Sunday, October 31, 2010

Prince: Trimming.

Oct 28 2010

Today I just trimmed Prince. It was rainy and windy so it was a good day to trim. He did really well and I was so pleased with how well he stood. I think he was the best he has ever been! It was kind of nice to just take it easy and not have such a big session. I think both Prince and I enjoyed it!


Ruffian: Sometimes it just hits you!

Oct 28 2010

Well today Ruffian and I had an interesting play time! The main thing we played with was hindquarter disengagements! Now this is where it kind of hit me... I should have done this with Ruffian before right? Yes we have done it here and there but we have never really focused on getting a good yield (and Mr. Parelli says that a yield is with less than four ounces of pressure, anything more is not a yield). So we don't quite have it that good yet but we are off to a good start. 

So basically what I was faced with was that Ruffian does not yield his hindquarters, he would move.... ever so slowly if I asked and waited for a long time. But he wasn't responding with respect. I guess where we went kind of off was that for so long I was just focusing on "playing" with Ruffian, letting him get some energy out, and then maybe playing with a new pattern or something. Don't get me wrong, that is really good and all but is that is the only thing you do, you won't really get anywhere and your horse will probably get to a point where when you ask him to do something, he won't because he doesn't see you as a leader, just a playmate. 

Needless to say Ruffian and I had a good conversation about that and Ruffian caught on pretty quickly about what I wanted, even though he wasn't sure he was happy about do it. But pretty soon it was fine with it. So we left it where Ruffian was responding at a phase one and even though there wasn't a whole lot of speed he was still responding and without resistance. 

It was a good lesson for me to learn and one I shall not forget and I think that Ruffian and I will go a lot farther because of it also :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Prince: New places.

Oct 27 2010

Our playgroup was meeting today and everyone was invited to bring their own horses so Prince and I along with our friend and one of her horses loaded up and headed out. Prince, who we normally load first and on the left side had to be loaded second and on the right side. I didn't think he would have a problem with it though, but not make or teach assumptions. I didn't assume that he would be okay and I didn't assume that he wouldn't. I just took it one step at a time. As it happened Prince loaded up perfectly fine the first time and couldn't have been happier. 

Once we got to our destination and unloaded the horses I let Prince get used to his new surroundings. We found the grass pretty quickly. My two younger brothers also came along with us. It was really nice having them a long. My youngest brother soon found the big tire swing... Prince spooked when he saw M2 on the swing. So we did some sideways and squeezes back and forth until Prince got used to it. It was really windy so that didn't help matters much but it was a good challenge!

After saddled up we headed over to the arena. We did Figure eights at the trot/canter which went really well. At first Prince was pulling a little bit around the ends but pretty soon he connected to me and we got some nice, soft, relaxed Figure eights. 

I was really proud of how well Prince did with our circles! Right from the start when I asked Prince to canter he put the slack in the rope and did really well. This is why part of me thinks that the reason he was pulling was just because he had felt that pressure there for so long that he had become desensitized to it and he didn't think it meant anything. So know that I was able to teach him that it does mean something Prince is responding really well. 

Once I felt that Prince was ready to ride I got on. We started with Follow the rail but Prince was a little to impulsive for that. If I had of stayed with it long enough he probably would have relaxed but I knew that doing circles would be more effective. We stayed at the walk and it worked really well. Prince relaxed and started listening to me more and more. 

Prince spooked about 5 times through out the whole time I was riding him but fortunately I was able to ride them all successfully. After we finished the circles we went back to Follow the rail and Prince was much more relaxed. We still had to play with staying close to the rail because Prince didn't want to go to close to it. I think it was because of the trees and the high winds. But no matter what the reason was we kept with it and at the end Prince was able to walk, trot and canter close to the rail. We did lots of transitions too. At first Prince wasn't responding to my seat as well as he normally does but I knew what my end goal was and so we kept with it and by the end he was very in tune with me and we were able to do walk, trot, canter, back up transitions all with out my reins. 

We also played this little game where we went a long the rail and I touched the top of every fence post. Just to make sure that we were following it close enough ;) Prince did well with that and there was only a couple times when he was a little far away but he was still much better than what it was like in the beginning! 

Once I felt Prince was relaxed and confident enough we tried the canter. At first to the right Prince had a little of trouble getting into the canter but after a couple transitions he got it and he was able to pick up the right lead no problem. We cantered quite a ways too!! Going to the left Prince was amazing I couldn't not believe how easily he picked up the canter and the left lead! We cantered just under half of the arena before I brought him down to a stop. It was an amazing feeling! 

We ended with opening and closing the gate to go into the round corral were we finished. This gate was quite a bit different from the ones we have been practicing on so it added an extra challenge but a gate is a gate and once Prince figured out what we were doing, which took a matter of a couple seconds we were able to work together and get the job done. I think both Prince and I have found the love for this task!! I was thinking about it the other day and I think it is because he puts a purpose to so many things! Plus it is just plain fun! 

Another thing Prince and I have been playing with is not letting Prince eat grass unless I give him permission. "Don't make or let, but cause and allow" Prince has gotten really good. At first it would just for a short time but we have been getting the time when he isn't eating longer and longer and today he did so well. I can tell that it has made a huge difference in a lot of other areas of our relationship also. Because Prince isn't taking over and just eating when ever he wants he is waiting for my permission. It is one of those little things that make a big difference!
Loading up to go home was a bit more challenging because the wind had really picked up and just as Prince had gone in the trailer nicely and I was just about to put the bar up behind him a huge gust of wind came and worried him a little so he backed out. I didn't mind though but it just took a little extra time. After some approach and retreat Prince was in the trailer and standing well. Needless to say I was glad when we got them back safe and sound. That wind was scary. 

I was really proud of Prince and how well he did over the whole day. Being in a new place, with new horses and having it be such an interesting day weather wise. He did really well! 


Prince: 45ft line play and trail rides!

Oct 26 2010

Today Prince and I had a lot of fun playing in the fields on the 45ft line and then we went for a trail ride!

I was so proud of Prince and how well he did! He was incredible! We did circles at the canter and Prince kept the rhythm, relaxation and connection!! He didn't miss any leads either! We did LOTS of cantering. This is really one of the first times that Prince and I have had the chance to play on the 45ft line and really be able to play on it. The field was HUGE and so we did traveling circles, changes of directions, sideways, yo-yo's, and lots of other things. Prince listened really well.

I guess it proves that prior and proper preparation prevents poor performance! Prince and I have been preparing for this moment by playing on the 22ft line with quality so when we had the chance to play on the 45ft line it paid off!!

There were theses two really tall mounds of dirt with grass on them that Prince and I had a lot of fun with. The one was big enough to send Prince over lengthwise so we played with that at the trot then we did a change of direction and went the other way over it. Both Prince and I had so much fun!

After that we went into the bush and followed the trail back home. On the way home we played with one line zone 5 driving. We kept it simple and just did basic walk-halt-back up transitions. Prince did well and was really relaxed. 

