Thursday, September 30, 2010

Prince: Another breakthrough!!

Sept 27 2010

Prince and I had a really good play session and ride today. We had a lot breakthroughs too!! We started with some Liberty with mom and Knightly. Knightly wanted to run and play so we sent the horses out around the riding ring. The goal was 1-2 laps around the riding at the canter with out breaking gait or changing direction. They both did well. After that we backed the horses between some barrels while we each stood in a tire then after a little rest we brought them back in to us. Prince did really well and didn't leave. He wasn't sure what I wanted when I asked him to come to me because normally I back up a step or two and he will come so that is something we shall have to play with!!

Then I had to figure out a new shimming pattern for my saddle. So we did that next. My mom was able to help with that also and we figured something out that I think might just work! Prince seems to like it so that is the most important thing. I might need to change of the shims around a little but that is about it I think.

Then we went Online and did Stick to me at w/t/c, Prince picked up the correct leads EVERY SINGLE TIME!!! I was amazed! Even to the left he picked it up no problem! Another thing I noticed was that Prince's canter was slower and more relaxed!! Then we did circles at the canter again Prince picked up the correct leads each time but our connection wasn't so great. So we had to play with that. But Prince found it pretty quickly. I was just really happy that Prince picked up the correct leads! It was really amazing. He looked so comfortable! We played around a bit with jumping some single barrels. Prince even offered to jump on with me in zone 5!! He has never done that before so it was really cool!

While we were riding we mostly did Follow the rail and transitions. We started with getting Prince more relaxed at the trot. He found a nice slow trot which was really nice so then when I asked for the canter Prince was relaxed and went nicely into the canter. It was only for about two posts so that would be about 16ft but I rewarded that because he went into it nicely, came out of it calm and relaxed and picked up the correct lead. We did a couple more of those and each time Prince would pick up the canter at a lighter phase, canter for longer and was still relaxed going in and coming out of the canter. Each time, no matter how far he cantered I would reward it then we would start again.

After the third time or so though Prince started assuming that I wanted the canter at that particular spot so I had to switch it up a bit. I started asking him to canter at a couple different spots and Prince did really, really well. I was so happy! The new shimming pattern really seems to be making a difference!! Prince didn't miss any of the leads! That was going to the right so I was interested to see how going to the left would go.

At first Prince would pick up the canter but for only a short distance. But I was happy with it and rewarded it because he was cantering on the correct lead. Then on the third of fourth time I asked for the canter a little early, we have a tree that is hanging over part of the fence and normally I don't ask for the canter until after we are past that but this time I was a bit early and something on my saddle hit on the tree. Nothing got caught but Prince broke gait for a stride or so but then picked it back up again and gave me the most beautiful canter to the left, on the left lead and we cantered from the tree which is about the half way point in the riding ring on the long side of the fence and we cantered all the way a long the fence to the small gate so not quite half of the riding ring but almost. What was really cool too was that Prince stayed a long the rail and before he had a really hard time doing that, he would cut it off and come off the rail. So it was really amazing. Prince was nice and relaxed when I asked him to stop and I got off right after that. That was huge for us!!

After that we spent some undemanding time. Prince didn't want to leave so I scratched him and he still didn't want to leave so we just hung out for a bit before I went and haltered Twosox.

I was so proud of Prince! I still can't believe how well it went. I think the thing that made the major difference is that I rewarded the slightest try, whether it was Prince going into the canter at a light phase, or Prince just cantered a couple strides. I rewarded it and Prince started relaxing and putting a lot more effort into cantering. It was really amazing!!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ruffian: Simple but interesting.

Sept 27 2010

Ruffian and I had so much fun today when we played. We started out with the Weave at the walk. Ruffian kept the belly of the rope on the ground the whole time and he was responding so well to just my body. It was really cool! For Ruffian to be that light is really an improvement for us. 

Then we did something a little bit different and I asked Ruffian to circle at a trot and jump the barrels that were in the middle of the riding ring. My goal was 4 laps and 4 jumps. Ruffian did well once he figured out what I wanted. He was really trying hard. One time though he decided not to jump and go between me and the barrels, I almost caught it but was just a little late and the rope got caught between his legs. He stopped instead of running off so I started walking in an arc out of zone 5 and to get the rope but he moved a little and the rope dragging really scared him. He galloped around the riding ring twice, all I could do was pray that he wouldn't crash through the rails because that would have been a disaster. But I was able to put some pressure (just a little bit) towards zone 1/2 and Ruffian trotted over to me. Praise the Lord!! 

After Ruffian calmed down we went back over to the barrels and continue. Ruffian didn't try to get away again so I am pretty sure that it was just an unfortunate event and not something he planned :)  Ruffian did the circles really well and jumped each time really nicely. So I brought him in and we chilled for a bit before moving on. 

I was really impressed at how well Ruffian was doing. He was willing to go but also willing to stop and just hang out. He also didn't go internal, even when I had to get to a higher phase so that was really neat also. 

We then played with the ball. Ruffian wasn't really sure what to do with it. So I asked him to push it for a little ways and then I just asked him to do something, anything, with it. After a bit he started asking questions and playing with it. It was really fun to watch. I then took the halter off and went and sat on the barrel. I wanted to see if Ruffian would do anything with it by himself. He tried scratching on it and then he pushed it around a bit. Where ever he went, the ball went. 

