Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Thursday, October 30, 2008

QUICK!! I have a COOKIE!!

So today was one of those interesting reminders for what exactly WORKS for an LBI.

My dear darling friend Jessica is coming to visit in a couple weeks, and the main goal of her visit is to film the majority of my L3 assessment, because for the LOVE OF GOD, it's time for me to finish the dang thing! Anyway, in times past, I've had a hard time filming because I just tried to film without practicing first...well DUH, no wonder I'd get frustrated. I woke up at about 5:00 this morning thinking about it (you know you're obsessed with PNH when you actually DREAM the L3/L4 online patterns)and decided that from now until Jess gets here on the 11th, we're going to PRACTICE. Not in the task oriented sense of the phrase, like "We're going to work on these tasks until we can do them in our sleep." but more along the lines of we're just going to play around and do those tasks in with our playing every day.

Anyway, back to the interesting session. SO, we set out on the 45' line, I set up some barrels, a jump, and some cavalettis, and we started. And instantly, Prin started in with her old trick...she'd stick her nose to the outside of the circle and PULL. A constant, annoying contact, that said "You know, if I were at liberty, I'dve left already, you boring, stupid, rediculous person. You call yourself a leader?"

One of my faults as a person is that I have a huge dignity complex. I cannot STAND to have anyone be downright RUDE to me, human, OR equine, especially if it's unprovoked, so this behavior out of Prin just ANNOYED me. Score one for Spotty. I could only think of one solution/idea off the top of my head, so I tried it. Every time she'd pull off, I would send her off harder/sideways, until she'd turn and ask me a question, then I'd bring her in and give her a rub. This is a friendly warning to all of you. DON'T DO THAT! It makes the situation WORSE. After trying this for a couple minutes, Prin was literally WHIPPING away from me, and trying to escape pressure. ARGH...time to reassess the situation.

I knew I wasn't getting anywhere continuing at that point, so I unsnapped the line, wound it up, put Prin loose in the west paddock and walked back to my car to have a good think. I got back to the car, sat down in my back seat, and remembered back to June, when I was having a similar problem, but it was only at 10 and 2 oclock on the circle. I was trying to remember what I had done then, and remembered what Linda had suggested; to bring Prin in when she drifted off and give her a cookie and some scratches...My thought was "That worked to a mediocre level...obviously the problem is reoccuring it wasn't solved" or I did something to spark it again. So I'm thinking "What is not clicking here? She comes in, she gets a cookie. I'm the comfort spot..."

And then it hit me. I'm not making it UNCOMFORTABLE to pull off. I went back to the pasture, all excited to try my new idea. Prin, surprisingly enough, came RIGHT up to me, and allowed me to put the line back on her (she had this look on her face of "you gonna get it right this time?")

I sent her back out, and got the same drill, except, this time every time she'd pull off, I'd disengage her *almost* rudely, and DEMAND that she at least trot, maybe canter to me...with an "COME HERE! QUICK! I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!!!" and then, as soon as she got in to me, I'd drop my energy, give her a scratch, and pull out a cookie and give it to her.

I did this maybe a dozen or so times (I really should invest in Winnies Cookie stock...) and within 10 minutes, she was offering canter on a loose rope. So...ya think I might have done the right thing? Maybe? Score one for Franny. I'm VERY proud of myself, and I'm REALLY excited to see how this evolves and progresses...although I will need to get some more cookies...blah!

Savvy on!


Virginia said...

haha good one I like that. I must try that w/ isabelle, she is the QUEEN of lead weight syndrome on the end of the rope. What I had been doing a little bit was a tug and release on the line. I got so so results. I think with her its more of a "I'll just let the rope hold me up because I dont/cant carry myselft" what do you think?

Tina said...

It's so interesting to read about higher level issues. Hopefully we'll get there someday...right now we just need to learn circling!
Tina - L1 in MN