Saturday, January 30, 2010

Moonlight trail riding and other great things

Tina - Today we did more work with the flank rope. I want her to completely abandon her thoughts of self-preservation with the flank rope. I just know that she will have a break-through if she can get through this. I'm asking her for something huge; I'm asking her to forget her innate flight and self-preservation response and think about the pressure on the flank as just a request for an action. At this point, she's still very convinced that the pressure on the flank is life-threatening. I haven't had a horse be this tough to move beyond their prey instincts. We practiced COD's, which come extremely easy to her. It's surprising because she doesn't have great draw. She's willing to turn in and comfortable moving back out, though. I should also practice the 1/2 of the COD, where she only draws in to me. We also played catching game. I continue to balance the draw with all our other work. I need her to feel ok at the end of a session and not like her safety is elsewhere.

Gemini - I used Gem to show the basic 7 games while coaching a new student a little. My sister's fiance is considering learning Parelli and I was helping him understand games 1-3. We started with him using Rain and me demo-ing with Gem. After some time, I decided to let Rain wander off and just use Gem. Gem has the games down pat and he's less offended when his human isn't perfect.

Z - After watching the latest L3 Freestyle DVD, I decided to evaulate our follow the rail.. What? We can do it to the right?? Uhh, how did I miss that? Well, now I know what our next 7 day program is about. FTR and transitions. I was actually pretty shocked. Had a good session with her though. She was very accomodating and trying to please me. She was listening well. A great session. We also did some trailer loading and we've slowly built a horse that is confident to go in, have the panel closed and relax. We've got some good trailer trips ahead so this is critical.

Cowboy - Chrissy played for a bit, so happy to see that! She's still rebuilding her skills after some winter months off, but putting in the time is the critical piece.

Rain - We'd just had our brightest full moon of the year. I really wanted to ride in the moonlight. I decided at dusk to tack up Rain and pony Gem and Tina. So, 3 horses, 2 dogs and a moonlit trail. What an adventure! I didn't realize the moon was going to take so long to rise so we had about 30 minutes after dusk in pitch darkness. Oddly enough, riding in the darkness made me dizzy. I couldn't really see anything and I was following the rhythm of my horse and going up and down terrain. I decided to stop where they could graze and got to watch the most beautiful moon rise of my life. It was huge and orange and rose quickly. I thought to take a picture, but I knew a picture would never do this image justice. I had a moment of clarity - I love horses, I love the trail, and I love pushing the thresholds with my sense of adventure. So glad I did this ride.

Tina was, as usual, the perfect pony horse. Gem had a few moments of wanting to lead the group, but otherwise he did his job well, too. He never called or seemed overly concerned with the herd at home. I really think living out front alone is helping his herd sweet behavior.

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