Today was the best day yet. I was blown away. My horse felt it too and at the end of our play time, she did not want to go into her pen. I was astonished. I can feel our bond changing and I'm absolutely ecstatic about it. This crap really works! :0
Today, we did some interesting simulations. First, we had a conga horse and we drove it from zone 3/4. That was interesting and I got some good feedback. Then, we drove that same horse with 2 reins from zone 5. That was much harder and I got some feedback about giving my horse too many signals and/or not releasing. That feedback was interesting and I really think human assumptions were coming into play. I believe she assumed that when I asked her to come back, I wanted her to stop only. I actually wanted her to back up. She felt that I wasn't rewarding her when she stopped. I found that very interesting.
Things I learned: They highly recommend driving with two 22's before using the 45' looped. This was interesting and I'll be doing that for sure. This made great sense to me. They recommend getting really good at driving with 1 rope in zone 5 before driving with 2. Also, we saw a demo that showed how to lay the rope over the horse's back so you can have a little more of a discussion with the horse. Very cool - I'll be playing with that.
I asked a question about my horse dropping her head when I drive her and Julia recommend that I think of drawing her towards me before asking her with the reins. She thought it could help get the message across to my horse better. I'll be playing with that, too. Great suggestion!
We saw 2 student horse demo's. One was Julie's thoroughbred who had problems with Friendly game. The other was Kim's horse who had problems with dominance and respect. Of course, within 20 mins, the problems were significantly better. The instructors are all very impressive.
Today was mainly about the Yo-yo game. They put great emphasis on getting the horse good at straight lines BEFORE circles. Hmmm... never heard that before (I don't think...). That is why the yo-yo game comes before the circle game.
We talked about the Falling Leaf pattern and the backwards "S". Falling leaf is for driving a horse who needs more respect and the "S" is for creating more draw.
Tara did a yo-yo demo with a student's Percheron. The horse was cool, but did not know much at all. Tara did a great job of teaching the horse something while managing it's busy feet.
We also had a fairly long Q&A session with John and Kathy Barr about the Parelli organization and becoming a professional. That was enlightening. Danielle and I talked quite a bit as we both have professional goals. We are both concerned about the new level paks and potentially new assessments. The program changes a lot and I don't want the bar to get raised just as I'm reaching for it. We'll see...
OK - play session with Z was amazing. She was calm and relaxed at the start. She wasn't worried about leaving her buddy or other horses. She also has some large welts on her belly and I'm assuming she's developed some sort of allergic reaction to something. Strange. It's not spreading anywhere else, so I'm watching and observing for now.
We were out on the playground today. Coco was supposed to be taking pictures, but I didn't see her. I played with a lot of things with Z and it was our most successful play session yet. I was amazed. We continued to work on stepping on the pedestal. Z has wanted to jump it and today I finally got her to understand that I wanted her to put a hoof on it. That was awesome. Today was also the first day I asked for help. I went to Julia and got some great feedback from her. I wasn't frustrated so much as I wanted to have someone watch me and see if they thought I could do something differently. It seemed like we were stuck at the stage where Z lifts her leg but doesn't actually rest a hoof on the pedestal. I was being a little too gentle probably and not asking her to try harder. Julia also reminded me to start measuring our progress - to get more analytical about her tries. She suggested to try and measure in inches how far over the pedestal her neck goes or how high her leg lifts, set a goal of distance and get off it once we reach it. Great advice. I never had to break it down that far because within 10 mins, we got it. Funny how that works. We were very close when I went to Julia and I think I needed the support.
I backed Z up a hill on the 45 today. We've done that before, but today it was quicker and more responsive than usual. She also trotted into me with no issues! We played with the falling leaf and the backwards "S". We played circle game with obstacles and she did start to get emotional but also very exhuberant! She kicked and bucked and farted on the 45 around the obstacles. It was great to watch. We practiced loading into the tiny 2 horse straight load trailer. That's quite an obstacle and Z doesn't think its such a great idea. I realize my large trailer makes it very easy for her and the small trailer is a great squeeze game. She'll get in to her shoulder/wither area. Another threshold for us to play with... We also played with driving from zone 5 quite a bit. That was a little tough because of all the grass. When I'm not leading her or driving her from zone 3 or 4, she can get her own ideas very easily. That was one of the big things I learned from simulation - a horse being driven has to be listening intently for your suggestions and it's incredibly easy for them to feel like their ideas are better.
Truly a great day - this program is so great. My professional goals are solidified by being here and taking this course.