Thursday, May 8, 2014

Stella #23

First time riding Stella today after 2 weeks off.  She needed time off after her hocks were injected and then I had a hard fall that tore some muscle in my hip flexor.  I only rode her for around 15 minutes after some good warm up time in the round pen.  My hip was still sore and we found a nice place to stop after managing some obstacles.

Unfortunately, she had quite a high head when I asked for the trot under saddle.  This tells me that she hasn't fully accepted softness in the bridle outside of the walk.  In the walk, it's very positive, but at the trot her head and poll shot up immediately.  I'll continue to work on that with her.  It only took her a few minutes to find comfort again  with a low head at the trot, but I realize she's not quite there.

This week, I intend to try the rope halter instead of the bit.  I'm curious if the bit itself causes the negative reflexive behavior or is it higher speeds with a rider regardless of the head gear.

Also, planning to get her on the trail!  Not cooperative weather so far...  Today we got very unexpected snow.

Stella #21 and #22

Had 2 great sessions focused on her confidence and connection.  Stella made some super nice changes in these 2 sessions.  I played at liberty, slowing things down so she could respond to me while feeling sure of everything.  She was able to circle me at liberty at the walk and I was able to draw her in off the circle with ease.

Her ear-pinning is a direct reflection of her confidence, I believe.  As I get to know her and her needs, I'm able to change the way I play with her to help grow her from the inside out.  I am not a believer in responding directly to various feedback (ears-pinned, tail swishing, stomping...).  If we tell our horse to not express themselves, we lose the opportunity to grow them in the way they need to grow.  They lose their voice.  I want horses that are content and comfortable in their tasks with me and know they can express it when they're not.

Did sideways, transitions, began to teach her down transition using the carrot stick and "laser-beam".  She is easily left to feel stifled and shut down, so playing with communications where she can continue forward and doesn't feel the need to disconnect.

Pretty pleased!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Stella #19

Rode her around the property. I was curious how she'd do without a big warm up that potentially fires up pain in her hocks. I could tell I was riding a horse that needs a mental warm-up, as she was tighter and needed to move more. I do no warm up, just tacked up and went.

Played with confidence on obstacles, focus and following my focus. 

I have to say, she was less swishy and irritated than normal where I usually warm her up with cantering.