Then we finished up with some undemanding time and then I played with Prince! Ruffian did really well. It is so important though that I have a clear plan. I just can't go out and see what happens. Ruffian needs me to be a strong leader, yes we can still play and have fun but he needs to know that I am the leader and he is the follower. What is it that Mr. Parelli says... "Horses are natural followers looking for natural leaders" If I am not the leader Ruffian will be. It is either him or I. There is no in between! But then aren't all horses like that? Every horse wants a leader!! But each horse needs a different kind of leader!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Prince: Respect, Impulsion and Flexion

Sept 22 2010

Prince and I had a really good playtime and ride today. We did some things a little bit differently than normal but it was good because I was able to test my savvy in some small ways. 
Prince and I went up to the riding ring at Liberty and I decided to stay at Liberty for a while and see what we could get done. What was interesting is that normally I don't play with Prince at Liberty at the beginning of our sessions so it was interesting to see how it was different. He stayed with me the whole time but he wasn't really putting effort into doing anything. He wasn't offering things and he was just kind of waiting for me to tell him what to do. 

So we went up to a barrel and I just wanted Prince to do something. So after a while of playing there we went and did some sideways from tire to tire, Weave at the walk and trot (our first time of trying it at the trot and Prince did amazingly well!), Figure eights, Stick to me at the walk/trot/canter and back-up. Prince picked up the correct leads almost 100% of the time! It was really amazing! 

The whole time we were playing at Liberty my goal was to get Prince motivated. At first he wasn't very motivated and he wasn't putting effort into what I was asking, even though he was doing what I asked. But with in 10-15 minutes Prince was way more motivated and he was putting a lot of effort into what I asked. The look on his face totally changed! It was really amazing!

Then the last thing we did was I sat on a barrel that was standing up on its end and I asked Prince to put me in zone 5. He caught on pretty quickly then we went Online. We refined our Stick to me transitions and got some really nice canter to halt to back up transitions. Then some other really nice, smooth transitions. Prince was so connected and he was picking up the correct leads. We also got some really nice jumping a single barrel. Prince was really willing to try and put a lot of effort into it.

Then I jumped up onto Prince, not to gracefully I will add but I still got up there ;) My plan today was to try cantering Prince bareback and see if he was able to pick up the correct leads. So we started out with some Follow the rail at the walk and trot. Prince was so smooth! Even when he trotted faster he still was comfortable to ride. When I asked for the canter I had to figure out what would be the best way to ask and still keep balanced. It took a couple tries but in the end we got it and Prince cantered  a couple strides. So I rewarded that. It was really easy actually and but the hardest part if asking for the canter but I think we are getting it. Prince did pick up the correct lead which was really nice.

The next time I asked for the canter Prince went into it relaxed, cantered a long ways and when I asked, he came out of it to a nice slow trot and then a stop. It was the most comfortable canter I have ever gotten on Prince and he was so relaxed! It felt wonderful!!

After a long rest, and lick and chew for both Prince and I, we did the Weave at the walk and I only had to use my carrot stick once!! On the way  back to where we started I really tried to use my body and even less of my leg and Prince responded really well. He followed my focus almost perfectly!!

Then we ended by riding down the hill into the corral. It was so much fun riding down the hill bareback! :) Prince stayed with me for a long time after I let him go. But I had to leave and get ready for work so I couldn't stay to long. It was such an amazing playtime though and Prince did so well!!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ruffian: It keeps getting better!

Sept 20 2010

Ruffian was totally amazing today! He was relaxed but had energy, willing to go but also willing to stop. He didn't once try to get away. We did circles in both directions. I have never seen Ruffian circle that well! Talk about rhythm, relaxation and connection!!!

We also played around with jumping two barrels that were side by side, so they were the width of one barrel but twice as wide. Ruffian jumped those really easily so we then did the Weave at the trot, Sideways and then we just hung out. We both had a lot of fun and I was so proud of Ruffian!! He was so confident!! 


Monday, September 20, 2010

Prince: Puzzle solving and having fun!

Sept 20 2010
This morning I played with Prince first. I sat in the manger and just hung out for a bit before haltering Prince. We played with some small things too, like sideways towards me with just my body suggesting it and some other things which were really fun. 

Then we went up into the riding ring and we played with yo-yo's for a while. Just getting them lighter and a little faster. We had them really nice but I slacked off a little and so we had to fix them. But once that was going better we then did circles. Prince trotted some really nice circles to the left at the trot. He was so connected and relaxed!! To the right he did well too but they weren't quite as nice as the ones to the left. We also played with our trot to canter transitions. I only had the bareback pad on Prince because I wanted to still ride but I wanted to see if my saddle was causing any of Prince's problems with picking up the correct leads. 

They still weren't perfect but Prince did have a lot easier of the time getting the right lead. He cantered some nice circles to the right also. The left lead was a bit harder but Prince got it after a bit and cantered two laps to the left before I brought him in. So I am still not sure if it is my saddle or that Prince was just more relaxed and was able to get the correct leads but I will continue to test it. 

After that we did some Falling Leaf and then we rode!! I mounted Prince from the ground again. This time it was a lot better. Still not perfect better :) I gave my youngest brother a short ride first. We rode around double with M2 in front of me. We did some Follow the rail and we also went and stood on the pedestal. Then I jumped down and M2 trotted for the first time!! He did so well. He didn't even bounce!! I was just a little bit jealous!! Well... not really but I sure would have liked to have been able to ride a trot that well when I started!! :) 

After M2 got down I jumped back up again and Prince and I rode around brideless with two carrot sticks. He did well and we had a lot of fun!! We started with Follow the rail including small circles at the walk. Prince did very well again and responded to just my body. Then we did some sideways which was really amazing. At first Prince wouldn't really go sideways but would creep forward... his hindquarters were lagging, or his forequarters were running a head. So we played with that and I had to make sure that my body was in the correct position and then Prince got it really fast. It was pretty neat!

Then we played with backing up with just my seat. Prince got so good that at the end he backed three steps backwards with just my seat, no legs or sticks!!! It was soooooo cool!! I was surprised at how fast he caught on. It was incredible!! We then went and rode a Weave pattern at the walk and for 90% of the time he was responding to just my body and it was just on the ends a little bit that I had to support a little bit with my carrot sticks. I really feel that both Prince and I finally "got" it and now we are making leaps and bounds in our riding, things that we had been having a hard time with are now falling into place. I am so proud of Prince!!

