FOCUS gives you FEEL. FOCUS and FEEL give you TIMING. FOCUS, FEEL, and TIMING give you BALANCE.

The Responsibilities

  • For the Human
  • 1. Don't act like a predator
  • 2. Have an independent seat
  • 3. Think like a horse
  • 4. Use the natural power of focus
  • For the Horse
  • 1. Don't act like a prey animal
  • 2. Maintain gait
  • 3. Maintain direction
  • 4. Look where you're going

The Principles

  • 1. Horsemanship is natural
  • 2. Don't make or teach assumptions
  • 3. Communication is two or more individuals sharing and understanding an idea
  • 4. Horses and humans have mutual responsibilities
  • 5. The attitude of justice is effective
  • 6. Body language is the universal language
  • 7. Humans teach horses, horses teach humans
  • 8. Principles, purpose, and time are the tools of teaching

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 4, 2010

Lesson with 2*PP Carol Herring 12/4/10. I chose freestyle savvy for our lesson, and I've done a lot of licking and chewing since the lesson. First of all, I didn't allow myself quite enough time to play with Sonny beforehand,and more precisely to get him tacked up after our warmup in the roundpen. I was almost,but not quite ready when the call came out of the barn that I was up next. (There were 6 students doing sequencial semiprivate lessons) So, I went in feeling slightly frazzled, and spent a few minutes putting the final adjustments on Sonny's tack. Then I had to wait,,,wait,,,wait,,,and,,,did I say -wait- untill Sonny gave me permission to mount. At the time, I was getting rather frustrated with him/the situation---as in 'we were wasting precious minutes of my lesson time---ie. I could see dollar bills floating down the drain AND even more importantly-felt I was missing out on the instruction I had so looked forward to---minutes of my hour ticking away wasted. I was just about to change to an online lesson when Sonny finally gave me permission to mount. OK, lesson officially started (in hindsight-lesson truly started during the mounting attempts), and I was geniunely expecting to be able to have a walk/trot transitions, or follow the rail, or cloverleaf, or other patterns lesson. Instead Sonny showed Carol that we really needed to work on lateral flexion untill that was soft, then indirect rein untill that was soft, THEN we did figure 8 at walk and weave at walk. How did I think I was ready for trot when I had a broken hindquarter yield/indirect rein , much less a broken lateral flexion???? I thought we had those 'good enough', but Sonny thought otherwise, and demonstrated otherwise. Play or ride the horse that shows up. Lesson learned. I was a little dissappointed at the time that the lesson didn't turn out as I'd planned and hoped,,but as quickly as on the drive home, I realized that the lesson I got was exactly what I needed, and showed me what basics I need to practice untill they are truly soft and automatic for us both. On the plus side, Carol was able to praise me on my focus, and on my putting the relationship first whenever Sonny would decide to stop moving forward. (smile, rub him, begin again at phase 1 asking to walk off) Also, one of the other students made the comment that by the time the lesson was over, Sonny had his ears forward and looked interested, whereas at the beginning he had his ears back a lot, and looked bored. Another big plus is that the roundpen online warmup went very well. Sonny was connected and mostly obedient. For the first time, he didn't take off in a bucking fit when I ran up and tagged the ground behind him after he had broken gait. Yay!!! He resumed the trot, and I must say--a beautiful, big extended trot at that. He looked awesome. I think he finally 'got' that it is a game when he breaks gait, and it's not that I'm trying to beat him. (I think he has baggage from his past)
I also got to watch all the remaining lessons for the day, and we had a great lunch that Carol provided for us. I learned a lot, and I hope to lesson once a month to keep progressing. I am on the waiting list for Carol Coppinger's super camp in April, and I am enrolled in Kathy Baar's clinic in March.
A funny note-when loading to go to the lesson, Sonny was stonewalling me a bit, but the minute, and I mean the minute that Villa arrived a the back of the trailer, he suddenly decided it was time to load up. It felt to me like he thought 'Oh gee, now there's 2 of them, I might as well give it up cause I know I'm gonna hafta get on here'. She didnt have to do anthing, just her presence did the trick. Funny boy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November 7th addendum

