First I wanted (felt a need) to tape Dove & I again in prep for our next mentor session with Rachel Jessop on Tuesday so I tried another session of experimenting on long lines. We started out with one 22' line and Dove offered some nice trot/canter transitions. Still a bit high headed compared to our goals but she did not cross fire much. Then I started backing up a little at a time toward a 2 barrel jump along a wall. I wanted to test out what she'd think to do (or what she'd rather do) when barrels were in her path as she circled me at a trot. Surprise she jumped them a few times! How cool that she decided to jump rather than avoid them. Either was OK with me but I was pleased at her choice this time. Sometimes I think she'd rather not jump (emotional) and sometimes I think it hurts (physical). I have been on a mission to rehab her hooves for all those years before me that she lived with long toes and under run heels. Any of you hoof fanatics out there will get what I mean by that. ;) I think we have whittled down all the variables and now just need a bit more time to get her in lovely natural hoof form.
OK enough about her hooves! Back to our play session. So then we tried some long line play- two 22' lines. She was quite nervous and not as connected to me as I'd have liked but we persevered and I saw some out of control cantering online and also some controlled cantering. OK a mixed bag but at least she is honest with me. These days I really appreciate how Dove feels confident to let me know exactly what she thinks about what I ask or what we are doing.
We managed to come more together and play with transitions and even jump some barrels without leaving the planet entirely.
I was finishing up when my friend Juliet arrived. It is so much fun to play with Juliet and her horse Bodie! Dove was about cooked emotionally from our session so I moseyed with her back to her pen and took Chero out to play. I wasn't sure what he'd do tonight as he was very expressive in his desire to "get out of jail." Juliet & I did some warm up goofing about and then we tried taking turns playing with transitions on a circle using our bodies vs our swinging our sticks and strings. No easy feat with our two often rambunctious geldings. Gotta love geldings though. Chero is my sweet buddy, ready to play, very cautious but his curiosity soon takes over. He just cannot help himself! Frankly I think he'd rather come home with me and live at my back door in my yard. Very loyal he is. This night he was quite impressive as he offered some nice canters without all the normal hoopla..... well that is when I got my phases worked out right. My sensitive boy let's me know right away and very clearly when he does not appreciate how I asked him. LOL. He became more and more calm and relaxed as we took turns with Juliet & Bodie. In fact both boys did. How interesting indeed! We ended our session with a nice bareback ride up to his pen. Chero is so much fun to ride as his stride is very smooth and lilting... he is not physically gaited but has many Spanish horse qualities in his gaits. I tucked him in and gave him an extra rub and treat for such a lovely time.