We ended with me dismounting over Prince's neck. I asked him to lower it and I slid off. He did so well!! It wasn't quite as smooth as I wanted but that was my fault ;) 

Prince stuck with me even after I let him go so we played at Liberty for a couple minutes. We played with Stick to me and we got some really nice trot to canter transitions!! Prince picked up the correct leads on the second try and coming out of the canter he was relaxed and soft. It was really amazing! 

Then we did sideways towards me, Weaving and Figure eights. Prince did a great job on the Figure eights. He didn't even try to leave! Which was really cool! We did a couple and then stopped because they were just amazing. 

Even after I opened the gate Prince still didn't want to leave so he stayed with me for a bit and then Twosox came into the riding ring so I let him into the side strip of grass to graze and then went to play with Ruffian!!

I was really happy with this playtime and ride. I can see that it will take some effort on both Prince's and my part to get the cantering right but I think we are both up to that challenge!! The main thing I want to remember is to not knock the try out of Prince. He is so willing to try and I have to remember to expect a lot, except a little and reward often!!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Prince: LBI on adrenaline...

Sept 18 2010

Prince and I had a really mind opening/ revealing play session today. Prince and I mainly played with circles and leads and lead changes. Prince was having a really hard time getting the left lead. So we played with some drop to trot lead changes and that helped a bit but it still wasn't helping much. 

Going to the right Prince would canter on the correct lead but he wouldn't have any connection. So we have to play with that also. After lots of isolating, separating and recombining I finally realized that Prince wasn't going into the canter calm, cool and collected. He wasn't right brain but he was rushed... and so he was missing the lead and loosing connection. I decided to take everything right down to the walk and see if I could find the underlying issue. One thing I noticed, which was effecting our changes of directions and transitions was that when ever Prince felt any pressure on the halter he would speed up. I think he learned this from the fact that on the circle he gets on adrenaline really easily. He won't be galloping around but he is a LBI on adrenaline none the less.

So at the walk, on about a 15ft circle Prince and I played with our porcupine game. I had to teach Prince that when the pressure was coming out in front of him that meant to speed up, but when the pressure was coming to the side it meant come closer, and when it was going farther back, behind the drive line that meant slow down, or stop. He caught on after a while but I could see the pattern which was pressure = go faster and that wasn't helping my cause any.

Once we got that going better in both directions when ever Prince took the slack out of the line he would feel the pressure on the side and he would put the slack back on the ground. We left it at the walk for today but I think I know what I will need to do next time. 

So one thing that I have decided is that I will not be asking Prince to canter Freestyle until he can pick up the correct leads Online. It isn't fair to him or myself to ask for it because it isn't setting up for success. I am also going to see if any of it has anything to do with my saddle. Because Prince is so wide my Fusion might be restricting him in some way that is causing him to not get the correct leads. I will have lots to think about!!

I did ride Prince after all that. We kept it pretty simple. I rode bridleless again and with two carrot sticks. We did sideways over barrels, back-up's, Follow the rail at the walk and trot with direct reins (just my body no carrot sticks!! We even got a couple at the trot!!!) and Figure eights. Prince did well but he seemed different somehow from yesterday, which leads me to think that it might be my saddle. So when Monday rolls around I think I am going to throw the BB pad on and not put my saddle on and see if that makes a difference. 

Prince spooked again... did I mention that the other day I rode my first BIG spook?? I don't think I did. Prince and I were trotting along and all of a sudden Prince spooks at something in the bushes, does a 90 degree spin and bolts across the riding ring. I was able to bend him and still ride it... which I was pretty impressed about that. I am not 100% sure what it was that Prince spooked at but he wasn't to sure about going near that end again so we did lots of approach and retreat until he could continue on.

Anyway so today Prince and I were riding by the same spot and this time we were doing a small circle to go the other way and something spooks Prince and again, in the same spot and off we go, this time bridleless. I rode that one too and was able to turn Prince and he stopped. I wish I knew what he was that was spooking him. Maybe we shall have to go play over there next time!!!

So yeah. It was an interesting playtime and ride and it definitely left me thinking as I went to work... not that I had much time to think as it was really busy... anyway. I shall definitely let you know what I find and how our next playtime goes!!


Twosox: Using the patterns...

Sept 18 2010

Since Twosox and I were in the lead coming home today when we went up to the riding ring he was worried as to where the other horses were, even though they were just in the corral. I knew that I had to gain his focus or else nothing would go well so we started out on the Weave pattern but it was to much of a straight line so we switched to Figure eights, and small ones. Pretty soon Twosox started relaxing and thinking about where he was going and what he was doing and in the end we got some really nice Figure eights! 
Then we went to the Weave and Twosox was much more relaxed. Pretty soon though he became more dominate so I had to change some strategies. Once the Weave was going well and Twosox was trotting it and not missing any tires we stopped. After that we did circles. I was just looking for Rhythm, Relaxation and Connection for one or two laps each way. once Twosox got that we stopped. 

We also did some Backwards "S" at first Twosox wasn't yielding so the porcupine game but by the end he was putting slack in the rope and yielding really nicely. 

The last thing we did was just simple squeezes between me and the fence. At first Twosox couldn't even walk between me and the fence!! It was interesting. I think that might have something to do with his issues with jumping, even though he is quite a bit better now. So we played with that until he could walk between me and the fence and not stop. Then we ended! 

At the end Twosox was calm and relaxed and really focused on what I was asking him to do. It was really nice.


A little adventure!

