+ TVhorsetalk: A Bright Idea...?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Bright Idea...?

               I watched the Lungeing for Respect-Stage I segment of the Clinton Anderson's Gaining Respect and Control on the Ground - 1 dvd again to brush up on the teaching part so as to help Max “get it” better.  He knows what I want now.  I’m sending clear messages with my body language and he’s not confused.  So, when I point, cluck and twirl my stick and he stands there looking at me like, “What?” I need to run straight toward him after that third twirl of the stick pointing, clucking and twirling until he moves.    
I rewrote my list of exercises to work on a couple of weeks ago and we’ve been making slow, but steady progress.
Yielding forequarters is coming along.  And I’m getting better at using the equipment, changing hands and timing on the touch and rub exercise.  He’s getting it, so I guess I’m doing okay.
We haven't really started working on Sending, but I just kind of got near the fence to see if he would go through when I pointed.  Max hasn't seemed to be afraid to go through any space I want him to go through, but he walked extreeeeemely slowly through the gap.  I do feel like my cues need to be clearer.  So I needed a refresher. 
Here again, he thinks he’s supposed to yield forequarters while walking through. 
              He’s doing that because as he’s coming through I tapped him on the shoulder in an effort to get him up to a trot, and he thought I meant to yield his forequarters.  I’ve got to point up high, bump, bump him in the correct direction while I’m creating energy with the stick near his neck and shoulder.  This worked a few times to get him to speed up.  He’s doing the Sending exercise, he’s just doing it at a snail’s pace!  (I don’t think we’d rate a B on this!)

Next Day:
I may have had a mental breakthrough today.  A bright idea…? 
Clinton Anderson says to do your groundwork first and things will go much more smoothly in the saddle.  As you know, I am really stuck riding at the trot.  I’m getting better at riding the trot but the canter still eludes me.  I just haven’t been able to grab my seat back at the canter and it makes me way too uncomfortable (afraid) to keep cantering as long as I need to in order for improvement to happen.
Max’s canter is not some fancy-schmancy Western Pleasure horse canter.  He’s got a yahoo-wallopin’-giddyup canter!  He seems a little clumsy, too, probably because he doesn’t get a chance to canter.  Therefore, he also doesn’t get a chance to make improvements in his gait and to slow it down. 
CA says, “Everybody wants their horse to have a nice slow canter but they never canter their horse.  In order to get a nice, slow canter you have to canter.”
Makes sense.
But since I’m too wary about cantering around, (TA-DAH!  Here comes the bright idea part!)  I decided to put the two ideas together and first canter him on the ground.  He needs it anyway.
I started to do this about a week ago to get some energy in his Lungeing for Respect-Stage I and it worked.  He’s lungeing with energy. 
Then, it came to me as I saw him start off a little clumsily, do some tripping, taking the wrong lead, going so fast, that I thought, “Hey, he needs to practice this, too!” 
If I could ask CA a question it would be, “Does this makes sense?  Will it work?”

Next Day:
Is it my imagination or when we did our little “canter on the ground” practice today was it a little slower right from the beginning?  I won’t say for sure. 
Today I felt like I was riding Max, not like he was taking me for a ride.

Next Day:
I just went out today with the intention of just working on the “canter on the ground” exercise.  It is so hot, I can’t stay out too long… 
Max is getting better, smoother.  He’s paying more attention.  He’s doesn’t really arc his body while lungeing.  I do bump his nose in when he looks out.  I figure by this time he needs to being paying attention to me.  And he is getting better at it.  But not enough to get an arc at the canter. 

Next Day:
We’re making good progress on the ground.  I think we’re doing the Gaining Respect and Control on the Ground – Series I exercises fairly well except for Sending.
 We’ve only worked on it a couple of times.  And I mean, a couple of times.  I need to get serious about it and work on Sending each day.  It’s on the list, but we just don’t seem to get to it.  The small amount of time we worked on it, Max did walk through the gap between the fence and me.  I’m hoping that by working on the take-off and energy in lungeing that we can transfer it to smooth sending. 
Also, I’ve worked on flexing and haven’t really talked about it here because Max did it well right away.  However, that said, I have probably not worked on it consistently enough. 
Note to self – Review flexing.  Work on Sending.
Riding is not going quite as quickly.  But I ride everyday and I’m getting better balance and feel more in control. 
And...I am still stuck at cruising at the trot on Riding With Confidence-I!

Have a nice ride -

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