Then we headed back home and saddled up, played in the arena a little bit and then mounted up, did a little bit of Follow the rail, transitions, sideways and then we were off!! My friend and her horse led on the way out and we did walk-trot-walk transitions. Prince did really well. The whole time I was testing to see how Prince responded to me and how light I could be, while still being effective. On the way back home we went through the bush. Which was fun because I got to play with our turning and see how in tune Prince was to me. We were zig-zagging  everywhere, around trees, over logs, etc. The whole time I hardly had to use my reins at all! Prince was so light!

On the way back to the arena, there is a small hill Prince and I cantered up that! I think it was the most relaxed, comfortable canter Prince has ever offered! Plus it was cantering properly so that helped :) 

One of the biggest things that I got out the lesson on Saturday and has made the biggest difference in our riding was the phases. About lifting your rein straight up, then going eyes, belly button, leg, then use your rein if you need too. That simple thing that made the absolute biggest difference in our riding. I am not sure if it is that Prince getting lighter or just that since I am being lighter and noticing how light he is. Which ever one it is though it is incredible the difference!

On the way back to the pasture where Prince is living we played with the stick to me like we did at the lesson, where your horse is behind you and is supposed to keep the same amount of slack in the rope no matter what you do, whether it is running, stopping, backing up etc. Prince is getting better each time but what I have been noticing is that if Prince is really light at going forward when I go forward he is not as good at stopping when I stop and visa versa. It is really interesting! So that is one thing we have been playing with and it is getting better each time.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Prince: Highs and Lows

Oct 25 2010

So this was Prince's and my first play session since the clinic and it had it's high points and low points but we learned a lot! 
Our circles were really amazing! Prince connected to me right away and had rhythm, relaxation and connection for almost a full circle!! It was really cool! We then went and played with our hindquarter and forequarter yields. Prince remembered really well and we got those three pivots of hindquarter yield and it was at a phase one. Prince put a lot of effort and we got the lightness, speed and distance.

Our challenge was in our sideways. I had a pretty good idea of what Prince was going to be like because of how he was on Saturday. The major thing that I learned was that I think Prince was been winning the sideways game in really subtle ways i.e. now completely yielding his hindquarters while going sideways. So that was a big challenge but we ended with Prince going about 10ft or so sideways with lightness and a little bit of speed. So that was a goo place to end. 

We then did traveling circles at the canter back up to the other end of the arena. Prince was connected the whole way! He did break gait a couple times but he tried really hard so I rewarded that. 

Our riding again had it's highs and lows. We started out with Follow the rail but Prince was a little bit impulsive so we switched to circles. WOW! Prince was fantastic! He was so good at the walk that we took it up to the trot and Prince was so light! The last couple circles I didn't have to use my reins to correct him and he was relaxed!! It was such a cool feeling!! 

Up next I decided to try some cantering in the round corral. Mr. Pyne had suggested that because on a circle it is harder for them to pick up the wrong leads. So I gave it a try. To the right Prince did really well and we got some really nice cantering but to the left Prince still had a really hard time. I had to get off a couple times and see if I could help him on the ground. Then once he was getting it correct there I mounted back up. It took a while but eventually Prince cantered to the left on the left lead and wasn't countering cantering, cross-firing or anything. He was cantering properly!! 

One thing that we have been having a lot of fun with is opening and closing gates! At home we don't have any gates that you can open or close while riding so Prince and I have been taking advantage of that while we are here. Prince has caught on really quickly and it is getting easier and easier every time. It is a lot of fun!!

One of the things I find the hardest is going back to neutral or a phase one when Prince is doing the right thing. I am nagging just a very little bit, even if it is just my having my hand up, that is not a phase 1, or if I have my leg on, that is not a phase 1 either. A phase 1 is your focus that is a phase 1. So I have to pay close attention to when I am asking Prince anything that I am going back to a phase one. Even if he goes right back to what he was doing before I still have to release. It has been challenging but now that I am aware of it I can watch out for when I am not doing it. 

Never ending self improvement!!


After the lesson...

After you learn something, are told new information, or discover something, you are left with a choice... How are you going to apply it to your life, horsemanship journey, etc? Are you going to acknowledge that it is probably helpful and would work but you never try it? Are you going to totally ignore it or are you going to try it and take the time and give it a chance to work, no matter how hard or difficult it may be or seem? 

After the lesson on Saturday I was faced with that choice. Was I going to apply what I learned, give it my all, be willing to make mistakes along the way and trust that Mr. Pyne knows what he is talking about? Or was I going to leave it all behind and just continue on doing what I am doing and never try? 

I decided to give it my all. No matter how messy it got, no matter how many mistakes I make, no matter what people think or say I am going to try. For the sake of my horses and our relationship I will do it.

People may think what they will but I am going to trust the process and put into action what I learned. Being progressive isn't always nice and easy, mistakes will be made a long the way but if I learn from those mistakes, pick myself back up again and try again then I will learn a lot more from that then staying in my comfort zone, where I know we can have mediocre results. I want to achieve excellence! It will take my whole lifetime but that is where I am heading and you don't gain excellence with horses by staying in your comfort zone. 

So expect a lot, except a little and reward often! 


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lesson Day Review

Oct 23 2010

Today was the lesson day with the 3* Parelli Instructor. The day started out cloudy but around lunch time the sun came out and it was beautiful. There wasn't even any wind! It was perfect!

Mom and I got there early because I wanted to spend some time getting Prince ready. We went into the barn. First though we had to get through the door. I don't think Prince has ever been in a barn, with stalls and etc in the whole four years that I have had him. I decided to go through the small door, just to challenge us a bit. After a little bit of approach and retreat Prince was inside and I decided to let him explore it himself. So off he went. Of course I was close by to make sure he didn't eat anything he wasn't supposed too. After he had finished looking around he came back over to me and stood beside me. So we then went over and I brushed him. He has lost weight and is looking really good!! 

We then let him into of the the stalls and gave him some hay. Then brushed his mane and tail and that was done. Since we still had a long time I decided to hop on Prince while he ate. He didn't seem to mind. Once it got closer to the time the lesson was supposed to be starting and people were arriving I haltered Prince and we headed out. There was snow on the ground because it snowed last night so that made everything wet but once the sun came out it all melted... thankfully ;) I am not ready for snow right yet. 

The lesson was amazing and and I learned quite a bit. Most of it was little things and mainly porcupine games. We started with getting our hindquarter yields lighter and with more speed and distance. I was challenged to three complete 360 turns at a fast pace, and I mean it was fast! I thought ours were fast before but speed has been redefined for me ;) Prince and I got it in the end even though it could have been a bit better but I was happy with it. One thing Mr. Pyne (the instructor) was that we should be "Always pleased but never satisfied" (He was quoting Mr. Parelli). 
Then we had some time to play with other porcupine games and getting them more light, with more speed and also distance. Prince and I did forequarter yields, leading by the chin, backing up by the tail, and a few other things. 

Up next was porcupine sideways at a trot. This one I think was the hardest for Prince and myself of all the things we did in the lesson. Mr. Pyne said that for Prince he should be on a 90 degree angle. It really showed me how much help our sideways needs. But I think I already knew that in a small way. We were able to get it a little bit but I am definitely going to be focusing on that!! 