Sept 18 2010

So this playtime started out with a little adventure. The horses weren't in when I went out to play so my older brother and my two younger brothers and I went out to find them. They were in the back field grazing on what little grass they would find. Twosox walked up to me and I haltered him, seeing as he was the horse I wanted to play with first. The plan was to send the other horses on a head and then the rest of us would follow, me driving the other horses home. But Knightly had other ideas. He decided to take off running in the other direction, meanwhile Ruffian and Prince stood there looking at him like "What got into him?" But in the end all three horses took off in totally the wrong direction and so myself, Twosox and my brothers sent out after them. I was tempted to just leave them but I didn't think that it would be the best idea because (1) My mom was coming out to play with Knightly shortly and so he would need to be there for her (2) I didn't think that they would follow Twosox and (3) Twosox would probably not be very confident without them and that wouldn't be setting up for success. 

So off we went. The horses kept going farther and farther, good thing I know that bush well!! Matt (my older brother) said that he could hold Twosox and that way I could get Prince. So when we got to a clear area in the bush where the other horses stopped to eat I gave Twosox to Matt and went and got Prince. Prince came a long nicely. Good thing I had my savvy string with me!! I was pretty sure that Ruffian would at least follow and Knightly would realize soon enough that he should come too. It worked! With Twosox and Prince leaving the other two came so we went back. Once we got to the road I let Prince go but he stuck right with me and so we went on completely at Liberty. It was fun but I am glad that Matt was there because I wouldn't have been able to do it without him. 

The rest of the way home went along uneventful and we got home safe and sound. Twosox and I took the lead and I make sure to keep the other horses back. He seemed pretty happy with that :) 


Prince: Bareback and bridleless...

Sept 17 2010

It rained really hard last night so the riding ring was really to wet and muddy to do a whole lot of fast pace stuff. So Prince and I played with lightness on the circle, while doing changes of directions, transitions and also Figure eights. Prince did well and we got some nice stuff happening. I asked Prince to canter a little bit when we were on the other side of the riding ring where it wasn't to mucky. He is having a really hard time picking up the correct leads so we are going to have to play with that one.

Prince was pretty sweaty after we had finished playing so I let him cool off.... in the meantime I decided to try something totally different and see if I could mount him from the ground. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be but it was still hard. I am going to have to practice a lot. Prince was such a trooper and stood and nice the whole time, even when I accidentally kicked him in the side...  oops. I was able to do it a couple times on left side but I was having a hard time getting all the way up. So I switched over to the right side and it was a lot easier. I still have to work the the fluidity part of mounting from the ground but at least I am getting up!! :)

Then Prince and I rode brideless. I didn't feel like putting the hackamore on. I grabbed two carrot sticks and we were off. Prince was so light and we did Follow the rail at the walk and trot and at the walk Prince would turn in a full circle with just my body and leg!! I didn't need to use my carrot stick!! It was so cool! We did both half turns and full turns which were pretty cool! Prince's trot was so nice, he definitely gave me a sitting trot trot ;) It was so comfy!!

Then we did some sideways, backing up with two carrot stick, backing up with just my body (no sticks, rein, or legs) indirect rein and some other things. I was so proud of Prince! He was amazing!

We didn't canter because it was so wet but that was okay because we were able to play with some other things. And I want to get Prince picking up the correct leads Online before we canter again Freestyle... it will give me incentive to get them fixed Online ;)

Prince and I finished with a nice nap in the sun and then we went down to the corral. It was so nice try some new things and advance the other things!! I am definitely going to ride bareback more often!! I miss it!


Ruffian: Waiting for the relaxation pays off!

Sept 17 2010

Ruffian and I had a very good playtime today. He responded but didn't react and he stayed calm when I asked him to do something. It was really amazing to see the difference in him since our last session. Even when I had to go up my phases he didn't go introverted like he used to but he responded and moved. 

We did circles (and he didn't try and leave!!!), some changes of directions, sideways, jumping, Figure eights, backing up into things, and we played more with lowering his head and gaining confidence in zone 1 when his head is low. Ruffian did really well and his head is so much lower now!!

Ruffian didn't even try to leave which was really cool. This was the first session that he hasn't tried to leave in a long while. So I am really happy about that!!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Prince: Partial Disengagments!

Sept 15 2010

One thing that I wanted to play with today was being efficient but without getting direct line. The one mistake I made though was that I didn't have a clear enough plan. So we were efficient but not progressive.

We did get some nice things done but it I had to stop and make a plan... then we got really efficient and progressive. We did sideways at the walk and trot. All I had to do to ask for the trot was pick up my energy and start jogging slowly and Prince started trotting. We also did Backwards "S", circles, Figure eights and some other things.

Prince cantered 14 laps to the right and 27 to the left but he was counter cantering for about 20 of those... so we had to play with that. Then once he was on the correct lead we had to get the connection. Part way through I switched to backwards "S" because Prince wasn't getting it. Once we did some of those and then went back to the circles Prince cantered 3 laps with connection and he was on the correct lead. So we ended there. I was really proud of how well Prince did though. He tried so hard and finally got it.

Then we rode. We had an interesting ride. It just proves that Online really does make a difference in our Freestyle and if your horses can't do it Online, he will probably have a hard time doing it while riding. Prince had a really hard time getting the correct leads and then he go on adrenaline and he would trot really, really fast before cantering plus when he came out of the canter he would do the same thing. So we had to play with that. I ended up doing partial disengagements from the trot to the walk and then once Prince was doing well with those I would ask for the canter, let him canter a couple strides and then we would come back down to the trot and do that.

Once Prince gave me a really nice transition into the canter and a nice one coming out of it we stopped. So Prince and I will be doing a lot of cantering and transitions Online for a while before we canter Freestyle again.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Twosox: Playing with the horse that shows up.

