Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Friday, November 27, 2009

Oh, My Extroverts!

Today's play was an interesting wake-up call to me with regard to two of my little herd. I am innately a Left-Brain Extrovert, and though I'm pretty adequate at handling all the horsenalities, I've always been partial to my left-brain horses, particularly the extroverts, recently (though it used to be LBIs, hands down! Thanks Prin!). Today's events revolved around two fascinating (and perplexing, in some cases) sessions with two of my horses--and involved my digging deep into my savvy quiver at points.

I started my afternoon out with a half an hour long session with little LB. It's been a long time since I've put any effort into LB's development, simply for time's sake. LB is QUITE the little extrovert, and what little time I've put on her has been centered around developing obedience--something, she taught me right off the bat, that doesn't last unless she's played with consistently. Note to self...

LB's version of disobedience--she was supposed to be trotting a circle!

We played with developing obedience and smoothness on the 22' line. LB's circling game particularly has lots to improve upon, the little rascal likes to circle with her nose IN THE AIR, tilted away from me. My usual strategy for dealing with this is actually to just hold my hand closed and firm with as little rope as possible, and then release on the slightest try, but LB wanted none of it. I have NEVER had that strategy not work, most horses get tired of carrying themselves incorrectly within a couple laps and start to relax--not her! I isolated it as a broken porcupine, and inspected some other areas--broken draw in yo-yo, broken bring-back on the circle, and decided I needed to focus on porcupining the front end.

We started with basic L1 porcupine games, and moved on to other things while in motion--I used the figure-8 pattern to my advantage, looking to continue the pattern until she showed signs of obedience. I was very impressed with her persistence, I must say--she came up with about 28 ways NOT to do the figure 8 pattern, but all of a sudden, she just fell into a rhythm. I got several repetitions of very soft, pretty, obedient pattern, and brought her in. I unhaltered her, and she started offering to do some things at liberty on her own, which I thought was pretty darn neat! We played for another couple of minutes before I put her back and went for my next playmate.

I played with Crest, next. Crest was VERY emotional today--whether it was the weather, the fact that I was still a bit mentally bound up over my session with LB, or just because that's how he was meant to be today, I don't know. But he started out by telling me quite plainly that he NEEDED to move his feet. I obliged, and let him move about at the end of my 45' line. That was not probably the best move on my part--had I been more on my game, I might have put him on a pattern or something, so as to keep his mind occupied. Anyway, it ended fine, he just took a little longer to focus.

We played a lot online, focusing on walk/canter/walk transitions (hoping this'll transfer to our riding), and then moving to long-line driving--which he is now the champion of. I'm still a bit clumsy when it comes to changing bend/flow from side to side on circles, and it bothers him a little, I think. I'm pretty sure it just breaks down to a communication slip--my timing isn't perfect yet, and Crest is so sensitive that we're just missing something by a hair. I'll keep playing with it and let you know how it goes--I think I'll probably use the figure 8 pattern here, too. It's a pattern he knows well (he's playing in L4) so that buys me some opportunity to work on myself without worrying about him. We shall see how it goes.

I got on his back for a few minutes and just focused on isolations again--my GOODNESS he's getting light! I got several GORGEOUS 180 degree rollbacks using practically nothing, and he's getting this super speedy, but super controlled backup going, too. What a neato horse!

So, that's pretty much it for today. I'm so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open right now. Again, I'm very wordy, but I hope I gave you at least a little insight into my day--again, feedback is welcome if you wish :)

Savvy on, I'm off for BED!


Naturally Gaited said...

I love wordy. Please keep posting! Thanks, Fran.

Virginia said...

hehe I love LB! Get some photos of mr. crest, he is so cool. Glad you are finally getting some time w. him now after a busy fall.