Then we did Stick to me with our horses behind us and the goal was to have the horse keep the same distance away from us, keeping the same amount of rope in the ground, no matter what we did whether it was running fast, stopping, walking, or backing up. Prince did well when we were going forward but stopping when I stopped was a bit harder for him. So what I did was every time I stopped I would back him up to where he was supposed to have stopped and let him rest there. The last couple ones we did were really good and Prince kept the same distance really well. 

After that was circles! Prince and I did circles with a log. What Mr. Pyne pointed out was that the reason that Prince was leaving and taking all the slack out the the rope when I sent him was because I was putting to much pressure on him at the send. Interesting! Immediately once I didn't put so much pressure on at the send Prince kept the connection around and we got some really nice half circles at the canter over the log with connection.

Then we rode!! We started with a lot of mounting and dis-mounting. Then we would do a lateral flexion, turn that into a indirect rein, then went to a direct rein and then walked off, then bent to a stop and got off. We did that at the walk, trot and some of us went into the canter. Prince and I did two at the canter and Prince did really well!!

Then we did the Bullseye pattern! We started out with me and Prince in the middle and Mr. Pyne demonstrating the circle, how to make corrections, the importance of going back to neutral, and other things. We did it over a log, which will eventually lead to jumping and keep it more interesting for the horse (and test us riders). Then once Mr. Pyne had demonstrated that and answered a couple questions it was my turn. We stayed at the walk for now just so that we could learn it. 

I was pretty happy with how well Prince did. I needed to correct him quite a few times at first but after a couple laps he started taking more of his responsibilities and staying on the circle. A couple times I didn't even have to use my reins. One thing that Mr. Pyne told me that really seemed to give me a new way of thinking about it was that he said that when ever I had to use my reins to make sure it was meaningful. So did Prince respond to it? Did he lean on it? Did he go right back to the direction he was going in before? It it mean something Prince? It got my wheels turning! 

After everyone had a turn we went back to the other end where all the auditors were and we had a little debrief over what we learned. The day seemed to go so fast! But it was totally worth it! Even if it was just for me to know that I am on the right track and didn't have any glaringly obvious bad habits or anything. I got some small, but extremely meaningful pointers and I am excited to see how Prince and I progress!! 

One major thing that I re-learned or was just re-established was the importance of always getting everything with more lightness, speed and distance!! And even when you think something is good, be always pleased but never satisfied!! Expect a lot, except a little and reward often!!

Another thing that somehow I didn't get the just how important it was, more so in our riding, is the power of going back to neutral. Let Prince make the mistake and then correct, then go back to neutral, or phase 1 again. Micromanaging can be as small as holding your rein 3 inches above your horses neck when he is doing what you want!!! I think that is one of the biggest small things that I got out of the lesson and already Prince has gotten better!!

Phases!! When you are riding... lift the rein straight up, eyes, belly button, leg, then use the rein. Be effective. Make sure it was meaningful.

Play assertive to ride soft! Basically the same as "Play strong to ride soft" but just worded a bit differently.

I know I learned a lot more but those were the major things. I think Prince and I are going to have a lot of fun with the Bullseye pattern. There are so many things you can do with it and having good, solid circles are so important!!!

Here is a short video with some pictures from the clinic and some video footage from a couple days before it. Of course that footage was taken before the clinic and so there are some things that I would definitely change in myself but anyway... it shows where we were at that time...


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Prince: Preparing...

Oct 22 2010

Today my goal was to prepare Prince for tomorrow, which is the lesson day. We had an amazing playtime and ride which was really nice! We started out in the field and played with our circles. Today I was prepared with a plan and things went really well. Even though Prince started out pulling and wasn't connected we ended with him cantering almost 3/4 of a circle each direction, on the correct leads, and he was connected. It was really cool. The way I got there was by doing a change of direction every time he started pulling. This took a while because Prince wasn't responded to the pressure and was running right through the pressure, like he does at the canter. But eventually he started responded sooner and sooner and he got lighter and lighter. 

So because I was interrupting the pattern each time Prince learned that the pressure meant something and he learned not to just run through it. It took way less time today than it did yesterday and we got better results. Then we did traveling circles at the trot over to the arena. The coolest part was that Prince stayed 100% connected the whole time and the belly of the rope was on the ground the whole time. It was really, really amazing! 

Then I saddled up and we did Figure eights. These to where much better and Prince cantered around the right end and almost all the way around the left end also. He was much lighter and even though he still had some trouble he got it figured out much quicker. We also did some jumping, straddling the logs, sideways, and some other little things and then I mounted up.

We did the Weave again but this time at the walk because Prince was more impulsive and wanted to trot so even though it would have been nice to trot it I knew that we would have more success if we stayed at the walk because Prince wasn't quite as responsive as he was yesterday. He as responding but not as light so we kept it slow. "Slow and right beats fast and wrong". At one point Prince was going into the trot when I put pressure on with one leg (to ask him to turn) so we switched it up bit and I asked Prince to go sideways between the tires. That helped a lot and then we were able to go back to the normal way. 
Up next was cantering. Prince missed one lead to the right and one to the left but then he got them both the next time around and he was so relaxed! He came out of the canter and went into a nice, slow, calm trot. I was impressed!!  After that we did some trot-walk-backup transitions. Prince wasn't responding as well to my seat as I would have liked so we played with them until he relaxed and we got some really nice smooth transitions and I hardly had to use my reins.

We also played with our indirect rein without reins. Prince did really well and was more sure of what I wanted him to do. Then we finished with some Liberty!! 

We started out with some forequarter and hindquarter yields and then we did some yo-yo's, sideways and then circles. I didn't want to do a whole lot of circles because we haven't played in a round corral for a long time so I don't want Prince to think that the round pen is a place that we just do circles. I sent him off and asked him to trot two laps each direction. 

Then we played with changes of directions!! These were fun because I made it a game of tag. Prince was slow and not snappy with the changes so each time he changed direction I tagged behind him, in zone 5, just motivate him to get out of there. After doing that twice our changes of directions completely transformed and we had really snappy, and happy changes of direction. All I had to do was turn, make eye contact and then back up a couple steps and Prince turned and went the other way, with effort! The last one he even cantered!! I couldn't believe the difference! We ended on that one. 

We then did something that I have always wanted to do! We walked all the way from the round corral, through the arena, across the field, through the barnyard and into the pasture where Prince is staying.... totally at Liberty!! I was so proud of Prince. I don't know why but that is something I have always wanted to do and we finally did it!! Prince stayed with me the whole time and even when he saw the ram that he doesn't like in the field next to where we were he looked that way but he didn't leave. 

I feel really ready for tomorrow and I think we are the best we have ever been, of course we can always be better but I think today's playtime and ride was about as good as we could have been today. So I am excited about tomorrow and actually I am not nervous! At least I am not right now ;) I am praying that I won't be nervous at all but we shall have to wait and see what tomorrow brings! 


Twosox: Confidence while jumping!

