Raudi was distracted by distant horses during the course of this lesson. My thinking is that she is in season. For sure, she was not her usual agreeable self. Also, doesn’t like empty round pens.
What I already know – don’t spend too much time on any one task. We did okay with this – Deb did attempt to vary the mix. Don’t do too many tasks in one lesson. My thinking is that we did too much. Definitely overload for me and for Raudi. Reward horse, copiously. I didn’t use treats, and after, wished that I had. At one point, when Deb was riding her, Raudi was quite clearly saying “what’s in this for me?” Treats would have calmed her down and gotten her to thinking that there was something worth working for. Use reins to turn head towards you, in order to distract and supple the horse. Former instructors, Beth and Dottie, have both worked with me on this.
What I learned—
Turn on the haunches – sit still. Ask horse to bring nose to right knee with right rein. Release rein on left side, or horse will not be able to turn head around. Put right leg on horse’s side. Make sure left leg is not pushing on opposite side; horse needs space to step onto left side. Horse should step right hind leg underneath body from right to left. Front end should stay still or walk on the spot.
Turn on the forehand – sit still. Hold reins in both hands. To turn front end to the right: left rein stops the horse from going forward. Right rein comes away from the neck, creating a space for the horse to move shoulders into. Left leg stays against girth. Right leg comes slightly against girth. Look where you want to go – you are closing the door for going forward and opening a door for shoulders to move into.
Sidepassing — Worked on the ground first, using Deb’s carrot stick. Raudi knew what to do, and when asked, did move both ways. Up against the fenceline – if horse is to move to the right – open right rein, open right leg – close left rein, close right leg. If horse is moving to the left – open left rein, open left leg, close right rein, close right leg.
Backing – Sit up. Close the front door by putting tension on reins. Raise energy level. Focus on a point at head height and move back from it. Get a single step, reward.
Opening and closing the gate – We chunked things way down on this one, so we did not complete this exercise. The main thing we did (and this will serve us in good stead) was to stop parallel to the gate and then take a step. If horse keeps going, go with it, and then try again.
Barrel and ball exercise – In between our working on the gate exercise, we did something fun. Deb put a barrel in the round pen, and then a bucket with three tennis balls in the bucket. She then placed a bucket on the mounting block. I was then told to move the tennis balls from one bucket to the next.
I stopped Raudi next to the barrel and went to grab a ball from the bucket. I was twice reminded that I foresaw that the object of this exercise was to pick up the ball. I first attempted to grab the ball before Raudi was lined up with the barrel/mounting block. Then, once I had it in hand, Deb told me that I forgot to first reward Raudi for stopping next to the barrel before moving on with ball in hand. This was quite interesting because I subconsciously presumed that picking up the ball and putting it in the adjacent container was the most important part of the game.
We then resumed working on opening the gate. This time, Raudi stopped and moved a step when asked. This, now that I think about it, was a victory of sorts because she was still distracted by the sight of the distant horse.
Too much and too hard for my horse. After, I felt like sensory overload. This is my final assessment of the day’s lesson. No harm done unless I continue to ask my horse to do several things in succession without first giving considerable thought as to what it is I want to accomplish, and as well, how I want to go about doing this. The best thing that I can do is now come up with a game plan and under saddle, work on some of these things. The following is something that I’m going to work on in the next few days – expanding upon Deb’s barrel exercise.
- Barrel exercise # 1: Ride through gap.
- Barrel exercise #2: Ride through gap, lifting legs up.
- Barrel exercise #3: Have horse stand in center of barrels.
- Barrel exercise # 3: Back through gap.
- Barrel exercise # 4: Place tennis balls in buckets on each barrel. Have horse walk up next to each barrel, pick up ball, drop it in adjacent barrel.
- Barrel exercise # 6: Place barrels next to fence. Place tennis balls in bucket on each barrel. Walk up to inside of barrel, pick up ball, sidepass to other barrel, place ball in barrel.
- Barrel exercise # 7: Put pole between barrels. Have horse walk over pole, then stop.
- Barrel exercise #8 : Vary the number of steps going forward and back between barrels.
- Go around barrels in a figure eight.
- Back around barrels in a figure eight.
- In all instances, remember to reward existent behavior.
- It took me a long time to sort out all of the above.
Next: 161. 6/18/15: Yet another Day on the Trail