+ TVhorsetalk: Still Practicing...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Still Practicing...

               If you’re a first-time reader, I’m a life-long horse-lover, first-time horse owner who loves to watch the horse-training shows on RFD TV.  In order to train me in establishing control on the ground and re-gaining confidence in the saddle, I’m using Clinton Anderson’s dvd series.  So far, the directions have been clear and direct. 
 I’m very excited about the progress my horse, Max, and I have made since beginning the training series.  Look back to the first few posts to see how I came to use Clinton Anderson’s approach…

Today was a beautiful day.  For once in quite a while (all summer) it wasn’t scorchingly hot.  It was more like a spring day, oddly enough, seeing as how it is September.  So, I decided that Max and I would review most of our groundwork exercises.   
We hadn’t done much when a big, fat bumblebee appeared and wouldn’t leave Max alone.  Max and I took turns swatting at it, but it was way too persistent for us.  I got the can of bug spray from the barn and directed a stream right at it.  It worked.  I either got it, or it didn’t stick around.  We both relaxed and went back to work.
In a few minutes, when time came to bridle Max, a gigantic fly buzzed around and really tormented Max.  Even though Max had a light coat of fly spray on, this fly would not give up.  Max tossed his head and moved around.  I backed him up.  He did it again.  I backed him up again. 
This time he stood still, put his head down and even opened his mouth for the bridle.  The fly kept coming at him.  I have to hand it to Max for not going totally nuts with this super huge insect constantly harassing him.  This fly looked big enough to bite a hunk out of Max’s hide. 
I silently hoped it didn’t happen while I was on his back… 
Anyway, I shook off that thought, mounted and off we rode.  We were okay for only a few moments.  Our respite from the fly was short lived.  Max soon suffered constant attack by the big bug.  Max held it together fairly well, but both of us were having a hard time concentrating.   We were verrrrrry distracted.  No progress was being made.  
That was it.  Done.

Next Day:

Another pretty day – I gotta admit I was on the lookout for flying insects.  I wasn’t going to be run off by bugs today.
Luckily, the bugs were a no-show.
I didn’t introduce any new skills on the ground today.   We worked on getting good (at least a grade B) at the skills we’d already learned.  The yielding forequarters to the left is really slow-coming. 
I’m back to thinking maybe something hurts in his shoulder or leg or somewhere so that he can’t or doesn’t want to pivot on that back foot and really cross that front foot over time after time until he’s through the 360 turn.  But he has no visible signs of physical trouble, standing still or while moving. 
I think he’s just real heavy on his front end.  So, if it’s just that it’s going to take a long time and a lot of practice on this side, that’s okay with me.  I’m not in a hurry.  I’m looking for quality in executing the exercises.
His lungeing was pretty good.  His canter still seems pretty rough to the right, but I think it’s improving.
We practiced the Changing Eyes exercise again.  It’s on Gaining Respect and Control on the Ground – Series 2.   Clinton Anderson says to do this exercise slowly.  We’re really doing it slowly.  We may be going too slow.  I need to watch that segment of the dvd again to see if we need to speed it up.
We struggled again with him standing still to be bridled.  I think he remembered yesterday and wanted to see if I was still serious about him standing still and dropping  his head.  I was.  I backed him up once.  His feet stopped moving, he dropped his head and opened his mouth.
Our ride was good.  We didn’t make a lot of progress, but we practiced trotting, cantering, yielding hindquarters at the standstill and backing.
I haven’t been nearly diligent enough in doing the touch and rub exercise.  By now, we should have made more progress in the saddle yielding hindquarters at the standstill.  I need to do touch and rub daily for a while right before riding, and then yield hindquarters when we first begin the ride.  I think that will help keep yielding to the steady pressure fresh on his mind.     

Still practicing…

Have a good ride

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