Seven of us who had been to the Rendezvous got together to share our experiences at the Rendezvous. I learned, or re-learned what I had forgotten, that when a horse is right brained, in order to get a change in his brain, a hindquarter disengagement is needed. Simply changing directions, as in the circle game won't get the desired effect. The CROSSING OVER of the hind leg, as in stop turn and face of a squeeze is what is needed. Sideways, or backing also may help, but the crossing over of a leg to turn and face is most effective. It is physcologically based in the instinct to run a preset distance --?100 yards? for most breeds, then turn face and see if the predator is still in a hunting mode, or has lost interest.
Also, just prior to our meeting, I got the opportunity to ride L's horse, Bozzy. After licking and chewing on that experience, I have realized , or realized that I experienced a couple of interesting things. Bozzy was great, very soft, offered up an opinion to go thru the gate a time or two, but never argued like Sonny does. At a slightly downhill area of the arena , he volunteered a trot, but I asked him to resume a walk. After thinking about it, I wish I had let him continue the trot. I have felt less than confident or secure at the walk, and have thought I wasn't ready for the trot. But , in retrospect, I was comfortable at the few steps of trot,,,I think I was as confident, possibly more confident than the walk. Could it be that the trot feels more secure than a walk??? soooo, I have browsed around looking , and found a statement by Linda what when you are riding with fluiditity, the walk is actually less secure feeling than the trot. Wow. Yay, me. Hope I can hold onto that feeling of confidence when I'm on Sonny.
The next thing that I experienced with Bozzy that I hadn't before experienced is that at the 9 step backup, he & I were totally in sync--when my body moved back with the left hip/shoulder, he moved back with his left leg. We backed up several steps in sync left & right. It felt very cool! I think I've seen/read that it should be my upper body---not drive with the hips, but being in sync was awesome nevertheless.
Also, while riding Bozzy, I got to practice a 'for real' controlled catastrophe. Not a big one, but not a staged one ,either. A young girl ran up to the fence, I'm sure she didnt mean to be predator-like in her behavior, but she kinda slinked up in the treeline and peered into the arena to watch. Perfectly innocent on her part, but I could see it spooking the horses by either seeing her predator like approach, or by not being aware of her presence untill they passed by and she moved. Anyway, I asked Bozzy for an indirect rein/HQ disengagement, and we faced her. She seemed very surprised, but Bozz was completely unflustered. I'm not sure if he ever did see her, he never reacted. Altogether, that brief ride was very good for my confidence. The only down side of it , is that I couldnt get a sideways....and I thought I was asking correctly and clearly.

with homeschool, doctor's appt., working extra on Sat., church and on-call on Sunday, I doubt that I will get to go see Sonny this weekend. What a bummer!!! I haven't been able to see him since we got home from the Rendezvous.
On an up note-at the get together we set a date --Dec. 4th, for our next lesson with Carol Herring. It will be private and semi-private lessons. I'm very excited about that. Plus, V, D, and I are sending in applications for Kathy Baar's L2/3 two day clinic in March. I hope,hope, hope that I can do at least one lesson per month to help me progress.Annnnndddddd, I am on the prospective participant list for an event that Carol Coppinger is planning in April.

Studying SC dvd's while I'm unable to play.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 7th,2010

Since posting last: Audited one day of a Carol Coppinger L3/4 camp
Participated in a L2/3 Online/Freestyle group lesson
Attended, with Sonny, the first Parelli Rendezvous in Jacksonville, Fl
Studied the Blue L2 w/ Linda teaching, studied the old L 1 & 2 Savvy System with Pat teaching, watched the L3 of this series
Have continued to progress, slowly, with Sonny--change of direction is much better, he is getting softer on several things, sideways is the most problematic area, he has trailered to 2 different events -loading is better--but we need the opportunity for us to have lots of play sessions on this Vs needing to load for a class or event trip.

