+ TVhorsetalk: Update on a Few Points...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Update on a Few Points...

              We have definitely reached a turning point of some kind.  We have developed a different connection, a new connection. 
Max seems more likely to expect me to give him direction rather than just move around on his own when I’m nearby.   He seems to be paying more attention to me when I’m around.  When he sees me coming with a chore to do and he’s right there up close to the barn door, he begins to back up when I’m walking toward him.  I do like that.  Thanks, CA.

I introduced the “touch and rub” exercise from the Riding With Confidence – Series I dvd.  I’m reeeeeeeeally clumsy doing this one.  I really had to take it super slowly and concentrate on which hand was doing what.  He’s big.  I’m short.  I was afraid his big rear end would move into me and his hind feet would step on me.  But once I got it, it worked. 
I’m not totally comfortable yet with the timing and the moves, but with practice I think it’ll come. 
When first introducing the “touch and rub” exercise Max kept thinking I wanted him to move his forequarters, (probably because we’ve had to work on it so much) so he kept side-stepping. 
(Okay, I know this so girly, but he was really cute.  He was dipping his head and looking at me like, “See?  See?  Look what I remembered?  Is this right?  Is this it?  I’m doing that thing you wanted, right?”  I know, I know, he’s not supposed to be “cute”.  But it did show me again he has that “try”!) 
Only I have to tell him, “Uh, no, that’s not it this time.”

Actually, until today, I’ve really been working pretty exclusively on the Gaining Respect and Control on the Ground – Series I exercises.  I felt like I needed to feel super comfortable on the ground first considering my confidence issues.
Now, Max and I are coming along verrrrrrrrrrry slowly, but we’re coming along nonetheless.  (I don’t have to do it as fast as Clinton Anderson does it, do I?)  And I don’t know about Max, but I have enjoyed every bit.  So far, I think Anderson has mapped out his methods in an excellent step-by-step sequence.  There hasn’t been anything yet that has been impossible for me, as a beginner, to do.

I think whenever we start something new, there’s an adjustment in thinking.  For example, being a former Reading and Language Arts teacher, I keep wanting there to be some instructions I can give Max or some way to use words. 
 I’ll start to say something, then look at Max and close my mouth.  (I know some trainers do use verbal cues.  I have done this also.  But right now I’m following Clinton Anderson’s method and there are no verbal cues.  And this way makes sense, too.  I rather like it.  And anyway, we all need to shut the heck up sometimes.)

I am also having to get used to the new moves I’m supposed to make while training Max to make his moves.  I enjoy that it’s body language that’s essential in communicating with horses. 
It’s kind of like learning short new dances for each skill I want to teach him.  In other words, what’s my body supposed to be doing so that Max will know what to do?  And like dancing together, one leads and the other follows.   

Lastly, there’s the equipment to work with.  In any new sport one has to get used to the equipment.  Whether its’ mitts, balls and bats, or sticks and strings and lead ropes and halters, it takes some practice and everyday “using” to get natural with it.

The next thing I need to do is re-make a list of the exercises on GRCG-I and RWC-I.  I made one a few weeks ago on an index card and put it in my pocket when I went to the barn each morning, but it became unreadable after being slipped in and out of my pocket for several days.  Before it completely faded away it was very helpful in keeping me focused on goals for the day. 

So, to move forward, I’ll remake my list of “exercises to practice” and make sure that I include the “touch and rub”…

Have a good ride,

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