Oct 22 2010

This morning I played with Twosox. He did well and I could see how some things have progressed nicely since our last couple sessions. 
We had to play a bit with our hindquarter yields. Twosox seemed to be having a hard time with it. But after a bit we got that figured out and then we played with our send on the circle. Twosox would go but it was kind of sluggish. So I went up my phases but then he got worried and wouldn't go forward so we kept up with it until he was able to do what I said but not be afraid. Once we got that going well then we just did a couple circles in each direction. Twosox was really connected with was nice to see. He was relaxed and looking where he was going also. 

Then we went over to the barrels, which were away from the fence. I decided to try asking Twosox to circle around and jump them each time. I knew this might be a little bit challenging for him but I was confident that it wouldn't be to hard. Twosox actually did better than I expected and even though he tried going around the barrels a couple times once he figured out what I wanted he jumped the barrels each time, and confidently. He wasn't worried as he came up to he, he maintained direction and gait and he looked where he was going and calmly jumped over the barrels. It was really amazing! Such a change from a couple sessions ago when he wasn't confident at all!! 

We then ended on the pedestal and just hanging out for a bit. It was a good session and it is nice to see Twosox progressing. Something that I wasn't sure if we were doing or not :)


Prince: Circles, Figure eights and more...

Oct 21 2010 

Prince and I had an interesting playtime but an amazing ride today. I still haven't quite figured out how that happened but anyways it was how it happened. We started out with Backwards "S" and then we did circles! Prince did well at the trot so we took it up to the canter but he totally lost all connection and pulled a lot. Another "Oh boy" moment! It took a while but finally he started putting some slack in the rope. I figured out that instead of just letting him canter around and pull like that I have to interrupt the pattern. I think what has happened is that Prince has become dull to that pressure on the halter while he is cantering. It has been like that for so long that it doesn't mean anything to him. 

So that is why interrupting the pattern worked I think. Because it shows him that the pressure does mean something. And that is why back in the summer when we got our Falling Leaf really good that made a huge difference in our circles, because Prince learned to respond to the pressure. 

After lunch I saddled up and we then met our next challenge for the day. Our Figure eights. It was our second day of the doing then at the canter but Prince seemed to have a lot more trouble doing them today. He had a really hard time cantering and if he was cantering he was pulling around the ends. So we had to play with that for a while. We ended when Prince was trotting around the ends and cantering through the middle (on the correct leads) and he wasn't pulling on the ends. Even though it wasn't as good as yesterday's it was the best it had been today so we left it there. 

Our ride on the other hand was really cool. We started out with the Weave at the trot. Prince was so responsive. On the last complete Weave we did I didn't have to use my carrot stick except for a little bit near the end! It was amazing to say the least and I couldn't get over how light Prince was at the trot! 

Then we did Follow the rail. Doing the corners game yesterday really helped. Prince's follow the rail was a lot better and he was going deep into the corners and he was going straight! Once that was going well I decided to try some cantering. I was really, really happy with how Prince did. He surprised me with how well he did!! We started out to the right because that is our easier direction. Prince picked up the canter really easily and cantered about half of the arena, which is about 100ft and then I brought him down into the trot and we stopped in the corner. Prince picked up the correct lead no problem and put a lot of effort into it. We cantered one more time to the right and Prince picked up the canter even nicer and cantered for longer. The transitions out of the canter was beautiful and very smooth. 

To the left the first time he didn't get the correct lead but the next time he got it and it was so smooth!! Prince hasn't cantered that well to the left... in well a long time! He really likes the straight, long lines!! We then did some jumping. Prince didn't want to jump at first but in the end we got two good jumps and that was where we finished. It was fun!!! We ended by riding through the field that is between the arena and were Prince is staying. It was so much fun to ride on a casual rein and totally trust Prince to uphold his responsibilities!!  

So I have lots to think about but I think I am on to something in regards to our circles. It seems to make sense but we shall see how it goes tomorrow!

Ruffian: Playing in the field

Oct 21 2010

Ruffian and I played in the field this morning before mom and I went out to see Prince. We had a lot of fun and Ruffian was really playful, which made it even more fun :)
We did Traveling circles up and down the hills and all over. That really kept Ruffian interested and watching where he was going. He kept slack in the rope and was connected and confident. After that we played with our sends. Ruffian would go but it was kind of slow. Once Ruffian figured out what to do he would take off at a canter at a phase 1! So we played with canter transitions and such on the circle for a bit. Ruffian had so much energy.

It is always interesting playing with Ruffian because you never quite know what he will be like that day. Whether he will be more introverted and you have to build his confidence so he will want to play and move or whether he is really extroverted and you have to play with him and use his energy but also help him be able to stand still. It is fun!

After a while Ruffian was in a learning frame of mind so I decided to review backing up by the tail. We hadn't done that for a while so I wasn't sure how it was going to go but he remembered it really well and did a great job. There was a little hill that we ended up backing up and Ruffian stayed straight the whole way! It was really neat.

When I let Ruffian go he stayed with me and so we went over to the other horses. Then I went over and spent a little bit of time with Twosox. Just rubbing him and hanging out and then Mom and I went back home and headed out to see Prince!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Prince: Testing 1...2...3...

Oct 20 2010

Today my precious horse Prince left for two weeks. He is about 20 minutes away from here and I shall be going out to see him almost everyday to play and ride. He loaded into the trailer really well and off we went! My main focus for at least the next few days is getting everything done with relaxation! 
So when we arrived I let Prince graze for a couple minutes and then we headed over to the arena. We started with Backwards "S" Prince was light and responsive so we started playing around with getting him to shape his body more. At first I wasn't even sure what to look for exactly so we just played with it until I started to figure out what it looked like when Prince moved his ribs over and then shaped his body around me. Once he figured it out it went really well and he started to get it really good. 

Today was more of a testing day. I tested different things just to see where they were at and how I would need to improve them over the next couple days and weeks. This over all went really well. Prince even connected a little bit at the canter while he was circling. Though we didn't do a whole lot of circles at the canter. We did Traveling circles at the trot, Falling Leaf and the Weave. I kept to  my plan of aiming to get everything with relaxation. Prince was amazing!!

We even got to do some Figure eights at the canter!! Prince was fabulous! My other goal in a way is to do as many patterns as I can, especially the ones that I can't do here at home. But all the while maintaining the relationship and having fun! 

I didn't ask Prince to canter when we were riding. I wanted to get that better Online before we go there. I have absolutely no idea how he is going to do so it will be interesting. So today we just stayed with some basic things. We did Follow the rail at the trot, stopping at each corner, then we played with our indirect and direct rein. 

Since they have kind of...well... fallen apart (100% my fault there) we had to play with each one for a while. Well I guess they haven't really fallen apart, they just aren't where they need to be, where they were before. We started with the indirect rein with out using my reins. Prince did well with that but had a harder time with the pivoting on his hindquarters to get the forequarter yield. Then I figured it out! I was looking to far over my shoulder, more like I was asking for sideways, so I changed my focus so that I wasn't looking quite so far and right after I did that Prince stopped taking a step or two sideways before pivoting. How interesting! 

