Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday after riding Jeeps as I was walking toward the gate I decided to back her out. Never done this before in this ring. Opened the gate wide and positioned her in the middle and asked for her to back. She took a step and then swung her rear around so that the next step she was basically backing sideways. Hmmm how interesting. Tried it a couple more times same. Okay this is a threshold for her. So I decided to lead her out and then back her in. Right outside the gate to the left is a small patch of grass. Another horse is lead over and starts to graze. All of Jeepers attention is on the horse and that fact she is eating. I don’t have one iota of attention. Long phase one and then phase four. Her head goes up to avoid the rope, oh and she backs a step. I ask her to step forward. Okay then back. Same thing happens. The person who was grazing her horse walks away and now Jeeps is focused on where this horse is going and where she is eating more grass. My phase four goes on and on..
Looking back - talk about setting myself up for failure! And I sure felt like one. I drove home thinking what was I thinking! What did I do to our relationship? Where was reading the horse? I forgot everything in my one focus to back her through the gate. Sigh.

Today I walk up the hill to her paddock and say her name (I’m coming out of woods and don’t want to startle her) and when I come to the gate she is waiting for me. Greets me and is ready to go. Today I’m going to try the change of direction (I’m behind). Because Jaz is also in the paddock I have to bring both horses down to the barn, put Jaz in a paddock near the other horses and take Jeeps to the indoor. Head high, calling to Jaz, Jaz calling to her. Okay, I know I have to make myself as or more important than Jaz. I start out with circling. She keeps stopping to put her head up and call or answer Jaz. I have to get my energy up (getting lots of practice these days) and constantly ask her for very specific things – two eyes, hind the hiney, send, stay on the circle. I finally have a horse walking around me. And I throw in change of direction. She turns in and when I ask for the change the end of the 22 foot line is across her path. She stops and is not going to cross over it.

I have worked and worked with rope. Walking over it on the ground, dragging it around, flicking it at her. She is fine. Then this kind of thing happens. When I’m directing the rope its fine. When she comes across it it isn’t. I back her and then send her and she walks over the rope. We have done this before, hate to admit with the 12 foot line. Going to the right she actually looks pretty quickly at me and then changes almost out on the circle. Going the other way, I have to bring her in and redirect. Hmmm how interesting.

I took a break and asked her to put her nose on things. Last week we had played one day with this. Today I drove her to the object and she reached forward and touched each and every one of the things I focused on. Wow! Never have I had this from her.

So does yesterday have anything to do with today?