Since my last post we've had 6 straight days of a sweltering heatwave. My horses and I were sweating standing still ... in the shade! Thus most of our play time was imaginery. I must say we all did fantastic! LOL
We did manage to have some splendid moments with the water hose, and my horses enjoyed buckets of water soaked hay for lunch this week. Each day I kept thinking, ok tomorrow it will cool off a little..... so today when I felt a little warm breeze this morning I almost fell off my chair and spilled my coffee as I scrambled to get to the barn. I turned the arena sprinklers on to give the arena a little spritz and then grabbed my girls for long overdue playtime.
All of that visual practise paid off! As Dove & I tested our "shoulders in" online I could barely keep up with her. She was zooming about, almost floating really. This must be what David meant when he said when we got it, Dove would feel so soft like I was pushing a cloud. Ok well Dove was a cloud today. She has got this shoulders in on 3 tracks down! I thought to myself (hmmm maybe I said it out loud), that I need to try this while riding next time as I was huffing and puffing trying to keep up. And of course our circles are better. She's maintaining contact and traveling on the circle with all zones much better. In fact it was so good that we tried playing with maintaining the canter. It didn't take too may tries before she got it. At this stage she is not yet bent while cantering the circle but I did notice some moments of it. :) BIG GRIN I quit on a great note and she licked and chewed.
Since Spice is still a bit off from her altercation with Dove a week and a half ago(aka she did not yield to alpha) we played the Yo-Yo game. At first she kept assuming it was move back two steps and then turn left or right. Ah ha..... I thought, I can help you with this. Don't teach or make assumptions. Spice has been yo-yo'ing straight for sometime, however we had been playing with our circling game before she got injured so she started to "assume." It was truly fun to make it a "game." It took her a few squiggly HQ moves before she took a step straight back and I said Yeah and released. She looked at me and you could see she was starting to "think" about this. A few more one step at a time isolations and she was answering with lovey Yo-Yo's WITH a beautiful alert expression on her face. Yeehaw Eureka we got it!
Sometimes it's the little things that make us the proudest.
I hopped on Dove and ponied Miss Spice back to their pen. It was Cherokee's turn. He was eager as ever to get out of jail. Down to the arena we moseyed and I let him offline for a roll. He took two steps and then stood by my shoulder. Hmm... ok let's play! I wanted to check out where his circling game was. The walk was nice, but he was getting distracted and wanting to leave (veer off straight). Ah ha I recognize this! Then it dawned on me.... although Cherokee isn't as far along as Dove, I feel that I have progressed my savvy enough that I can help him travel straight on the circle now vs later having to fix it like I am doing now with Dove. WOW maybe this is what Pat means that once we get to Level 3 we start to have something to offer the horse. This is so COOL! So I tried playing the "don't leave me and keep looking at me" circling game. Have you ever played this? I'll try to explain, however I may need to refer you to David Lichman for a proper explanation. At first you ask the horse to circle you at a walk. If the head starts to look away, give them a pop with the savvy string on their HQ and say "look at me, don't leave." When they look back at you smile and ask them to continue walking. They will almost be walking around you sideways- with a deep bend in their body and both eyes on you. Exaggerate to teach. As you progress they will move farther away as they circle and have a nice bend in their body on the line of the circle. Although both eyes are no longer on you, one ear and one eye will be. Then of course you will try the trot and then eventually the canter. Today Cherokee & I played with the walk AND trot this way. He is THAT smart my little pony boy. Gosh he picked this up so quick that I was floored. I also had a BFO that this was a great extreme friendly game... sort of. Popping him on the HQ and then smiling when he looked at me may help him be less likely to bolt off when I use it in the future. It's become a game!!
Ok going of to bed to do some more thinking at night, coz we are going to play some more tomorrow!!