Friday, February 26, 2010

Driving from Zone 3 continued

I have continued to play with this. Adding put your nose on for motivation. Cici will willingly work for food. So I placed wrangler cubes on the barrels, upside down muck bucket, mounting block, cones. She got very motivated to check everything out. Got so focused on moving to the next object I think she forgot I was walking along in Zone 3.

Oh its not perfect but more and more steps are stringing together. Her walk is getting more normal paced. I forgot to mention that the 1 or 2 steps were like molasses! So now we are walking.

I have begun to slowly move back. And yesterday I was walking along on her left side at her hip! Zone 4! And was able to ask her to turn and stop. Whooohooo.

We went out on the trails - walking single file out to a place where we could be side by side. Back to 1 or 2 slow steps then stop. But quickly had more and more. I stopped and let her lick and chew. We walked up and down this stretch of trail. My walking on her right as well as left sides. She seemed relaxed. Finally we did the whole stretch without stopping – of course we were headed back to the barn. We came to the last piece of trail which is single file. I asked her to stop and told her I would go ahead. As I got to her head she blew out this huge breath, and licked and chewed like mad. Guess she was glad I was taking that 51% back LOL.

Driving from Zone 3

Decided I am getting strong enough to have a ground lesson with Avery Gauthier on February 17th. I had emailed her telling her a bit about where I was, what had happened and that I ready to move ahead with something new.

She came, watched me and Cici for a couple of minutes and said here is the next thing for you to play with - Driving from Zone 3. She explained the 51/49% relationship. Horse has 51 you have 49. That by Cici walking at my shoulder she is allowing me to be the leader and not taking the responsibility. Hmmm how interesting.

Of course when I tried to walk at Zone 3 Cici would turn and face me. Or stop and let me walk past the drive line. Amazing at how creative she was. Quiet, soft, devious and persistent. Her version of passively persistent in her proper position!

Avery demonstrated and Cici would take maybe two steps and stop. Allow her to stop and rub her. Never tell her she is wrong. Just accept what you get and ask again. We played with this. Okay struggled is more like it. Staying behind the drive line was a challenge so I got my savvy string off the carrot stick and put it on Cici. Helped a little. I think the process of doing it was a bigger reminder than the actual string.

Not move my feet LOL! What a hoot. Cici was stop and I'd keep going. Past the drive line. She'd turn and I'd get out of position. She would crowd me and I'd move my feet and all of me out of the way.

Such a simple thing - boy was this hard. Eventually got 3 steps then 4 and 5 and 6. Half the arena. Tried it on her right side and we were immediately back to 1 or 2 steps.

Tarp Blanket

Boy its been a long time between posts. And I've been doing so much that I keep thinking about posting but don't quite get to. So looking back at the blanketing issue I decided I need to work on this.

I decided to use my small blue tarp, its wrapped up into a bundle and tied with a string. And the last time I tied it up I left a long part of the string hanging. Now I know why. It is the perfect length for me to hold onto the end of the string and drag the tarp bundle on the ground. And to hold onto the end and toss the tarp bundle up on Cici's back, and over her back, and around her feet and infront of her nose. And just all around her with not much effort (a good thing as this was still while my left arm had limited motion and strength).

I spent a couple of days just playing with the tarp bundle. At first she would do that startle in place she does when it touched her, but with lots of approach and retreat she got so she didn't seem to mind.

I then moved on the unwrapped tarp. I'd just grab one end and start to walk away from Cici. All of this tarp stuff was done with her at liberty. She could follow or not. Her choice. And yes she would always follow. Sometimes a stride behind sometimes 5 or 6 strides behind. I'd just walk along, checking over my shoulder to see where she was. And if she started off a ways behind she would always catch up to me and smell the tarp when I stopped. If I dropped it she would walk over it. If I kept walking she would ultimately walk beside me. Sometimes on her left side, sometimes on her right side.

Next I'd stop and open the tarp in front of her. If she remained confident and relaxed, I'd take the tarp to her side. And then rub her with the tarp. Progressed to throwing the crinkly tarp on her back. Smoosh it around on her back to make lots of noise. If she moved I'd retreat.

Spent 7 days doing this. At end of this time I could throw the tarp over her head! And get her blanket on with her checking me out for treats. Wow!