Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Playing on the 45 with Z

November, nearly T-day, and we have 60 degrees! I love Colorado. Work is lighter than normal as the holiday mood sets in and I managed to steal away and get a couple hours with my levels mare. I messed with her hooves for a bit, then put her on the 45' and set out for some moving circle game.

I was paying very special attention to increase my body language, especially with backing her, sending her and transitioning her down. She was more willing than usual to put energy into things and jumped several times without a 2nd thought. Jumping is not her easiest thing to do and it was interesting to see her jump so willingly. We played with the allow on the 45 at the trot and the canter and I focused on not giving her a moment's rest when she decided to try something different. I noticed that she typically changed her direction when she was on the barn side of the circle. She was also pulling a little on that side of the circle. I held my ground and she learned to move through that desire to go to the barn. We did some down transitioning, which is a little clumsy with a cantering/galloping horse 45' away in an aircast. :-)

I felt really positive about the time on the 45' in my front pasture and I was ready to try some things in the round pen. I drove her from about 10' behind Z5 to the round pen and that worked better than usual as well. It was obvious that my clarity and specificity in my asks was having an impact on her frame of mind.

We practiced some rock slide, some sending, some down transitions and kept her online for all of it. I played with bringing her into me INSTEAD of disengaging her hind on the circle. This will help my change of direction - increasing the draw. She was a little sweaty and the sun was going down. I didn't want her wet for the cold night setting in, so I played with asking her to WALK a circle around me. She's not great at walking around me, she prefers to trot. After a few mins, she would walk the circle in both directions.

I also paid special attention to stop her from going beyond the point of "face up". I learned in my last lesson that I need to stop her as soon as it occurs to her to avoid facing me, vs correcting her after she's way out of position. I'm not fast or overly assertive, just consistent and specific.

A great play session and I'll give her several days (while I'm in the mountains with my family) to think about things. Tomorrow, I will play with Gemini and/or Rain.

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