When we ended Prince was so light and responsive that I didn't even need to use my leg. Just used my body. It was really amazing. Prince has never been that light before! 

I am looking forward to the next few weeks! As long as it doesn't snow I think everything should be good ;) 


Prince: Oh Boy!

Oct 19 2010

Prince and I had an interesting Online session today. I realize one of the things that I should have done better but of course that was after finished playing.

We started out in the field playing on the 45ft line. We played with a log that my mom and little brothers had rolled into the field. Prince wasn't to sure about it so we did Falling Leaf towards it and then when he couldn't go between myself and the log I backed up a step and then we did simple squeeze games between me and the log until Prince could go up and touch it. After that we played a little bit more around it and Prince was then fine so I sent him off on the circle and we did some circles with the log being there, sometimes in his way and other times I asked him to go around it on the far side or come between me and it. Prince jumped it a couple times and then we finished.

Then I wanted to do circles at the canter. We hadn't had the chance to do these on the 45ft line for two play sessions so I wasn't sure what expect. I didn't however expect Prince to had quite as hard of a time as he did. He cantered around 30 laps before he put any slack in the line. But once he did I brought him in and gave him a rest.

We then went back to the riding ring and I was going to saddle Prince and ride but I wanted to play a little bit more with our circles but on the 22ft line instead. This is where it got interesting. I decided to try just sending Prince off on the circle at the canter and waiting until he decided to come off that pressure and put some slack in the rope. It was one thing that I hadn't tried yet so I thought it would be worth a try.

Well it took a lot time.... 95 circles to be exact. Before Prince put slack in the line, it wasn't on the ground but it was slack so I rewarded that. Around 90 circles he started blowing so I knew that something was happening but it was still a long time. I wish I could get to the bottom of this! Just when I think I have it figured out it seems fall apart. But I have hope... I am taking Prince to a friends farm for around two weeks starting Wednesday and she has lots of space, a big arena and a round corral. Plus I am participating in a lesson day with a three star instructor so that in one thing on my list of things I need help with :)


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ruffian: Confidence!

Oct 18 2010
Ruffian was so confident today when we played! It was so nice. One of the many things that I have learned over the past couple months is to never take your horses confidence for granted, or your confidence for that matter! It is so easy to loose and takes time and effort to get back!

We started out with taking a nap together. Ruffian decided to lay down in the riding ring, in a nice warm, sunny spot I might add, and he made it look so comfortable and warm that I joined him. Then once he got up we played. We did Figure eights at a trot, he was so relaxed! 

Then we did the Weave. Ruffian was still not sure he wanted to wake up so we played with it but even though he was sleepy it wasn't an excuse to be non-responsive. So when we ended he was responded really well and in tune with me. We also played with the ball a bit. I think Ruffian is starting to like it ;) 

It was just so nice to see Ruffian confident again and having fun! We have had an interesting couple of months!


Prince: Hmmmm.... Maybe a little bit better?

Oct 18 2010

Okay so today I remembered to warm up strong to ride soft. It seemed to help a little bit.
We did more circles. Prince cantered well to the right and tried really hard when going to the left but he still had trouble getting that left lead. Eventually he was able to get it for about 1/2 a circle then I brought him in. We also did Figure eights at the trot/canter. Prince cantered through the middle nicely.  

When I mounted up Prince and I did some Figure eights at the trot. Prince totally amazed me! He trotted them beautifully and was so light!! He responded to my body and focus well and even when I needed to use my reins he was very light and didn't brace. 

Then we did some walk/trot transitions a long the rail. The barrels just "happened" to be along the fence and so we jumped over them. There were a couple cool things (1) being that I was able to ride it really well and fluidly and (2) Prince was 100% relaxed and after he jumped it he kept on trotting at the same pace he was trotting at before he jumped it, which was a nice, slow sitting trot trot ;) We did it in both directions. Both were really amazing! 

My mom had set up a little "L" shaped lane with some poles and then had the barrels set up to go sideways over after she had backed Knightly through the lane. So after she was done I asked Prince to back through it and then we went sideways over the barrels. One thing that really jumped out at me today was how since I have been trying to get this whole cantering thing working I have neglected almost everything else, things like direct and indirect rein, sideways, and a lot of other things. Maybe a touch of direct lineness??

We did have some success cantering. The thing that made the biggest difference was that I wasn't waiting for Prince to truly cross his hind legs over before I asked for the canter. He still had more trouble going to the left but eventually he got one good canter to the left so we stopped there. 

I wanted to play with getting indirect rein with out using my reins so did that last. At first Prince was making assumptions and so I just stayed with it until he started trying something else. He figured it out pretty quickly and when we ended he was responding off of just my body. We still need to play around with him not moving his front feet, which he does a little, but we shall get it. 

So over all it was a good session. I walked away with lots to think about... which has been happening lately ;) 


Prince: The importance of playing strong...

Oct 16 2010
Prince and I had a good lesson about how prior and proper preparation prevents p-poor performance... or rather what happens when you don't prepare properly. 

After I had finished playing with Twosox,  Prince and I played. We had a great playtime but I didn't play strong enough for what I wanted to do while riding. I was on a bit of a time limit (my first mistake) and since I wanted to ride and play we had a shorter Online session, which went really well actually but it wasn't enough for what I was going to ask Prince to do Freestyle.

We started off with some Touch it. Prince would rather step on something than touch it so we played around with just touching it. It was fun, especially when we found some really small things. One time we went over to a barrel and I asked Prince to touch it, which he did. Then I asked him to jump it from a stand still and he did! I was really surprised! That was the first time Prince has jumped a single barrel, from a stand still and cleared it. It was really cool! We did some circles. Prince cantered on the correct leads right off from the start so we didn't do that long. Then we did some Figure eights and Prince was really connected.

Then I mounted up. I was hoping to have more success with our cantering than we did. Prince had a hard time picking up both leads and so we had to play with that quite a bit. I just couldn't figure out what was wrong. He seemed to be totally uncoordinated! I would like to say that we ended on a good not but that would be a lie. I decided to just end and go have a good cry before heading off to work ;)

The shimming pattern that I tried wasn't the right so next time I will have to try a different one again. Hopefully I can figure that out and maybe it will help with our riding.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Twosox: Being creative while still being particular!

Oct 16 2010

Twosox and I played in the riding ring this afternoon and it was very good. My goal was to be creative, very creative, while still being particular. 

So with that in mind we set off. We did Figure eights to start off with. At first Twosox maintained gait, which was good but he was loosing connection around the ends. So we continued with the pattern until he started putting more effort into coming around the ends and maintaining connection, while staying relaxed and maintaining gait. It was looking really nice and smooth when we stopped.

