Although this is an area my horse Dove & I have been exploring and playing with for some time -can you say months and months :)- I think I may have found a pattern that will be most helpful in her understanding how to circle me without "leaving."
The barn we are boarding at took down the round pen August of last year to put up a larger arena and since the round pen is still not reassembled I have tried to practise our Liberty audition routine in a larger area. I must say it has been a challenge. While Dove & I have great rapport and a good routine for many things, circling me and the figure 8 (two little half circles) are still not where I'd like them to be for our audition. Hmmm isn't THAT fascinating!!! It has also been a very interesting quest (and quite fun I must add) because eventually I would like to play at Liberty in a larger space than a 50' round pen. So in the end my dream will come true and why should I not try a little harder for that now?
So this week as I have been implementing a Fast Track @ home I experimented with circling and Fig 8's and found that I had a clearer "neutral," and thus less pressure on Dove, if I sat on a barrel and asked her to circle me. Hmmm..... "How interesting!" She had a few moments of trying to "leave" but soon was circling quite close with slack in the rope. Excellent! I was going to stop our session there but she was groping for more "cookies" which I translated into human speak as "how do I get another cookie?" So I unhooked her lead rope and asked for a circle me at Liberty. Ah it was soooooo much easier for both of us. Ok we are BOTH now licking and chewing on this one.
I was so excited by this revelation that I tried it with my other 2 horses and BOTH of them liked it too. OK note to self- I am much better at my "neutral on the circle" when I am sitting. I must be buzzing with energy when I am standing. BFO!!! (Blinding Flash of the Obvious-- from my horses!)
What does Pat say? "The proof is in the pudding" So here is my "week 1 pudding @ Liberty."