Sept 15 2010

 This morning Twosox was a different horse than what he was our last play time. He was worried about almost everything and so it added an extra interesting element into our play session. At first I wasn't totally prepared for what Twosox was going to be like so that didn't really help but I was able to slow it down and we did lots at the walk and did lots of friendly game until he was more confident. 

Twosox was really unsure about me being in zone 5, something I noticed earlier today. So we played around with that. Then I noticed that Twosox had a big knot in his tail. So it gave me a perfect opportunity to play the friendly game in zone 5. After a while we then were able to go do some Figure eights, backwards "S", and some sideways. Then we ended. We did one line driving with me in zone 5 down the hill and into the corral so that was a improvement from earlier!! Twosox was really confident also. So I was happy about that :)


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Prince: The joys of learning new things!

Sept 13 2010

Well, Prince and I had a really great playtime and ride today but we also had some how interesting moments. We did circles, the Backward "S" pattern, Figure eights, jumping, sideways etc Online. Prince cantered some really nice circles. I was really pleased with them. 
Prince and I had another "first" together today. We cantered bridleless!!! I rode Prince bridleless for the first little while. He did so well!!! He was so light and responsive!! We did the Bowtie pattern, Follow the rail, Sideways, hindquarter pivots, indirect rein and some other stuff. We did some trot-canter transitions along with point to point at the canter.
Then I put my hackamore on and we did some Bowties and played with some things that I didn't want to do bridleless. Prince put a lot of effort into everything!! Then we played around with getting the left lead. Prince has the hardest time getting the left lead. It is hard and kind of complicated but I am fortunate that at least I can feel when Prince is on the wrong lead. 
We have our work cut out for us but I know that Prince and I will get through it and we will learn lots from it. 


Ruffian: Don't be afraid but do what I say...

Sept 13 2010

Ruffian and I had an interesting playtime. After I haltered him we did some friendly game. Ruffian wasn't sure about the carrot stick. It was something that I have noticed over the past couple play times. Nothing major but I think he lost confidence when we started taking things to the next level and he lost a little bit of confidence and I didn't help him soon enough. 

So we did some extreme friendly game until he relaxed. As soon as he lowered his head I released. Pretty soon he was confident with that so we moved on. We went up into the riding ring and did some Figure eights. Ruffian got away once. But the next time he tried it I didn't let go and he didn't try again. Our Figure eights were pretty good though. He put a lot of effort into it.

Through out the whole play time we played with doing everything with confidence. Ruffian can very easily get unconfident and go internal, even if it just for a second or two. So we played with that. Basically I said "Don't be afraid, but do what I say" Ruffian will normally do what I ask but he will have his head high. So we played with that. Pretty soon Ruffian was doing what I asked, with effort and his head was lower. 

Then I decided to try something new. The goal was to have Ruffian keep his head a couple inches from the ground and I walk from one side to the other. We got really close but Ruffian wasn't confident with me being in zone 1 and his head being low. Interesting!! So I played lots of friendly game in zone 1. What would happen was that Ruffian would turn his head just a little as I passed in front of him. Pretty soon Ruffian was keeping his head low and was really confident. 

That was where we ended. It was a really great note to end on and it was a good playtime all in all. 


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Prince: Bowtie pattern and Simple Lead changes...

Sept 10 2010

Prince and I had an amazing playtime and ride today. We did some review on some things that we had been playing with over the past couple months and then we did some new things. 
We did circles and played with change of directions and cantering. Prince did really well cantering to the right and he cantered 10 laps no problem. But to the left he was having more trouble. He would canter on the left lead for a couple strides and then start counter cantering and then he would try to get back on the correct lead again but he was having a really hard time so we played with that and finally he got the left lead and relaxed into the canter and cantered about 4 laps or so. He was trying so hard, I was really proud of him! 

Then we did some Point to point at the canter from barrel to barrel. Prince did well and this time he would almost do a sliding stop at each barrel! He knew exactly where he was supposed to go ;) It was funny watch him canter along and his ears would be fixed on that barrel and then he would stop right in front of it and put his nose right in the center of the barrel. It was funny. I made sure to spend a little extra time at the barrel that Prince would have to be cantering to the left for because I knew that he would most likely have a harder time cantering in that direction. 

We also did the Backward "S" pattern, Falling Leaf with Simple lead changes every time, and some sideways. Then we rode!!

We didn't do a whole lot. Just Point to point at the canter, the Bowtie pattern and some sideways, indirect and direct rein with out reins. Prince was so incredibly light even at the trot he was light! It was amazing. We didn't stay long at doing Point to point because Prince got it. It wasn't perfect but I switched to the Bowtie pattern because I felt that it would help Prince more with picking up the left lead. He was having a really hard time and so once we got onto the Bowtie pattern he did much better. He was able to get the left lead a lot easier and part of the problem was that I was still going through my phases to quickly. Once I really slowed down he picked up the canter at a phase 1 maybe 2 and we were off. It was really something.

The last Bowtie we did was amazing. Prince cantered to the left on the left lead and he cantered almost the complete way. It was so wonderful! Prince tried so hard and I could definitely feel the difference!! I think that we are going to have a lot more success on this pattern than on Follow the rail. Yes we will go back to cantering on the rail soon but I think that this pattern has more purpose for both Prince and I. We both see the point in it!! (Yes even though I am a RBI I still have a bit of that LBI in me...) 

We ended right there and I got off, sat on a barrel and helped my mom with Knightly. Even after I let Prince go he stayed with me and what was really cool was that even when Knightly was running by or when mom was doing something with Knightly that had a lot of energy that was close to us, Prince stayed right with me and wasn't worried. 

Then after we had stayed there for a while I went to leave to get ready for work and Prince followed me around every where I went so we trotted from the barrel we were at to the other one and then cantered back to the other one, at Liberty and I was about 15ft away from Prince. It was really fun! 

