Thursday, August 20, 2009
Had a training session with Mona a week ago; today, I played with my own horse for a change. The barn manager was at work, there was a new horse in the paddock, and Mona and Kat were out with the herd. I need to find out the new logistics before proceeding this week.
Mona's session last week was interesting. She did the first five games pretty well, but then she got scared during Circling, pulled free, and ran off with the 22' line trailing between her legs. If Cheerios had done that, he'd have ignored the rope. It freaked out Mona. So after she cantered all RBE around the paddock a few times bucking at the rope while I prayed silently for her to sloooooow down, she stopped and froze.
Poor thing was terrified. I felt so bad. But it was let go or I would be a nine-finger today. Every time she shifted, the rope touched her legs, and she freaked. It took two bolt and runs before she settled down and let me collect the rope from her legs. The funny thing was, once I had it in my hands, she relaxed.
From there, of course, the plan changed.
Instead of teaching the last three games, the new plan was "desensitize her to the rope" aka LOTS of Friendly Game. I taught her to give to the pressure on her front legs. The rears weren't happening. She kicked out when the rope barely touched her. Probably not in the right mindset at that moment. At first she panicked when she felt the rope, and tried to bolt, but I disengaged her and had her stop.
I know I did the right thing. A bit later, she lost confidence and bolted off with the rope again—but this time, she got about 30 feet away, slammed to a stop, and turned, faced and waited.
She needs a lot of work to be less sensitive to that.
Didn't even get to Kat that day.
So today, I focused on my horse, and it was awesome. My feel and timing HAS changed as a result of playing with these other horses. I saddled up and bridled him—first time bridled in ages—and we went out and played a little with Finesse, Carrot Stick riding, point-to-point, and OMG HIS SIDEWAYS IS FINALLY KICKING IN.
In fact... I was so excited. I thought as we were trotting along in a nice, collected little jog, I wonder if I can trot him sideways on a diagonal like all those fancy dressage ponies.
I thought it, I did it in my body, and...
So did he.
WOWWWW. I mean, WOW. My roping horse just did a beautiful little whatever it's called!
Level Three, here we come.