Planned: A get together today with friends to share what we learned and experienced at the Rendezvous.
Signing up for a Kathy Baar L2/3 -2 day clinic in March.
Arranging for a private lesson asap with Carol Herring. It will be 3 or more consecutive private lessons so that I will learn from others lessons as well as my own.
Reading, viewing, studying........ !
Play and progress as often as possible.

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 11, 2010

We've had several sessions since my last post, including a Parelli Playdate at a friend's place.
At one session, I haltered another horse and took him in to play since Sonny turned and went away. I had a great Sesson with Bxxxx, and I think he enjoyed it too. I just tried to play with the same games/tasks that L had told me she was working on, so that it would be a productive session that might be helpful to her, and not just a non-progressive session to kill time till I went and tried to see if Sonny would catch me. After playing with Bxxx, Sonny did catch me when I went back to the pasture. How interesting. In fact, he's let me approach, or he has approaced me every time since. But, if he doesnt want to play, I have permission to play with 2 other horses so that I won't be driving 1.5 hr total for nothing. Though I'd rather play with and progress with Sonny, I do think it's good for my savvy to sometimes play with another horse.
Sonny did pretty well trailer loading to go and to come back from the playdate. It could be lots better, but it was not too bad. I did lead him in, look forward to the time when he will send in. I did several slip and grip times, letting him back out and not feel trapped, untill he finally willingly came on in and stayed calmly for the butt bar to be latched. He munched hay immediately after that with no signs of anxiety, except for calling to see why T & B weren't on the trailer yet! And at unloading time, he was trying to snatch more hay as the butt bar was being undone,,so for certain not anxious or in a big hurry to get out.
I felt at the playdate that our play was less than 70% of ususal, I felt somewhat frustrated, plus about half of the play tasks that were set up for us to all to 'do' were things that either I knew Sonny & I hadn't done yet--sideways without a fence over cones, or things I'd never played with--in a square-move hq or fq with only 2 feet out,moving 360 degrees. But, we did improve slightly after a few tries, and I ended up having fun, esp. after Sonny settled down and could focus some.
However, our maintain direction at circle is badly broken. I feel that he is being deliberately oppositional and defiant. He flips around without being asked for change of direction, then tries to blow right thru when I ask for a change of direction to get the original direction back. He gets really bracy , but I don't read it as RB. The playdate session was worse than the session prior at our barn,,,,where I thought we had pretty much worked thru it by asking for either back up quite a distance when he did it or an immediate ask for change of direction. Several sessions ago, I could get 6 or more laps in either direction, but now I can only get them to his left. To the right he goes less than a quarter of a circle then flips around. I've tried asking for the change myself just before the 'spot' simply to break the pattern, but so far that hasnt helped. Maybe more of that is needed. If I 'nag' by eye or CS, I can 'push' him thru that 'spot', but I don't think that is the best, or even savvy way to fix this. I've thought of windmilling the CS to create a wall that he would have to run into to make it easy for him to do the right thing by turning back to the asked for direction. I've never seen or read that technique, and it may be too radical and blow him up.
It's soon time to consult a PP if I can't fix this. I can't let this develop into a full blown pattern for him.
On a good note, he is doing much better on change of direction when I ask for it,, mostly goes with only a lead of the rope , ie phase 1--unless the running backwards is phase 1,,and I guess it is. Oh well, doing good on a soft phase 2, then. :)
Another dilema I'm having, is how to get him to jump a barrel when I ask. Rarely will he do it. I ask, and allow......allow.....when he loses focus, back up and resend. I guess I give up too soon, just need to repeat, repeat, repeat untill he finally takes the jump. I wonder if that is L1 technique, and L2 technique would be different. Another question for a PP if I don't get the desired response pretty soon.
All other tasks/patterns are coming along pretty nicely. I've sat on him 2 different sessions, can't exactly call it riding yet,,,though I did work on the reining positions,,can't remember if I''ve already posted about this yet since I've had at least 3 sessions since the last post. He's doing much better, getting soft on lateral flexion. Somewhat bracy on HQ yield/indirect rein. Pretty nice on 9 step backup, but begins to question and get bracy if asked for more than 2 or 3 steps. I'm still confused on the correct cue for slow down other than to begin a lateral flexion or 9 step backup. Seems like I've seen on a dvd to lift 1 rein, or jiggle one rein, but that was a long time ago and not taught at all at the course in April. L is arranging a group lession with a PP , and I hope to concentrate on freestyle, so hopefully I will get it clarified for me then. I have to shim the bareback pad to keep it from slipping forward, and am looking at an Abetta saddle. Don't have the funds at this time to order it.
I havent played with liberty lately, but watched some dvd from the old blue L2 last night , and got some good ideas from that.
Wooooohoooooooo! I'm playing in 3 Savvys now,,,after being in only Online for so long.
I'm getting close (but 'close' could take unknown amount of time to actually complete---few weeks to few months to ???? ) to completing all the tasks and mandatory patterns in L2 !!!! wow! yay me! Still need to be successful with figure 8 at trot, and all the sideways and squeeze tasks, and a few random other tasks. Only took me a year and a half to get here,,,,but with approx 1 day a week, ,,,that's only 3 months or less compared to someone who gets to play nearly every day. I like thinking of it that way!!!!
I've asked for a 4 week leave of absence to go to a fast track course in Feb. (gulp!!!!)
Be particular without being picky. Leave the horse feeling smart and successful.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 29, 2010