I think Prince knows that patterns!! So I can now say that we are playing with Simple Lead Changes!!! It is amazing to actually be saying that!! I know we have a long way to go still but I am excited about our start!! 


Ruffian: Changing things up a little...

Sept 10 2010

This morning I decided to do something a little bit differently with Ruffian and let him graze on the front yard while I sat on him. Before we did that though we played up in the riding ring just making sure that he was ready to ride out. He did well and we did circles, The backward "S"  pattern, jumping, sideways and some other things. The only time Ruffian tried to get away was when we were leaving the corral but he didn't succeed. Other than that he was really good. 

He did well on the front yard. I mostly just went along for the ride but every now and then I would ask him to do something like move to a different patch of grass or something like that. The only bad thing that happened was Ruffian was walking over towards the apple tree and I didn't really want him going over there so I was asking him to turn but he didn't want to and he went right under the apple tree, and under a low hanging branch and I came off. I landed on my left knee and now have a nice blackish/purple bruise... and it hurts but other than that I am fine. I know now what I should have done but of course it is to late. I was able to get back on though and we continued to have a nice ride. Although I will say that I was a little bit more particular about what I asked. 

I did get off one other time because Ruffian didn't want to back up when I asked and so I got to fix that. Then I got back on again and it was much better. We ended on a good note and everything is fine.


Twosox: Bridleless!!

Sept 9 2010

After I played with Prince I played with and rode Twosox. He did so well. It was really amazing. We saddled up in the corral and then went up to the riding ring. We did traveling circles at the trot with the belly of the rope in the ground, changes of directions, the backward "S" pattern, falling leaf, sideways, and jumping. 

Then we did a little bit at Liberty. Not a whole lot. Just some friendly game with the ball. I walked around in zone 1-4 while bouncing it. I almost got into zone 5 but then Twosox got a little tense so I just waited until he relaxed and then stopped. 

Since Twosox was ready to ride I climbed up and just had my savvy string around his neck along with my carrot stick. We rode around like that the whole ride and it was so much fun! We did Follow the rail at the walk and trot, sideways, indirect rein, we pushed the ball all the way around the riding ring once. Twosox loved that! And we also did some other things. It was really fun and Twosox did so well. The whole time he was confident and it was really amazing.

After we had finished I let Twosox go but he stayed with me so we hung out and then I had to send him out because was planning on going down but then my mom needed some help with Knightly and Twosox was just standing there at the gate and so I opened the gate and he came right back in and stayed with me the whole time I was helping mom. So we spent about 30-45 minutes of undemanding time. It was really neat.


Prince: Point to Point

Sept 9 2010

This morning I didn't ride Prince but we played on the ground and did some pretty fun stuff. One new thing that we did was we did Point to point from barrel to barrel using the same pattern as the Bowtie pattern. My plan was just to do it at the walk and trot at first and then build to the canter but on the first try Prince offered the canter so then we did it at the canter. Prince caught on really quickly. We ended when he had the general idea of what I wanted him to do. He wasn't stopping right at the barrel, sometime he would go past it a little bit, but I was happy with the fact that he was cantering, getting the correct leads, and had the general idea of what he was supposed to do. So then we moved on to the next thing...

We did Figure eights, zone 5 driving with one rein doing walk/trot/canter transitions. This was the first time that we have done cantering transitions with me in zone 5. We have done some cantering on the circle with two reins but not like this. Prince did so well and we got some really cool walk to canter, canter to halt, etc transitions. 

We also played with Sideways and also seeing how much I could ask Prince to do (and he understood and did it) with just my core energy. Prince was fabulous! There was a couple times that I have to reinforce what I was asking but 95% of the time he did exactly what I wanted, at the gait I wanted. Whether it was jumping a single barrel from a stand still, going sideways to the end of the 22ft line, backing up with energy and effort, pushing the ball, everything!! Prince was really amazing! 

I am really excited about using Point to point and the Bowtie pattern to cause Prince to want to canter more while I am riding and also to get our Simple lead changes. Plus it is something new that we can do in our riding ring and with our limited space. 


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Prince: Trail riding!

Sept 7 2010

Today my mom and I went on a trail ride. We rode Prince and Knightly and they did very well. To prepare Prince and I did some Stick to me, sideways, jumping, and some other things and then we left. Prince and I went down the steeper part of the hill

again. Then we went down our logging road and out the back gate. I got down to open the gate and Prince did so well. He stayed exactly where I told him to stay even when the gate was open and mom and Knightly had gone through. He just stood there waiting for me to let him know when he could go through. What a horse!!

We had a really nice ride. We road down the old railroad track and then took another trail. The old railroad track has gravel on it and so Prince wasn't totally comfortable walking on it. So his stride was shorter. After a while my back started hurting because I am not used to riding like that. I tried to ride on the edge as much as possible because it was softer but one time Prince sunk into the dirt and spooked. He jumped sideways but I stayed on and we carried on. I was a little surprised that Prince was uncomfortable walking on the gravel because we have lots of rocks on our property but it was a little different.

On the way home we did side passed from one side of the road to the other and back again. Prince did really well and even though they weren't perfect he still tried really hard. We decided to ride back home through town because it was shorter and I needed to get back to go to work. So we road right down main street. The horses did really well and even when vehicles were coming both directions they stayed calm. Prince and I took the lead and Mom and Knightly followed.

It was fun. I was hoping to do some cantering but Prince wasn't comfortable enough so I didn't push it. We did do some trotting and that was nice. Hopefully we can go out again soon :)


Friday, September 10, 2010

Prince: The importance of the Porcupine game...

Sept 6 2010

Have you ever stopped to think about just how much we do with our horses is a porcupine game? I have thought about this a little bit before but not until recently have I really stopped and thought about if I am winning ALL of those porcupine games.

