Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fence fixing and training

Played with Z in trailer. She goes in fine, but she's not confident while in there. So, we worked on loading and staying in and expanding her confidence inside. She did better. I have a long 4-horse trailer, so I played with having her stand in the 3rd stall, closer to the door, hoping that she'd feel less claustrophobic if she wasn't so deep in "the cave". It seemed to help and I decided to trailer her that way for the trail competition the next day. It's amazing how much better the trailer is for her if there's another horse. She has no issues if she's not alone.

Played with Rain on bridge. She doesn't have confidence on the bridge or teeter totter and I believe it's because she slipped once or twice. She's had a couple slips in her past (on cement once, too) and she's wary of standing on something that doesn't provide her good footing. So, we worked on the ground, building her trust that her feet weren't going to slip. Once that was better, I hopped on and we went over the bridge repeatedly. I didn't get her to stand on it today, but she was crossing it much better, so we found a good place to quit and go soak. I love her - her way of thinking things through is so wonderful.

Played with Tina through the hanging obstacle. This is extremely hard for her. I believe its the idea of these noisy and unnatural things overhead. I pulled some items back so the squeeze would be less daunting. She knows I want her to go through so she tries so darn hard to overcome her fear and get through the obstacle. The problem is that she doesn't get more confident this way, she actually gets more and more afraid. I thought to try flooding technique and gave it a try. This did not work at all - she got less and less confident. So, I quickly changed back to approach and retreat and we got a slight improvement. I've learned to recognize quickly when her confidence is leaking away and change my method. For Tina, confidence and trust in me are the keys to success. We'll need to work with this obstacle for a while.

I then hopped on and rode her in the arena. Worked on follow the rail and turning with feel and softness.

Last for the day, helped Chrissy with bareback riding. She wanted to develop her independent seat and decided to hop on her horse bareback. I led her around and tried to help her find harmony by feeling the horse and moving with the horse. This is so good for Chrissy! She's forced to breathe and relax to get more fluid.

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