After that was the Weave. Which was interesting because we have had some issues with that recently with Twosox doing the Weave really well but missing the last tire. So today I felt prepared to try and solve the issue. I am still not really sure exactly what the issue is but I think that the main factor is that he gets a head of me a little bit at that point and so he misses that tire. I think. Still not 100% sure about it but it is the only thing that makes sense. 
Then we did some jumping a single barrel on the circle. Twosox was doing everything he could to avoid it. He gets worried when he comes up to the jump and I think it is because he thinks there will be pressure there. So we played with it and I tried a couple different strategies and finally found one that made a big difference. I had a small gap between the barrel and the fence so that Twosox could go through there if he wanted too, jump the barrel, or he could go between me and the barrel, which wasn't what I wanted.

What I did was after Twosox was gaining more confidence and he was trotting between the barrel and the fence I did a sort of traveling circle to and from the barrel. Every time Twosox jumped the barrel or went between it and the fence I would go away from it and then let Twosox circle a couple times and then walk back towards the barrel until it was in Twosox's path. He gained confidence really quickly and pretty soon every time Twosox came up to it he calmly jumped it and continued on his way. After he did that a couple times I brought him in and we finished there. 

So I think that over all it was one of our best play times that we have had in the riding ring in a long time. Twosox was asking lots of questions and I felt like I was a leader, being mentally and emotionally fit.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prince: Setting up for success

Oct 12 2010

Prince and I had a really good playtime and ride today. We started by playing in the field. We did traveling circles on the 22ft line on and down the hills, getting our yo-yo's lighter and quicker, sideways and some other things. Prince was really connected and we were even able to get some good cantering on the 22ft line! Then we switched to the 45f line and played with cantering on the circle. Prince did so well! He cantered 10 laps to the right and was connected 90% of the time but I was asking him to keep the connection on the one side. So we played with that for a while until he offered a little bit of connection and then I brought him in. 
Again I saw the importance of having a really good send. Our send to the right has gotten a lot better over the last couple sessions and so that was how Prince would canter 10 laps with no corrections. What surprised me even more was when I sent Prince out to the left, we got a snappy and happy send and then after about 1/4 of a lap, Prince found the rhythm, relaxation and connection and we cantered 1/2 a lap just like that. Of course I brought him in and we left it there. I was really, really happy with that!!!

Earlier when I sent Prince over to the 45ft line that was on the ground he went over and touched it with him nose and then picked it up in his teeth. So I decided to try teaching Prince to pick up ropes and hand them to me. We were able to get it to where he will pick up with his teeth and lift it up then I will take it. It isn't much but I figured it would be fun to try and I know that Prince likes to bite things, he will pick up his grain pan and carry it around, tossing it, etc. So it should be fun! We did it with both the 45ft line and the 22ft line. He caught on pretty quickly! 

We then went home. We played around with different ways to lead while we were walking home. We did leading from zone 1, then with Prince at the end of the 22ft line, and lots of other ways. Prince figured it out really quickly. Then when we got to the road I jumped aboard and rode Prince all the way home and up into the riding ring as that was where my saddle was. It was lots of fun, with just one rein and my carrot stick, I am so blessed to have Prince he has come so far in the short time I have had him. He is a wonderful horse!

One I had saddled up Prince and I did some Figure eights at the trot. Prince was very light and he doing the pattern but not making assumptions like he used too. After those we did the Weave at the trot. Prince again was light and kept the slack in the line. He maintained gait and did really well. 

The last thing we did was Stick to me. Prince missed the left lead a couple times but pretty soon we got it. Then I got on and rode. The main thing I wanted to do was set Prince up for getting the correct lead. Before I went out I watched a DVD where Mrs. Parelli taught how to set your horse up getting the correct lead. I had watched it a long time ago but I didn't need it then so I had forgotten some of it. I felt really confident about it so off we went. 

We started off to the right because that was our easy side and so I wanted to start on that side so we would both get success. It took a while of playing around with it but eventually we started getting results. Our upward transitions into the canter were getting more and more snappy and Prince was starting to pick up the right lead more and more. But things weren't quite where I wanted to end on. Prince still rushed into the canter a bit and even though he picked up the correct lead I wanted to get our canter transitions a bit more smooth. The one we ended on was amazing. Prince bend softly and I was in the right place, Prince wasn't bracing so when I asked for the canter he picked up the canter and the correct lead really nicely. We cantered for a long stretch and when I relaxed Prince came down smoothly and was able to calmly walk a ways before we stopped. 

To the left was a bit harder because (1) that is Prince's hard side and (2) Prince got on adrenaline a lot quicker and so he braced a lot. But I knew what I needed to do and so I just had to wait for him to relaxed. Slowly we started getting more and more success and the last one we did was so smooth and it was amazing!! Prince bent nicely, relaxed and without brace and then when I asked for the canter he picked up canter beautifully from the walk and we cantered a really nice, long distance because I stopped him. It was the most amazing feeling and Prince had so much power in his hindquarters!! 

We ended there. The horses hadn't followed us in so Mom, Prince and I went back out. On the way back Prince and I played at Liberty. We did Stick to me, jumping, and some other fun stuff. Prince stayed right beside me the whole time. It was a great ending for a great session!!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prince: Playing on the 45ft line

Oct 11 2010

Prince and I had a really good session also. We played in the clearing for a bit but also in the field. We played with getting rhythm and relaxation on the circle at the canter. To the right Prince picked it up really quickly and he cantered a whole lap with all three, rhythm, relaxation and connection. To the left it was harder though but I expected a lot, excepted a little and rewarded often and pretty soon what started with two strides of canter with rhythm, relaxation and a little bit of connection ended with 1/4 of a lap. It was really amazing to see Prince trying and succeeding! 
Another thing that I focused on was our send. I wanted it snappy and happy! It got pretty good and the proof is in the allow, how well does Prince maintain the canter (or what ever gait I sent him at). It was really interesting! 

I am making a pattern of playing in the field on the 45ft line. It seems to be working really well because I can see that it is paying off! Prince is catching on really quickly and we are both having fun! 


Twosox: Maybe we were bored?

Oct 11 2010

Twosox and I had a really great session after I had finished playing with Ruffian. We basically did the same things as I did with Ruffian which was pretty fun. Twosox was confident and he even was exuberant! It was pretty cool. 
Twosox offered to canter a couple times also on the circle which was big thing for him because he normally never offers to canter! Twosox was asking questions and was totally a different horse. Which leads me to ask the question why? Why was he so different in the clearing? I think I figured out that maybe we are both bored in the riding ring. It is the same thing every day and after a while my imagination gets lost! So it was a great session and I think I will have to be more creative and less critical, while still be particular when we play in the riding ring. 


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ruffian: Playfulness starting to return!

October 11 2010

This morning my mom and I went out to find the horses. They were way at the back of our property peacefully grazing in a small clearing. We sat there for a while discussing life problems and trying to solve the biggest and more overwhelming problems of the world (just joking. We didn't actually do that but we did have a good conversation! I love you mom!) 
I played with Ruffian first. We had a lot of fun. Ruffian was actually exuberant today! It was a pleasure to see that in him once again. We did circles, change of directions, backing up and down hills, Falling Leaf, backing into things (so that zone 5 was touching it) and some stick to me. It was so much fun! Ruffian was playful but obedient, willing to go but also willing to stop. Not once did he try to leave which was really cool. 