It takes a lot of focus and brain power to pay attention to whether or not you are winning each game you play with your horses, no matter how big or how small. But it is worth it. As I was playing with Prince today I really tried to pay attention and make sure I was winning each game, especially the porcupine game as it is one that can always be improved on more!! 

Prince did pretty good over all but the biggest issue was in our change of directions. They have always been one of our harder tasks to do so when I asked Prince to change direction and he ran through the porcupine game I switched to the Backward "S" pattern and we did that until he was following the feel and putting slack in the rope. Then we went back to our circles and Change of direction and things were much better. We did three or four changes of direction at the trot and Prince kept the belly of the rope on the ground the whole time. 

We also did Figure eights. They were very good and Prince was so connected! Then we did Stick to me. Everything was going fine. We were getting some nice walk-canter, trot-canter, canter-halt etc transitions too but then something on my saddle caught on the fence. At first Prince stayed calm but I didn't see what happened and I wasn't able to catch it soon enough and help Prince and so Prince started pulling, bucking, jumping with all four feet in the air etc, he pulled the fence out and over about 3ft and finally what ever was caught came loose and he was able to get away. He immediately turned and face me. He didn't seem to shaken up by it and so my mom and I fixed the fence and carried on. Prince was however a little unsure about going to close to the fence again. 

After I knew Prince was okay, and I was okay, I got on and rode. We did some Follow the rail at the trot with my arms folded. I hardly even had to correct Prince! It was fun. Then we did some canter transitions. Prince would canter at a phase 1/2 almost all the time! I was impressed! He is so willing to try. We did have some issues with cantering to the left. He seems to be having more trouble with that these days. He would counter canter a lot... not the most comfortable thing to ride!! So we played with that and just did lots of transitions until he was able to canter on the left lead. Then we stopped.

We also did some other small things like sideways and such and then we rode down the hill. This time I picked the steeper part that is farther over from the riding ring. It was so much fun! We rode straight down and Prince was perfect! We had to stop a couple times because I had to move a branch or something and Prince would stop nicely and softly and then go again when I was ready. Then when we got to the bottom of the hill we cantered almost all the way into the corral and trotted through the really deep dirt/manure part that is hard to walk through let along canter. It was so much fun!!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Twosox: Freestyle after a long break!!

Sept 6 2010

Twosox and I had a good but interesting play time. I realized just how broken our porcupine game really is!! Twosox's porcupine game is almost nonexistent!! So we had Backwards "S" to help with that. It took a long time because Twosox was resisting it a lot but he figured it out. 
At first we played with a simple squeeze game between me and the pedestal in the corral. Twosox would go through calmly and then just as he was out of it he ran forward... trying to get away. I think it was dominance. It didn't look like fear. He did is many times but eventually he stopped and started getting more connected. 

Then we did the Backwards "S". In the corral it was kind of hard but I wanted to get Twosox a little bit lighter before I saddled him. After Twosox started following the feel a little bit better I stopped and I saddled him. Then we went up to the riding ring. 

Once we were up there Twosox seemed like a totally different horse! He was so much lighter, and a lot more respectful. We did Figure eights, played with our send on the circle at a phase 1 (not using your stick at all) and having Twosox trot 8 laps with out breaking gait (another thing that was done at the clinic). Twosox didn't quite make it but it was fun and something we can play with.

Then we did some jumping, sideways and other little things and then I rode! I haven't ridden Twosox since the early summer so I wasn't sure what to expect. But Twosox was so good. We did Lateral Flexions... a little bit differently then normal. One thing that Ms. Anderson talked about at the clinic was that when you ask for a Lateral Flexion you want your horses poll level or slightly higher than their withers and the tip of their ears level with each other.

Basically it all has to do with the fact that when they are in any other position (i.e. when they have there head on an extreme angle and their ears not level) they put all their weight on their front end, and also there withers drop between their shoulder blades or something like that and over time it can hurt them. But if you do it properly it will help them. 

So that took a while Twosox was doing it the wrong way so we slowly played with it and he is getting it. Then we did Follow the rail. We mainly stayed at the walk but we did trotted some. Twosox was so relaxed and connected. Then we did some Follow the rail at the walk with my arms folded. I only had to make three corrections to the right and 2 to the left!! I was pretty happy with that!!

Then we played with Indirect Rein with out using my reins. So with my body and carrot stick. Twosox caught on so quickly and by the end he was responding with just my body!! It then started raining. So we went over and went sideways over to the side to be under the tree. The really fun part is next... we rode down the hill!!! 

I was so proud of Twosox. That was the first time I have ridden down the hill on Twosox and he did a beautiful job! We pretty much went straight down and then we confidently walked into the corral and over to the gate where I got off. I was on a short but casual rein and hardly needed to direct Twosox at all! It was a perfect ending to a really good ride!!

I am hoping to ride Twosox a lot more and really develop his Freestyle. It should be a lot of fun!!


Ruffian: It must have been interesting!

Sept 6 2010

Wow! What a day! I played with all three horses and rode Twosox and Prince. I started out with playing with Ruffian though. We had a lot of fun and he only tried leaving once while we were doing sideways but he didn't get away. One thing that Ms. Anderson talked about at the clinic when one of the participants horses tried the exact same thing as Ruffian does. She said that instead of just trying to hang on and all bump the rope and for some reason it works! I tried that and Ruffian stopped and turn around and faced me. It was pretty neat. 

We did quite a bit. One new thing that we did was Backwards "S". Some thing that was done at the clinic and I was thinking about even before the clinic. It is such an amazing task! It helps with getting the horses ribs over, "shaping" the horse, getting the porcupine lighter, and also it helps with indirect rein. Amazing!! 