After a traveling weekend (to the Columbus Ohio PARELLI event!!!), I got to sneak in a couple of hours with Sonny this morning. He came to me in the pasture, but I was within 20 ft of him before he noticed me. But, he did come willingly to me. We played mostly inside, last session of 7 on 4 feet on Pedestal !! I tried figure 8 at the trot, and he gave me a half way decent one, and several not so decent tries,,but I marked it as teaching session #1. Weave at walk/trot is going nicely-this was session #3 ,and it's improving, getting quite nice, I can see that he's getting the pattern of it. He gets the figure 8 pattern at the walk really well, but it hasnt' clicked with him on the trot. how interesting.
Today was session #3 on level 2 trailer patterns. I also asked him in, and got all 4 feet, but he was skeptical and didnt stay in long. I ended after a nice 2 feet in with calm attitude,,,lots of praise and called that task quits for the day.
We did bounce ball on horse, he's calm on the right side,and a tad skeptical on the left, but tolerates it with only minimal drifting.
We played some on the 45 ft line , I was super clutzy with it today, and I had difficulty getting him to make a circle, he made half or quarter attempts, then would change direction on his on. I did get a few complete circles, and did get the canter a couple of times, sometimes snitty, sometimes calm.
Completed session #3 on hold up a foot with ss.
Worked on change of direction at trot =this was teaching session #4, he's getting better, no arguing today, he's getting the idea,,,still have to wiggle the rope, or wiggle string for a slight slow down first when he's going to the right.
He pushed the ball several feet with his nose, gotta work on with his chest, I guess.
I seem to be always too tired to do obstacles, just seems like too much thinking involved. Maybe I need to plot a course ahead of time , and do that first.
Of note, on the 4 feet on pedestal, I got it from a further distance, about 4-5 feet away, which isnt much, but is a change,,usually I'm right at the pedestal.
He won't send thru the shower curtain, but will lead thru.
I've been working without my check list, just looking at it and checking after the session. I need to USE it DURING the session. duh, Fay.

