Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 1 with Dave Ellis

1. Ask the horse to transition with phase 1. When the horse doesn't do it, phase 4 to get the next gait up, transition down to original gait and try again immediately.

2. When your horse gets right brained, direct the hind - not a simple disengagement, ask for hind off track. Always continue in the direction intended. Go backwards if necessary! Alternately, choose sideways if the horse doesn't go the gait you've asked until they're thinking. Continue throughout to give them the opportunity to go the requested gait.

3. L3 - most important game: circle. L4 - most important game: yo-yo. Transitions up and down are yo-yo - even when in the same gait.

4. Horses are still learning to balance as mounts until they're as old as 6, 7 or 8.

5. Don't get in the horse's way when turning - make sure you lower the outside of your body and lift the inside so the horse feels your body push them into the turn.

6. Turns - direct/indirect based on level of study?

7. 7 horses in the herd - zone 1-5, lead mare and stallion. The lead mare directs, the stallion reinforces the mares request (driving).

8. Power of 3 -
- if the horse can stop the cow 3 times, the cow turns and leaves
- work on teaching in sets of 3: try the request 3 times, if the 3rd is better than the first, put it away. if the 3rd isn't better, then try again from the first.

Don't try it again after 3 or you'll ruin what you're trying to teach.

9. DON'T SET YOUR JAW! If you're setting your jaw, your not being natural.

10. When loping, reach forward to pet their neck and back to pet their rump with your outside arm. This relaxes you and then in turn, relaxes the horse.

11. When releasing the horse with the herd, don't let the horse leave you - direct it to leave. Maintain the leadership always.

12. Pre-flight check - doesn't need to be extensive. Use groundwork to check the horse's frame of mind, then move on when you've got the mind. (New statement from Pat at Ray Hunt Memorial.)

13. Alternatively to falling leave, disengage the hind, ask for multiple steps straight back, then ask the fore to move out the other way.

14. When your horse gets worried or in trouble, it makes a big impression on them if you don't abandon them. (Z's back end fell in a hole and I managed to stay on - DE explained that it was important that I did.)

15. When do you get off your horse? The second you ask yourself, "Should I get off my horse."

16. Flying lead changes - it's the hind legs that matter! The hind end is the driving force, that's the lead that matters.

17. When asking for a flying lead change, if the horse is cross-firing or counter cantering, ask for more speed to help the horse get the lead from behind. It's ok to allow the horse to drop to trot for a simple change in the beginning, but soon you have to ask them to sort it out while cantering - hence adding speed.

18. DE is specific that when mounted, it's job time. No grass eating while mounted. DE will take off the bridle or the head gear, then allow grazing.

My morning was pretty intense. Z was extremely herd sweet with Tina and she wasn't ok with leaving Tina behind. Got off repeatedly, ground work assistance with DE. Walked her a bunch. Got back on when I could. She was actually quite ok with moving cows! Very cool.

We made a ton of progress.

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