Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Even True Unity Begins With the Friendly Game

Had a very interesting session with Princess tonight, in the best possible way, hence the title of my entry.

First off, Richard and I paced off grounds for our arena. We actually ended up MOVING it beyond the north paddock, so it'll be easily twice the size it would have been (We're looking at 150' x 175' now!) and a lot flatter and easier to deal with. From the way it sounds, Richard's ready to start on it any time, so YAY! Anyway, what all this has to do with Prin is that I used her to stride out the sides and make sure it was going to be big enough. It'll be just fine for ring work, methinks, 10 canter strides down the short side, 16 down the long, and that's with her pretty opened up (in other words, someone didn't want to STOP!)

So, onward and to the real point of this blog. After figuring out just where the arena was going, Prin and I headed off to the north paddock to play on the 45' line. I haven't played with her in two days other than to trim her skis off yesterday (good lord her feet were long)and so I was curious to see where things had gone since our last session. Well, "good" would be an understatement. "Great" might even be selling it a bit short. First I asked her to do some small, probably 15' circles or so, just to get warmed up. She was totally light and responsive, no leaning on the halter at all, and she seemed just really tuned in. So I brought her in, gave her a scratch, and gave her a cookie, and asked her to yoyo back out.

We had a REALLY funny moment at this point. Prin was dragging her feet with this very obvious "Nahhh...I'll pass on the backing..." attitude, so I gave her about 5 seconds of phase 1, and then just POPPED her with a 4. I have NEVER seen my horse be so hysterically expressive before. She jerked her head up, put two eyes on me, ears sprang forward, zoomed backwards like 4 steps, and she actually SHOOK HER if to say "Whoa..thanks, I needed that!" I laughed out loud, then brought her in again. I love it when she expresses herself. It just makes me smile. And for the record, her next two yoyos were unbelievable!

So we played around on the 45' line for a bit, and I honestly had an entirely different horse. We were almost all the way out to the end, just playin' around, doing directional changes and transitions, etc, and she was light and responsive on the head, no leaning, and slack all the way around. I really love the enthusiasm and motivation she's getting, and that's what leads me into the meaning behind my title for tonight.

So, I unsnapped my line off her halter, thinking "Now here's a test. We're in a 4 acre paddock, with no reason what so ever for her to stay with me. She never has in the past, why should she now?" Well, the next 10 minutes of liberty inspired my title line. Princess was just absolutely GLUED to me. we did stick to me and close range circling and and sideways to and from, at a walk and trot. She did 30' yo-yos at a trot and backed by her tail. A week ago, that would have NEVER happened! I found myself thinking about how so many things are rooted in that simple game that is found on page one of level 1. How it is number one for a reason, and how just a little friendly game can go a long way in a relationship. Even true unity begins with the friendly game. Pictures to come tomorrow.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Very exciting, Fran! What a great testament to your patience and savvy!!

...Can I have her!? :)


Good job and have fun finishing level 3 with Princess. She sounds like a wonderful partner.