as possible without touching them. then we stood. walked forward and backed again....still unconfident so this time we stood and stood some more, playing friendly game. rubbed her with the stick (rubs always build her confidence), gave kisses and hung there until she seemed more relaxed and no longer conscious of the object behind her. then i walked her forward, lined her up, gave her plenty of rope and asked her back up. she slowly backed, almost perfectly straight all the way to the barrels and rested a foot just short of touching the barrels!!! WOOHOO!!! AAAAAAY!!! AAAAAAAAAH!! this was all going on in my head but on the outside i just stayed neutral and smiled! got off that task for sure!!!


next play session, i tested the jump towards, tested the backup (took a couple tries but not bad at all) and then had my husband do a video of us RE-COMBINING the "jump towards you, stop, back to obstacle"!! YAAAAAAAAAY!!

its such a grand feeling when it all comes together and your relationship with your horse was preserved because you put the relationship first and took the time it took!! :)))



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