Ruffian caught on really quickly and pretty soon it was following the feel but not lagging. It did take a while though but once he got it he was so much lighter!! Then we did circles, Figure eights, sideways and jumping. Ruffian did really, really well. It was only on the sideways that he tried getting away but like I said earlier I just bumped the rope a couple times and he turned and faced me. 

Then we played at Liberty a little bit. We did some Stick to me, sideways and Touch it. Then I played with and rode Twosox!! 


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

Written September 4 2010

Well... it has been a interesting week. I have learned a lot about myself and so much more! Here is kind of a overview of my week...

I am not a beginnings person. You never know what is going to happen, they are uncertain, different, and so much more! I like middles and ends though. One major realization this week was that I had was that I was pushing myself to get out with the horses as much as possible, and play with all of them a lot, because I was basically worried that I would loose my passion for horses (which is not something I can really see me loosing any time soon, even if I didn't play so much). I would feel really bad if I didn't get out and play also.

So for me to get out with the horses is the hardest part. Once I am out and have started playing though I am fine and love every minute of it. So getting myself out to play is one of the hardest parts of my horsemanship journey. I just figured that that was the reason that I didn't really feel like going out. But I took some time to think about it and talk to my Mom and Dad and while we were talking about it it struck me the real reason. So in not wanting to go to one extreme I went to the other end.

I see this pattern in so many other areas of my life as well, at work. I am nervous going to work but as soon as I am there and have started working I am fine. I like working in the dining room much better because there is a lot more consistency and it is a little less rushed. I know where to be, when to be and most of the time what to do when I get there. Yes I have to answer a lot of phones but that is okay. So beginnings are hard for me.

This week was super hot also (40 Celsius, 104 Fahrenheit). So I decided to take it easy on the horses this week. It was nice to have some time off but I am really ready to get back out. I just hope and pray that this feeling lasts :) I would absolutely love to feel motivated to get out each morning and play and ride. Maybe it will come with time :) This week has been busy, running around every where, I got my first pay check... which is going for a Ron Pyne lesson at the end of October, my birthday is coming up in about a week so I had to decided what I wanted (that was hard!!) and then today was day 1 of a 2 day Level 2/3 clinic with Fawn Anderson that was about an hour from here.

Most of the stuff Prince and I can do but there were a couple things that confirmed that I was heading in the right direction and some things that I hadn't thought of doing. So I am even more excited to get out on Monday!! God is good! He is providing the inspiration for me!!

One thing that Ms. Anderson talked about today was the power of having goals and plans. Something that I sort of have but they are not clear enough. So I shall be sitting down and figuring out exactly what my goals are... well I know what my goal is but I have to figure out the steps to get there, something I have been trying to figure out for a while now.

So all in all it has been a good week. I trimmed Prince on Thursday and I learned something else too! Not about trimming though, I tend to side more on the stick side. I think I am fairly centered but there are times it still comes through. Not is huge ways but just in little tiny ways. One is when I am trimming. I don't get direct line but something, especially when it is very hot it can be harder for me to be as light as possible but as firm as necessary. I don't have as much patience as I could. Before I was trimming Prince I decided that if he pulled his foot away I would either let it go or I would hang on until he stopped pulling then put it down, rub it and then pick it back up again and then continue on. So I did that and Prince was amazing! Yes there were times when he pulled him foot away and such but I would just rub it and pick it back up again. I didn't let Prince push my buttons. To make a long story short it was by far the best trim we have ever done.

How will that apply to the other areas of my horsemanship? Well it will still take a while to figure it all out but I think I need to learn that when things don't go quite right, it is okay. Reward the slightest try, start again and help the horse through it. Most of the like it is more likely that they just don't understand what I want. Help them figure it out and be willing to let it look a little messy at first. But at the same time don't release on a brace, be as light as possible but as firm as necessary, and all those other principles! :)

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend and I shall, Lord willing, be posting quite a bit this week about our play times. Also stay tuned for a post about my goals and how I plan to get there!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Prince: Lots of things!!

August 30 2010

Prince and I had a wonderful time together today. It was so much fun! We didn't play long Online because we also played at Liberty but here is some of what we did...

Circles. Prince cantered 6 circles to the right with RHYTHM, RELAXATION AND CONNECTION and 7 to the left!!! I couldn't believe it!! It was amazing. Prince was so determined and he knew exactly what his responsibility was! Figure eights at the trot was next. I was in neutral the whole time and Prince trotted around so nicely. The belly of the rope was on the ground almost the whole time too!!

Liberty was next. Prince totally amazed me with our Liberty session. I couldn't believe how connected he was to me! We did circles which where the biggest thing. Prince walked one 12ft circle. I wasn't sure if he would leave once he came around my shoulder because he could have, we were in the middle of the one end of the riding ring so he very easily could have left but he came around and once he was in front of me I brought him in. I was shocked to say the least!!

We also did some sideways and stick to me. Then we went over to the pedestal and I stood on it and sent Prince over to a single barrel that was in between the fence and the planted tire, it was about 25ft away from where I was. The first time he jumped it but didn't put a whole lot of effort into it so I asked him to jump it again and he trotted up to it, jumped it and then I asked him to disengage, wait and then come to me. All while I was standing on the pedestal. It was so cool!

Then we rode. We did Follow the rail, transitions, Figure eights, Sideways, Point to point and lots more. Prince did well for the most part. We had a little bit of trouble still at going into the canter but it will come. After I thought about it some I think I figured out where I went wrong. My phases were to quick and so that was rushing Prince into the canter instead of letting him think his way into it. So that is one thing that I will try next time for sure. It was kind of a BFO in a way. I should have known it but sometimes you forget the most important things :)

Prince did much better today about not being so impulsive after we came out of the canter. So that was really nice. He was able to trot nice and relaxed with out speeding up a whole lot, when he did I would just turn him in a circle and keep going and that really helped.