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February 5, 2016: Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

The above title aptly describes how I’ve been feeling lately. Just had the sense that I haven’t been making very much headway with anything. But I persist, knowing that this has more to do with my attitude than anything else. This is because attitude manifests itself in perspective. Today has been a good example of this.

This morning Pete and I went for a ride – ended up going to Grizzly Camp. The weather was better than good. Sunny skies, no wind, a little bit of heat in the sun. We got out early, at 9:30 a.m., in attempt to avoid the snowmobile/bicycle riff raff. And we did just that.

Raudi and Tinni

We ought to have done the loop. I spent the rest of the day wishing we had. It was the perfect day for it. But I had other things to do – got an anatomy and physiology exam on Monday and am needing to study for it. I have been studying in dribs and drabs, nothing sustained yet. And also, I wanted to check out the tai chi class that is being offered on Fridays at the Chickaloon Native Health Center. Did both, then in the afternoon did agility with Raudi and Hrimmi.

Raudi and I are, agility wise, coming off a tough two months. We didn’t do well in December or January. I will put the blame on myself. I was taking agility too seriously. I was being too competitive. It was less fun than in the past. The cold weather also made this endeavor less enjoyable than it normally would have been.

I’ve since come back to my senses. This month’s course is a difficult one, but no matter. Raudi isn’t a big one on lifting her rear feet over poles or hula hoops. She will stand for just about anything, go under or over anything, will now trot along nicely beside me – but back those feet nicely over an obstacle, no way. In December she developed this odd behavior of putting her head down and gnawing at the ground when asked to back over things. I thought she was doing this in order to get at the dregs in the pen, but today she did this in the driveway, where there are no dregs.

What to do? The answer is simple. More positive reinforcement. More chunking down. More clicking, more treats. When a rear leg steps back over the hula hoop, she is going to be rewarded copiously. We struggled today, but then both rear feet went into the hoop. There was a little celebration when this happened – there was lots of praise and many, many, treats. Then we quit, immediately.

Agility practice sessions are also going to remain short.

I worked some with Hrimmi. She doesn’t yet know what’s going on. But she’s catching on. She’s learning to stand quietly, and when she does stand, will give me her feet. That’s one of the obstacles this month. Not lifting rear feet when backing – that’s a Raudi thing.

So we progress. My goal with Raudi is to acquire the connection I have with her in the saddle on the ground. And my goal with Hrimmi is to just acquire a connection. We are all on the right track. I am glad to have gotten my previous good prospective back. No sense having things the other way. Two steps forward and two steps forward.

Next: 36. 2/6/16: Build It and They Will Come

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