Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Online, Freestyle Patterns and the Like

I have to say, since starting to play with Nugget, I've gained a whole new appreciation for the usfulness and effectiveness of the Parelli patterns pack. Not that I had any doubt about it, but being that I come from older Parelli, I'm kinda partial to the levels formatting, particularly to old levels. But the more I use this new stuff (with my prior knowledge of horsenality and the seven games) the more I like the format.

Anyway, point of this statement is to open up what I did today. I actually started out with Crest before playing with Nugget. After my experience yesterday trimming Crest's feet (I didn't write about this because I was too exausted, but long story short, I had a hard time doing his back feet because of the weakness in his stifles leftover from the accident we had in winter '07) I decided he needs to get strengthened up in that hind end. I figured probably the best way to go about that was to just do another 4 weeks of hill therapy, but because his back is strong enough this time, and I have a good saddle, maybe allow myself to ride him a bit. So we started playing with the circles pattern, and I put hills and obstacles in the way accordingly. We pretty much played all over the property, up and down, over barrels, down through some steep stuff, up into a nicely sloping corn field, and Crest seemed to really enjoy himself, while getting a really good workout. Watching him move all over the place like that had me DROOLING. He's such a gorgeous horse.

Moving on to miss Nugget. She was queen of multiple horsenalities today, and I could have been better "on my game" at first, but I think all in all it went well. We started out playing the catching game for the first time since she's been here. I'm of the opinion that Crest and Cricket are teaching her this during feeding time, since one or both of them consistantly takes off after being fed, insisting that they have some grazing time. Anyway, we played with that for about 5 minutes, then she came to me with a truly confused look ("I don't know why but I'm strangly drawn to you...") and we headed out to the west paddock to feed and play.

Nugget has had a little (VERY minor) food aggression thing since she's been here, and I've played with it a little bit, but just enough to get her to not lay her ears back while I'm throwing hay. Today, for some reason, I was not in the mood to play dominance games anymore, so I pulled out a new trick. I decided that this pan of feed was MY feed, and that she didn't get any until she yo-yo'd to the end of the line, ASKED ME PERMISSION to come in and eat,and then came in with her ears forward, or at least one ear on me. She wasn't exactly pleased with this at first (got some serious tail swishing) but when she caught onto the game, it actually improved her entire attitude in the session.

Next, we played a little with the weave pattern, which she was quite RBE about at first (I'm thinking I may have scared her a little with my sudden quest for dominance) but she calmed down after seeing that there was purpose and "FOCUS" for her scattered energy. We also played a bit with more extreme friendly games, getting comfortable with the "helicopter" action with CS and string, etc.

Then I hopped on, and this is where things got really interesting. She was a little uneasy at first coming to get me off the barrel, but she soon settled when I played friendly and just leaned on her back, etc. When she finally relaxed, I put some weight on, and she didnt' object, so I hopped on. I asked her to bend in each direction, then backup, then stand, and then I asked politely for her to walk on. She had a CLASSIC RBI moment, and totally froze up. I backed off until she turned her head to check in. I played friendly and then asked her forward again. 3 little bucks in a row, on the spot is what I got in return. How INTERESTING...I bent her head without getting tense, asked her to back up, and then asked her forward again, and she kind of BLASTED into a walk, and proceeded to attempt to walk me off, I think. Instead of asking her to slow (I'm HAPPY that she wanted to move!) I immediately directed her towards the barrels, where I still had my weave pattern set up. We power-walked through the pattern about 4 times, and then, like clockwork (Pat and Linda sure know what they're talking about ;P ) she started to lower her head, blow out, relax, slow down, etc. Her ears went forward, and all of a sudden, she had this attitude of "Let's DO something!" and she took me for a walk around the paddock, just investigating everything. I even got several strides of a lovely smooth trot, and got her to walk over a log, and do an entire fence line of running walk. This gaited thing is kinda fun!

I ended the session with her relaxing and blowing out even more adrenaline, and walking me over to the gate, no hurry, just moseying. I'm pleased with this girl's progress! Pix to come soon, I hope :)

Time for me to go to bed now! It's supposed to snow tonight, YAY!

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Great to hear you're making progress with Nugget. Get some pictures soon, please! :)