When I took the halter off Ruffian stayed with me so we played at Liberty. We did Stick to me at the walk/trot/ and back up. One time we ran really fast together and then stopped suddenly and Ruffian stayed with me the whole time. We also did Figure eights around two trees. I was really surprised because that was one of the first times I have asked Ruffian to do a Figure eight at Liberty! 

It was really special! Ruffian was asking lots of questions and we both had a lot of fun while learning and doing new things! 


Monday, October 11, 2010

Prince: Keeping it simple, but still advancing.

Oct 8 2010

I wasn't planning on doing much with Prince today. Just spending some undemanding time with him while I helped my mom and watched her ride. But of course I couldn't resist doing something with him so we played at Liberty a bit. We did Stick to me which was really cool because while we were going to the left Prince picked up the left lead really easily and was able to maintain it for a good distance. We also did some other small things and then I jumped up bareback an bridleless with just my savvy string around Prince's neck.

We did some sideways, walk-halt-back up transitions just using my body. Then we headed over to the pedestal and I asked Prince to put his front feet on it and then I asked for him to move his hindquarters over. Prince got so light that all I had to do was shift my weight and focus and Prince moved his hindquarters over. It was really amazing. I didn't even need to use my leg! 

Then after we finished riding we spent some undemanding time and just hung out together for the next while. It was really nice! 


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Twosox: Online, Liberty and Freestyle!

Oct 8 2010

Twosox and I had a good but interesting playtime today. The main thing we played with was transitions and relaxation on the circle. There was a barrel a couple feet from the fence and I would ask Twosox to trot a circle and then stop between the fence and the barrel. Twosox started out being dominate but then he lost confidence and so we played with that. 

Sometimes it hits me just how complex Twosox really is! He can be confident one minute and then loose confidence just like that. Then sometime he will look like he is being confident/dominate but really he is scared. Wow. He tests my savvy big time! :) 

After we had those going better we did Stick to me. Twosox was really in tune with me. Then we headed over to the pedestal and we hung out there for a bit. Then we played at Liberty, with the gate open too! Twosox was so amazing. We did Figure eights at the walk, walk/trot stick to me which we played with stopping exactly when I stopped and some other things. Then we headed over to a barrel and I climbed up bareback and bridleless. Since the gate was open I didn't ride long. We sat there for a bit and then headed over to the pedestal then I jumped down. 

Twosox was really relaxed and confident. So that was where we ended. I have a lot to think about in the way of progressing with Twosox, keeping it interesting, staying emotionally fit, and some other things!! 


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Prince: Wow! Relaxation at the canter!

Oct 7 2010

Prince was amazing today. We played in the field and we had a lot of fun but also we were able to play with our circles/canter/relaxation etc. 

We started off on the 22ft line and did some Stick to me, sideways, and circles. Prince did an amazing job at the walk and trot and was so relaxed and connected so I decided to ask him into the canter. He did really well. At first he pulled some but then he relaxed and offered me half a circle with the belly of the rope on the ground. I decided to switch to the 45ft line and see if that helped any also. It made a huge difference. At first we just did walk/trot but that went so well that I asked Prince to canter. He went into the canter at a phase 1 and cantered a full lap with the belly of the rope on the ground!! It was so amazing! 

Even to the left Prince had a much easier time picking up the left lead and keeping it. He cantered 3/4 of the lap to the left on the correct lead and so I brought him in. We also did Changes of directions and transitions. Prince was wonderful!! 

Then we played with getting our yo-yo's with more speed. Prince is pretty light but when he gets to about 30ft away he looses some speed so we played with that and once he was putting more effort into backing up we finished that. 

After that we had some fun doing zone 5 driving. At first we just did it with one rein. Prince was really light and responded very well. We did circles, yo-yo's and some point to point. Then we switched to two lines and did Figure eights at the walk and trot. We did one at the walk just to see where it was at since we haven't done them in a while but Prince was light, responsive and he knew the pattern so we took it to the trot. He did well maintained gait nicely along with staying light and sticking on the pattern. 

We finished with doing stick to me at the canter in a straight line over to where mom was. Then I mounted up (from the ground too!!) and we rode home. The horses weren't in the corral though so we went back out to find them. Prince stayed with me at Liberty the whole way, stopping when I stopped, trotting when I got farther ahead etc. Then when we found the other horses he went and joined them. 

I was really, really happy with how the session went. Prince was relaxed yet responsive and he tried so hard! It was really wonderful!


Prince: Positive Feedback

Oct 5 2010

Today my sister and I went out to get the horses. They were on the far side of the back field in the bushes but came to use when we called. I haltered Prince and I was hoping that the horses would just stay around so that I could quickly try some things in the field but Twosox and Knightly took off and then Ruffian took off at a full gallop to catch up with them. Prince got a little worried but he did really well. We played some sideways and I was really particular about him going sideways and not drifting forward. 

Then we played with downward transitions on the circle by going sideways. I have always wanted to try this ever since a Parelli instructor suggested it to help with rhythm, relaxation and connection at the canter but in our riding ring we don't have enough room so I wasn't able too. Put since we were out in the field we had enough room. I couldn't believe how fast Prince caught on. After just a couple transitions he was able to trot a full lap to the right, at a nice trot, and the belly of the rope was on the ground! It was really amazing! 

To the left was a bit harder but that is Prince's hard side and so I expected that. He tried really hard and I rewarded the slightest try and pretty soon he was able to do the same going to the left. 

We then headed home. We did one line zone 5 driving all the way to the turn around. We did lots of transitions because, of course, Prince really wanted to go home. When we got to the turn around he was relaxed though and we were getting some really nice, soft walk/trot transitions. The really cool thing was I asked Prince to jump the big pile of logs, with me in zone 5. He jumped them no problem and what was even neater was that he stopped on the other side with just the slightest amount of pressure! It was so cool! 

When we got up to the riding ring I set the barrels up so that they would be on the circle for Prince to jump and then we set off. It took a while for Prince to stop pulling but I didn't worry about it. I was watching for relaxation. One time Prince knocked the barrels apart as he wasn't really watching where he was going. I just left it though and he then had to go between them. Which actually worked better than him having to jump them. Prince started putting more and more slack in the rope and pretty soon he cantered 4 laps with the belly of the rope on the ground. Of course, Prince got a long rest. Then we went to the left but Prince had a really hard time even cantering so we played with that. I tried different things like changing direction every time he broke gait but the problem with that was that he was now cantering really nicely to the right and so he wouldn't break gait! He cantered 7 laps to the right with rhythm, relaxation and connection!!! 

So I decided to get our send to the left better. It took a while because Prince would go off, canter a couple strides and then just trot really fast. So I would reward that and then try again. But it still took a long time. I was willing to take how ever long it needed and eventually Prince cantered to the left off the send and he cantered about 1/2 a laps on the left lead and I brought him in and that was where we ended.

Both Prince and I were pretty tired after all that. I was really happy with the feedback I got and hopefully it will just keep getting better!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Quote for Oct 7 2010

"What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right." Albert Einstein

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"This problem, once solved, will be simple."

