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, but....now 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 !