+ TVhorsetalk: Small Improvements...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Small Improvements...

***Go to http://www.tvhorsetalk.blogspot.com/ to read more about how Max and I came to use Clinton Anderson's Downunder Horsemanship methods...

So, for the last couple of weeks we’ve lunged at the canter (We do a lot of resting!) and I swear I’m seeing small improvements each day.  In this short time he seems to be more “athletic” about it.  Smoother, maybe…a little slower… And I saw him correct his lead real quickly today.  Max needed to get his feet moving.  His feet had not moved quickly in a long time.   
We worked a bit on yielding forequarters, backing, lungeing and we did some Sending.  Max did pretty well.  We’ll try Sending again tomorrow. 
It was very windy today and while riding Max spooked big once on the side by the woods, and he spooked a little at the end of the arena near the woods.  As I’ve mentioned ad nauseam, I think this is why I’m stuck at the trot.  I get afraid cruising and get tense and nervous, too afraid to let him trot anywhere he wants (and that’s exactly what “cruising” is…) because he gets spooky when he gets near the woods and I’m afraid he’s going to spook and I’m going to fly off. 
Now don’t get me wrong.  He doesn’t spook like crazy, bolting and running away.  He just kind of jumps.  A couple of times he’s spun around as if to bolt. 
Hopefully, the things I’m doing are what’s stopping him.  Also, hopefully, a little bit of it is him stopping on his own when he sees there’s no threat. 
A trainer told me he “spooks” in a “good” way, really, because he just kind of jumps or starts, then stops.  (It’s a good thing for me!) 
All I know is that it makes me a wreck.
I’ll keep resting him in the “scary” places on the ground and in the saddle, but I’m having a hard time getting over this hump.

Next Training Day:

I’ve been gone for a week.
So, I went out early today.  I had my list of exercises from Clinton Anderson's Gaining Respect and Control on the Ground - I and Riding with Confidence - I in my back pocket for reference, if needed.  We worked on yielding forequarters and backing.
Yielding forequarters is coming along slowly, but steadily.  I did not allow any kind of step but a step across.  When Max tried to step forward or his foot wasn’t all the way across the other front foot I grabbed the clip under his chin and had him back that step so we could do that step again across .  Also, I think that I stop too soon working on this skill. 
Today when I wanted to quit, I took it as a sign to work a while longer. 
Backing up went well.  It was kind of like he just needed a refresher in all four methods.  He does wiggle, wave, walk and whack best and with energy.  I think he does “marching” next best.  “Tap the air” he seems confused about whether to go back or sideways.  “Yielding hindquarters then backing” improved a bit today.  My signals were clearer.  I did not work on any of these for very long, and as I sit here and think back, I probably should have practiced each a few more times.
But did I mention that it’s HOT out here???
I’m learning that any problem not corrected immediately only ensures that that problem will persist.
You know, with regard to our very slow progress with yielding forequarters, the thought has crossed my mind that maybe Max is just not one of those really “athletic” horses that the clinicians talk about.  Will he ever be able to pivot on his hind foot while he crosses his front foot over until he goes a full circle? 
He seems athletic enough to me.  But then, I am a greenhorn.
I do think Max and I can yield forequarters better than what we’re doing now.  I’m committed to working on this each day.  I think I need to approach this with more energy, too.  No more Mrs. Nice and Slow Guy!

Have a good ride

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