Expect a lot, accept a little, reward often.
I inadvertantly got into a very predatory stance, crouching as turning to ask for a change of direction, can't figure out why, but I leaned toward him and it really freaked him out for a few seconds, I felt like a JERK. When he reacted-tossed his head and kicked-I immediately realized what I'd done, and couldn't blame him for seeing me as a predator, big time, but I also felt that I had to send a coil to let him know the kicking is NOT EVER acceptable. It smoothed over very quickly, he calmed and I asked him in for scratches and reassurance, then all was well for the rest of the session. He took off in a hard canter once on the 45' line, but no buck or kick.
I watched L4 liberty today, and I'm confused about change of direction. Pat shows and says to turn with the horse for change of direction, but the other dvd in the vault shows him turning against the horse for a change of direction. Maybe it doesnt matter which way you turn, as long as it gives the horse the message that something (a cue) is coming. ????
Anyhow, I'm inspired to have another libery session with Sonny and see how much of L4 we can do, I think most. However, also confusing , the pattern dvd shows a L2 for liberty, and contains tasks in L3 that arent taught till L4 in the new levels. I wish they'd make sure the levels and the patterns (also task lists) all continually match, it's confusing and would be (is somewhat) frustrating except that I plan to complete all 4 levels anyway, so I want to do/learn it all anyhow.
Be patiently persistent in the proper position.


Friday, June 25, 2010

June 24, 2010

Finally had a chance to go to the barn, only for a short session, but it's been almost 2 weeks since I've been. Work schedule is a cruel taskmaster, plus family reunion was last weekend.

Had a very good session! Sonny popped right up on both pedestals like he's been doing it all his life. Not a stumble or even requiring a second try-even on the taller/smaller topped pedestal.

Also, change of direction at the trot is getting considerably better. On a left circle, it's good enough to be moved to the 7 session list. Not quite there yet on a right circle, but he's turning much better. It takes a little wiggle of the rope to get him to pay attention, but then he does come toward me and give me two eyes, and does change direction when I ask with the rope. On a left circle, he was starting to turn even before I lifted the rope to suggest the new direction. Nice!

The big trailer was out, so we were able to do L2 trailer pattern with the small trailer. Still good on that.

Bouncng the big green ball on him, and holding up a foot with SS for 30 secs went very well.
I was melting in the heat--triple digit heat index, so did very little stick to me at trot-I was too hot to even keep it up and try to correct. He didnt pick up the trot inside, but he did stop and back from the walk fairly well. Going toward the pasture for turn out, he picked up the trot--not on a rail/wall, and did stop and back up nicely. He gave me a fabulous savvy unhaltering with hardly a cue from me. Good boy!

Here's my current list from memory--the actual crumpled,sweat soaked-now dried-paper is in the car. I'm getting ready to leave in an hour for the Parelli across America stop in Columbus, Ohio-so kinda in a hurry. Sooooo excited !

7 session list

4 feet on pedestal--#6

hold up a foot with SS-3

travelling circles-3

L2 trailer-2


weave at trot-2

stick to me at trot-3

sideways with rail-3

I'm leaving things off, cant' think of them,,,will correct another time.

PS he didnt come to me, but allowed me to approach and put his nose in the halter.

L is working on a lesson with a 2* PP for a group of us, M has a playdate planned for the 10th.

Slow and right beats fast and wrong.


