Monday, April 28, 2008

Playing with Gemini

I spent about an hour with Gemini yesterday. He surprised me by going right-brained several times. He started out really struggling to pay full attention to me and worrying severely about where the herd was. It took a solid 30 mins to get him with me. He was responsive, but he was clearly multi-tasking. One thought on me, the other on the herd. Towards the end, he stopped thinking about them.

We worked on starting to learn to transition down in a circle on line, change of directions, backing up onto an obstacle, trotting sideways and disengaging the hind end onto the bridge. He did pretty damn good for a horse only paying half his attention. Then, I took him into the round pen and we played a little more on line, working on the circle and transitions down. He wanted to canter off full speed and so we just kept working on it until he could be composed. He made some great progress. I also worked on the flank rope and got a little bit of a buck going to the left (left eye). That was it, though. He really figured out how to yield his hind-end to the flank rope. I also started teaching him to mirror me - I walk in zone 2 and he stops and goes with me. This was tough for him. If I stopped, he wanted to spin to face me. Having me in zone 2 or 3 is not a comfortable thing for him. I started teaching him the response to tail pressure and yielding backwards when I pull his tail. He was pretty good with that. I tested poll pressure and he was good when he was paying attention.

After a while, I sat in the middle of the round pen and gave him a mental break. He came and stood over me. :-) Immediately. He also stopped looking for the herd. We played stick to me and I tried to get him to trot or canter after me. He kept his eye on me, but didn't show much energy when I asked him to stick to me. We'll go back on line and work on that.

All in all a great session for both of us. I tied him for a while when we were done and he was calm and relaxed. I think during our session I noticed him coming off his adrenaline and he got very tired. I think being tied for a while to finish letting himself come of his high was a good thing. He's cool.

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