Monday, December 21, 2009

Expect Alot, Accept a Little, Reward Often

We've been playing online with transitions on a circle where I do not swing the stick and string, but rather focus my energy (eyes, belly button and stick held straight) behind the drive line to ask for a change in gait. This has been an interesting concept to play with. David Lichman introduced it to me in a lesson at the beginning of this month and since then my horses and I have played with it about 6- 7 times each. I am seeing such improvement in such a short time. At first I got quite dizzy as we circled together, me focused on the drive line, trying to stay behind the drive line, don't trip, don't tangle up in my 22', energy up, life up, energy down, life down but keep walking, thank you......where is the drive line again? Phew what a puzzle at first..... for me!

Fast forward a couple of weeks and Dove is picking up her leads better. Previously she'd cross fire when cantering to the right. Is it the shorter intervals? Is it that by focusing on using my body I have slowed down enough to give her plenty of time to think about it first? Is it finally enough transitions vs circles at that gait? Spice has less head flipping and overall irritation. I think she likes this game much better thank you! And she too has more time to think about getting her body right for the proper lead. And Cherokee is finding more confidence and therefore kicks out less. He is truly a sensitive boy and hates to be pushed. Even with this game I have to be careful to give him more time to respond to my request. When I do he'll then offer the sweetest flying lead changes. It is amazing what my little gelding offers me when I get it right.

So the mantra ringing loud and clear in my head tonight is expect alot, accept a little and reward often. This is not new to me however after my session with Chero tonight it is a reminder of how important this is to my horses, especially accept a little & reward the slightest of trys. That gives them the encouragement to continue to offer me more, to be a partner, to trust me. It sounds so simple when we hear it, when we say it. This is a seemingly small but very significant piece to our partnership puzzle.

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