Monday, June 14, 2010

June 12, 2010

The oppressive heat impacted our session. Heat index was 104. I took multiple breaks the 4 hrs I was at the barn, and offered Sonny water each time. We played mainly with 4 feet on pedestal, change of direction at trot, undemanding time, bounce ball on horse, pick up soft canter on cue/circle,,,oh, and sideways facing the trailer-side and back. I had planned on more, but had to adjust because of the temp. and humidity.
4 feet on pedestal: Sonny has this nailed, even on the taller, smaller pedestal. A foot slipped and he came off/fell off rather clumsily, but readily tried again when I asked him, after getting his footing back. Good boy!
Change of direction at trot: Getting it, but it's still pretty ugly at times. Still noticeably better going right. Betweeen last session and this one, I gave it some thought and decided that the keys to success which must be missing are knowledge,technique, and support. Inadvertently, I ran accross a video in the SC vault that was helpful. I was browsing the liberty self assessment video and watching Pat do change of direction at liberty, made me lick and chew. He turned against the horse's direction in a crouched position for about a quarter of a circle then ran backwards, still crouched. Watching it, I could almost feel the draw from his bent inward belly button to the horse. I'd never seen that particular technique before. ahhhh, new twist on technique, new knowledge, support received. So, with what I had already thought to do, and this new approach, I was getting better success. Sonny is still bracy and somewhat oppositional, but I was getting a change of direction most of the time. He did argue about it a few times, and he did ignore all cues(opposition?) and just keep going a few times, but by the end of the session, I believe he was clearly getting it. Maybe playing more intentionally with the draw in some yo-yo's will help ,too,,although I thought/think my draw at yo-yo is good, quite good, actually....hmmmm
undemanding time: this is probably way over due, esp since he has not been coming to me or letting me approach him in the pasture. Today, he stopped and winny'ed at me on the first whistle, then turned and trotted away to the far pasture. I went back to the barn and retried after 20-30 mins. He turned away and trotted off when I tried to approach. Retreat to the barn for another 20 mins, went to the far pasture ignoring him, and found a big rock to sit on. Tried to outlast him, hoping he would get curious and come to that side of the field. He didn't. Neither did any of them. But, he did let me approach , and accepted a cookie and the halter. In the indoor area with the undemanding time, he did come to me , after a bit, and nuzzed around , prob mostly looking for treats, but he hung by me for a bit, then left,,and came back another time.
Bounce ball off horse: While at liberty, before rehaltering after the undemanding time, on a whim I started bouncing the ball and for the first time, I was able to bounce it high enough without him stepping away to try bouncing the ball ON him. He was slightly skepical, but allowed in on both sides, even rolling it completely over his back and off the other side. Adding this to the 7 session list. yay!
Pick up soft canter:continues to improve, especially to the right (no surprise here), not only picked up a soft canter with a soft/medium expression, but went 3 complete laps , then I asked him to transition down to trot, he did that within 2-3 strides. very nice. To the left, he picked up a not so soft, but not snotty-bronco horse style- canter, but wouldnt maintain direction beyond a quarter of a circle unless I caught him just before he did a quick change of direction on his on, and drove/asked him to continue. Most of the time he was faster than me. I don't think I ever got a complete lap to the left. Next time, maybe I'll continue to drive beyond the first quarter of the circle before I go into neutral and see what happens.
Trailer: surprise opportunity to work on L2 online trailer pattern of sideways. The small trailer was gone out, so there was room enough on one side of the bigger trailer to sideways down the side (facing the trailer), accross the back, then back again all the way up the side. There wasn't room to go up the other side like the pattern actually requires, though. Sonny did so good, only hesitated a bit when he had to make the corner each way, and since we've never done any sideways with that kind of maneuver, I was very pleased at how well we did overall. In spite of the far side being unavailable, I'm chalking that one up as session 1 on the L2 trailer pattern!! yay! cause I know we've done the back of trailer squeeze many times. Wonder when I'll get that opportunity again??
I was a little bit dissappointed that I didn't get to work my entire plan for the session, but by 9pm I was very tired, and there wasnt a dry stitch on me anywhere. Sonny seemed to fare better than me. He never worked up a lather even with a lot of trotting and some canter. He was dark with sweat in areas, but not lathered. I did do a whole lot indoors-covered, and didn't go to the roundpen untill the sun was very low in the sky--not so brutal. Of interest, I'm noticing how well his back, just in front of the croup is muscling up,,he has a much better topline than he had 6 months ago when I did the hill therapy with him. He got some better immediately, but most of the improvement has been over time, and I can't help but think it's to do with the fact that we are playing more consistently with the higher gaits since my course in April, and he is relearning how to use his muscles more effectively. I can't tell if his head is nodding down at the trot yet, it definately used to nod upwards,,,,need someone else to play with him so that I can watch him all the way around the circle with him relaxed and not feeling driven.

Knowledge, technique, and support are availalbe somewhere!! just look, ask...
I've written to a PP to schedule a semi-private lesson in freestyle !!


