Saturday, August 7, 2010

Week 3 of Fast Track @ Home

Fun sums up my week pretty well!

On Tuesday I had a teleconference session with my mentor
Rachel Jessop. For this session I had videoed our Liberty Audition in our makeshift round pen. Dove & I received a "Wowee" from Rachel when Dove offered to circle me closely at the walk! Rachel gave me great feedback and instruction on some areas to improve on as we progress our Liberty to Level 4. Although this audition video is good enough to submit, it was our first in the new round pen and so I want to practise a bit more and see if we can improve on a few areas. Either way I told Rachel that I would submit a video, either this one or a new one in two weeks before our Reno clinic. Yippee that is exciting.

And a note to my friend
Sophie, I think you may be interested to try this make shift round pen as I think you mentioned that you too only have large arenas at your stable? I had a difficult time asking for circles at Liberty in a large arena - Dove would simply leave. :) My version is 6 barrels set across one end of the arena and then I tied a strip of orange plastic fencing around the barrels. Because Dove would occasionally either duck under or jump over (that was a big surprise) I also put a cone on top of each barrel and then some object like another barrel, cone or block between the barrels to make it look more solid. I had tried using a bigger strip of fencing however the wind would pick up and then the fencing acted like a sail and would take all 6 barrels down. It was a funny sight to see me trying to tie the fencing that day. Then we spent a week playing online in what looks like a "circus" ring before attempting a Liberty session. So far she hasn't jumped or ducked under. Spice has helped as she often blocks the gate while waiting for a turn. lol Here is a short video clip of our "circus" ring. You may get ideas of how you could make one for you and Panter?

And if the Wowee from Rachel was not exciting enough, Dove started offering to paw the ground, much like Spice when she tried to teach me her version of Spanish walk. And two nights ago Dove offered to do this while I was riding her. So we have been playing with both of us pawing with one leg and then the other together online and while riding. That was super fun! I have been playing with both my mares together in the arena not only to save time but also to help them feel more confident and able to focus on play vs. the bogeymen in the bushes surrounding the arena. It is often a challenge as the free roaming horse will frequently stand in the way of our play or mug for a cookie. LOL they really do learn while watching. This is why I believe that Dove suddenly offered to paw the ground. She saw Spice get rewarded plus it was probably easier in her mind than circling 6 laps at the trot please. Oh boy I have my hands full with two smart, athletic and playful horses. Sure keeps me on my toes I tell ya.

We ended our week with a "Can You" challenge from my friend
Josefin. "Can You" trot or canter for 4 laps with only 1 send? Dove offered 5 laps at a relaxed jog and Spice gave me 4 laps which is a first for her! Plus Spice had 2 of the 4 laps with her head low and a relaxed trot while going left. Cool! I'll see what Cherokee offers tonight. Then we'll play with the canter next week. Although we've been playing with canter circles we haven't played the "Can You" game of 4 laps yet. This ought to be interesting.

Well friends that is all for now. How has your week been? Did you have any surprises or BFO's (blinding flash of the obvious)?


  1. Wow 5 laps! Thats cool! Hope you are doing good! Maybe its not a BFO moment: But I was at a Workshop at Karin 2-star PP last night. And I loved hearing: "Its just a game! And the horses will keep on showing that until we really understand that"! Take care.

  2. Excellent comment Josefin! It is just a game to our horses isn't it! They are great teachers when we are ready to play. I'm going to say "It's just a game" in my head this week. Thanks for the reminder dear friend!!