Oct 4 2010

This morning I had an interesting time with Prince. We had to revisit our cantering on the circle with connection. Prince had no connection at all and was basically back to square one, where we were in the spring. It didn't help that I have been sick for the last 4 days and so I wasn't really feeling that well but I really wanted to play with Prince. Looking back I should have stopped almost right before I started!! That would have been the best thing to do but I didn't and so we continued on. Also there was one time that I should have stopped and rewarded Prince and if I had of done that it probably would have changed a lot.

As I was thinking and praying about our session, and what I should do next playtime. I am convinced that God reminded me of this. It is rhythm, relaxation and connection, in just that order. Connection is last. If I get the rhythm and relaxation the connection will come. But it was almost like I forgot about the first two. It is a lot easier to see if Prince is connected than if he has rhythm or relaxation. I know that Prince is not relaxed when he is cantering. He is not thinking. He isn't necessarily right brain but he is on adrenaline. So Prince mostly has the rhythm but he doesn't have the relaxation, and if he has relaxation he doesn't have rhythm and neither time will he have connection.

So the next question I had was how do I get the rhythm and relaxation? I decided to try and use obstacles, barrels mainly. My plan is to put the barrels on the circle and get Prince to either jump them or go through them. Which ever works. That way he has to start thinking about what he is doing while he is cantering.

I am excited to see how it goes and I think that I will be a lot more mentally and emotionally fit when I got out again.


"This problem, once solved, will be simple."  Thomas A. Edison

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ruffian: Hmmmm.... How Interesting!

Oct 4 2010

Yesterday I decided to take it easy with Ruffian and just groom him, not that he would stay clean long but I wanted to do it more for the sake of his confidence. I have to start off slow with him or else our whole session will be harder. If I take it slow and wait until he is ready to offer more than the session goes really well and Ruffian is confident. 
The interesting part was that when I got to zone 4/5 Ruffian got tense. Hmmm.... How Interesting! So I stayed there until he relaxed a bit and then carried on. I have to say, he looked really nice all groomed. With his mane all brushed and everything. I then took on the task of combing out his tail. It actually wasn't that bad. There was some mud but other than that it was pretty good. I didn't really care about what he looked like though. I wanted him to be confident with me in every zone. So doing Ruffian's tail and just being back there in zone 5 really helped with his confidence. After about 15 minutes Ruffian fell asleep. I was really happy about that. 

When I let Ruffian go he was confident and sleepy. Which was a great ending. I have a feeling that me taking the time to get him confident with me in zone 4/5 will really make a difference when I go to trim him on Wednesday!! :) 


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Twosox: Playing for tomorrow... it works :)

Sept 30 2010

Twosox and I had a great session today and I could tell that our last play session set up for this one. Some things were a little bit harder but Twosox did well and I learned some thing too. 
We started by doing Backwards "S" up the hill and one we got into the riding ring we did a little bit more until Twosox was seeking the slack. Then we did traveling circle and changes of directions. What I noticed was that every time Twosox changed direction he would hit the end of the rope. So we switched to the Falling Leaf pattern and that made a huge difference. Twosox got lighter and stopped hitting the end of the rope. 

Our Weave was much better than last day. One thing I learned was that I had to really drive and draw Twosox with my focus and energy. Once I started doing that he didn't miss a tire! It was a little exaggerated to start off with but I know that it will get more refined later. 

The last thing we did was really fun. It got Twosox interested, snappy and connected. The ball was still in the riding ring and it was by the fence so I sent Twosox off on the circle at the trot and my what was to ask Twosox to stop at the ball, touch it with him nose and then trot off on the circle again, and repeat the whole pattern again. This really helped with our send also. At first Twosox would go when I sent him but he would put a whole lot of effort into trotting so I would go through my phases but then he would go really fast and miss the ball. So we had to play with that but once he started figuring out what I wanted, that he didn't have to leave really fast or scared but just put effort into going and then stop at the ball. Twosox then got really snappy on the send and all I had to do was point and he would trot off. He also put effort into stopping at the ball and touching it. 

Twosox started asking lots of questions and so we ended when he trotted off nicely, trotted with rhythm, relaxation and connection on the circle and stopped at the ball and touched it then asked a question. It was really neat! 

That was where we finished the session. Twosox had a huge lick and chew then I un-haltered him. Ruffian, Twosox and I all went down to the corral together. It was a great morning!


Ruffian: Connection and Relaxation!

Sept 30 2010

Ruffian was so relaxed and connected to me this morning when we played it was so amazing. 

We started off with going backwards up the hill in a zig-zag pattern. Ruffian did really well and it was a fun way to go up the hill. Then we played at the gate for a while. I sat on a rock and asked Ruffian to go into the riding ring. He had some trouble going over the little rock wall that we have there to keep the dirt from washing away so we had to play with that for a bit. But eventually Ruffian started understanding what I wanted and once he could do three squeezes nicely we stopped and went into the riding ring to continue playing. 

Then we did the Weave at a walk and then that went so well that I decided to ask him up into the trot. Ruffian stayed totally connected to me the whole time and he was so in tune with me that everything was at a phase 1!! It was really amazing. 

We also did Figure eights. I wanted to see if Ruffian would try getting away. He hadn't tried it in a while but I knew that Figure eights were one thing that he used to try leaving on. So we did them next. Ruffian did try to leave once but I caught it in time and he didn't get away. We continued on with the Figure eight and Ruffian did really well after that. When he trotted a complete Figure eight and was light, with rhythm, and relaxation I brought him in. He had a big lick and chew after that too!!

Then we played with the ball. Ruffian was a little bit more playful today than he was last time so that was good. He was so funny because he rolled it right through a big puddle and then he was pawing, kicking and pushing it around. Then he got sidetracked with the mud and he started playing in that. He ended up with mud all over his face, his nose was totally covered in mud. It was so fun to watch. Then we played with the ball a little bit more.
I then played with Twosox. Ruffian stayed up in the riding ring the whole time I played with Twosox. He took a nice nap until the tree :)


Friday, October 1, 2010

Twosox: Opposition Reflex

Sept 27 2010

Twosox and I had an interesting playtime today. We really focused on our porcupine game while circling, doing changes of directions, Weave, Figure eights, jumping and Backwards "S". Twosox would do what I would ask but before did it he would resist it just a little, sometimes he would toss his head a little, other times he would tuck his head in a bit, and some other things but it was opposition reflex. I would ask something, he would oppose it and then do it. So we did Backwards "S" to get him yielding to that porcupine game a bit more.

Then we did some other things and after that we went back to the Weave, which was what we were playing with when I decided to switch to the Backwards "S". Twosox was much more responsive and gave a nice, smooth, relaxed trot and didn't miss a tire. Which is much better than before where he wasn't listening to me (Left brain dominance.

So we continued to play with our porcupine games, mainly yielding to pressure on the halter. At the end our change of directions got really good and Twosox responded so well! He responded to the pressure as soon as I asked. So it was really nice.

It will be something that we shall have to continue playing with but I think that we are on the right track!