Monday, June 7, 2010

June 7, 2010

Crummy ending to a crummy day. Drove the 45 mins to the barn, and Sonny didn't want to play. I went to the pasture 3 times and he didn't come to me. I even walked almost to him, and he walked AWAY. He's only done that 3 times in the 2 years that i've owned him, and the other 2 times I had done something to really tick him off (in his opinion) in the session prior. So, I'm wondering wasssup ??? Hmmmmmm, the only things I can come up with are that #1 the last session and this time were in the evening,,,,does the grass taste sweeter in the evening and he just rates grazing over playtime with me/cookies ?? cause I've noticed that none of the horses are coming to me except good ol Justin and donkey Jasper, but usually some others come to greet me....... #2. I've become more focused so far as having a plan of how our play will go , these last 2 sessions,,and especially today. Could he feel my focus and it felt too much like direct line thinking to him? I mean, I really had a PLAN, even had stuff written down for the first time ever. Of course, I knew it had to be flexible,, play with the horse that shows up, etc....but ya can't play with a horse who doesnt show up. :(
Chances are slim to none that I'll be able to go to see him tomorrow, and then it's back to work, and no barn time possible untill the weekend. Meanwhile, to work on my horsemanship, I'll read SC forum, maybe watch the pattern dvds.
Play with the horse that shows up. *sigh*

Saturday, June 5, 2010

June 5, 2010

Recently instructor C asked a group of us via email : "what can you do today to improve your horsemanship?" I love that question and it's especially meaningful on a day like today when I'm unable to go to the barn.

Today I'm hopefully improving my horsemanship by reflecting on my most recent sessions- what went well, what needs improvement, what jewel of a moment I may have not appreciated at the time. Then, if I can, later today I'll find dvd's or information on the savvy club vault to help me problem solve.

Hmmmmmmmmm, some additional thoughts on yesterday's session that I didn't include in the post: I need to work on my FOCUS. In order to use the natural power of focus, I need to have much better focus. I feel that Sonny is becoming more of a partner with me, and he, at times, is really trying to tune in to me, and I need to help that take place by being much more aware of my focus. Yesterday, I realized that I was looking at the ground when asking him to go forward with me. I was thinking of what to work on next instead of being in the moment. From here on, I intend to majorly improve my focus!

Change of direction at the trot is broken. Session before last, he was doing consistently well on a right circle, and not so great-but doing it- on a left circle. Yesterday, I could hardly get a change of direction at the trot in either direction. Once yesterday, on a right circle, he showed opposition reflex and argued about it to the point I chose to use a phase 4 to correct him and finally get the change. The only things that I have thought of to fix this are focus and timing. Next session , I will begin to THINK of the ask for change of direction as he comes past my off shoulder, then begin to LEAN backwards (before actually moving backwards) as he gets to 10 oclock, then I am going to avoid pulling suddenly on the halter as I move backwards, just a few seconds hesitation may be enough for him to anticipate what's happening (before what happens) and respond correctly instead of getting high headed and oppositional. Can't wait to try it!

Once we get the change of direction at trot fixed, then back to the figure 8 at trot!

Weave at the trot ,I believe , will be improved if I ask (and get) Sonny to slow his trot as we go along. I'm having a hard time keeping us together, and he's getting a little unconfident. It's working, but can get lots better.yeah!

Our bring-in from circle online works great, so it was a mystery to me why it didn't work at all at liberty. I turned all the way around with him, leaning and looking at his rump, and he just kept going, in fact, got a little head up/uncofident with a harder look in his eyes, going a tad FASTER. how interesting. I finally turned my back to him, and that got him to soften and come in. Obviously, he's feeling too much pressure, but I can't yet figure out why. hmmmm, I wonder if online he feels a pull on the halter that I don't even know I'm delivering ,,and that's missing at liberty. Wonder if actually watching the L4 liberty dvd would help. Duh, Fay!! why did I try circle game at liberty BEFORE watching or reading any instruction? because I assumed (yikes!!-dont make assumptions) that things that are working great online should work at liberty. Now, I'm eager to seek information and tips on this one.

Two jewels that I didn't think a lot about at the time yesterday: on the circle Sonny had the best arc in his body that I think I've ever gotten from him. Aso, his nose/attention was slightly inward. The best yet!! It was in the roundpen, which , I'm sure made all the difference, ,,but maybe it can become a habit that will transfer to when we play outside of the roundpen.

When asking for 4 feet on the pedestal, I needed to realign him for the approach, and I was hot, sweaty and getting tired, so impulsively, instead of walking him away and back, or even yo-yoing him back,, with me in front of him and the pedestal between us,,,,I leaned sideways and stepped over myself while rolling the carrot stick in a circular motion toward his ribs and he took one step sideways which lined him right up where I wanted him. I blew right past that yesterday, as I was concentrating on 4 feet on the pedestal, that I think about it...that was huge. He stuck to me/mimiced the shape of my body by arcing his in the same way and crossing over his feet the same way. Huge!!

Issues: patterns that I haven't figured out how to do or how to work on: L2 trailer pattern is impossible the way the trailers are parked right now, and I hate to ask for any of them to be moved since I cant do it myself with my vehicle and V is always so busy doing all that she has to do at the barn every day...L is rarely there the same time as me, and I hate to infringe on her time with B horse to move her trailer out for ME to play around it. Need to think some more on this one.

L2 push the ball--Sonny pushes it great-but with his nose not his chest/legs. Instructor K at the course said it didnt' matter, but I wonder ...the dvd shows with chest/legs. She's probably right,,but it bugs me still.....

L2 obstacle course--ok, so I can't have one as inclusive as on the dvd, I can't continue to let that stop me from this pattern!! I can set up an obstacle course , watch the dvd, and start working on it!! gotta do it !!

OK, got a game plan to keep working on all the L2 patterns, (got the handy dandy worksheets and my blog list of 7 sessions ---2 great tools to keep me progressive) and I need to recheck the L2 self assessment tasks and make sure I'm on track with them.

Keeping things positive, progressive, and natural,

PS I think this blogging thing may be way more helpful to me on my Parelli Natural Horsemanship journey than I ever thought it would be. I'm glad I started it !

Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4, 2010

Sonny & I played for 2 hours today. I wish I could've stayed longer, but I had a doctor's appt.
He didn't come and catch me at the gate, in fact I had to walk to within 15 feet of him before he'd come to me. Also-neither Jasper the donkey or Justin (another horse) came to meet me either, and they are usually right there in my face to get a cookie. How interesting......
Sonny and I played stick to me walking in the pasture to the gate, not as well as yesterday, but fairly well. We went straight to the roundpen and worked on maintain gait at the circle. He did very well, this is improving nicely. He was able to pick up a soft canter when asked, and maintained it untill I either asked him to go down to trot, or brought him in,,,of course since this was only the 2nd day and 2nd session of a soft canter when asked, I didn't prolong it. I think the longest I let him go was a lap and a half. Such a big improvement from less than 2 months ago when he would get emotional and take off in a head tossing , bucking snit most of the time when I asked for a trot. Yay!
We also worked on liberty in the roundpen and that went fairly well. I realzied that we needed to 'learn' the stop and back up better online before trying for it at the trot at liberty. 4 feet on a pedestal is becoming an easy task for us. He let me hold up a foot for 20 seconds with the savvy string (thanks to instructor K at the April course), and we did weave at the trot, but not as well as yesterday.
7 Session list:
4 feet on pedestal-session 3
weave at trot -session 2
hold up foot w/ ss -session 1
pick up soft canter-session 2
online stick to me at trot on a rail-session 0
traveling circles at trot-session 2
sideways facing a wall/rail-session 2

Not good enough to put on session list yet:
change of direction at trot
figure 8 at trot (see a big connection here???? )
play on 45' line
move hindquarters toward me on a mounting block

I think that's it for today.
Keep it savvy.