I took Cici across the street yesterday to play in a large grass field. A neighbor has this field fenced in and uses it as a jumping course for her daughter. Fortunately it was cleared of jumps. I gathered up my ropes and carrot stick and even dug out the 45' line. Finally I could use it!
Cici walked quietly next to me down the driveway, gently snorting. Hmmm, rereading that sentence I wish to clarify, she walked quietly, but she was certainly making noise! Nostrils get a little tight as she goes RBI. And the snorts - I use them as an indicator of how RB she is. When we are riding on a new trail she will snort. Turn onto one she has been before, snorts stop.
Walked down the driveway, across the street, down neighbor's driveway onto their lawn. Cici stops for a snack. Thinking about Linda's Zero brace whenever Cici drops her head to eat I wiggle the rope to ask her to raise her head and walk with me.
We enter the fenced field and I close the gate. Know there is a possibility of dropping the rope and want to set up this first experience for success. Not lose my horse.
Now we have ridden over here, but gone on the trails, not come into this field. Cici has her head up, well up when it is not down eating grass. She is thinking that this is a wonderful field to graze in. I switch the 12' lead to the 22' and walk her around. Since she has her life up I trot off and she is with me. As we walk and trot around it is head up aware to head down eat. Walk a couple of steps and drop head to eat. Trot together. Stop and head down to eat. I ask her for backing from zone 5 and she eats as she back up! Amazing!
When she is eating I try wiggling the rope to get her head up. Trying not to just pull on the rope. Ask for some back up - and then circling. I've played a couple of time recently in the indoor with transitions online and she decides to practice. So walk, transition to eat, trot, then downward transition to eat. Each time she is staying on the circle. Maintaining gait is not going well.
I am laughing and enjoying playing in the field and the sun and the wonderful Fall day. Appreciate her creativeness. How she takes a concept and makes it her own. LBI. I also know that the line between her LB and RB behavior is very fine. So when I ask for her to go forward on the circle I try and be soft. Work on my phases carefully. Perhaps I am too careful? too cautious?
She is trotting nicely, and stops to grab a bite of grass when she is behind me, then back to trot. I don't do anything but she spooks and does her quarter horse gather and push off and I just let the line go. Not going to hold her! She runs off a ways, the line behind her, she turns and the line now bounces and wraps around her front foot. I am standing still watching what is happening.
By the time the rope is wrapped around her front foot, she has turned and is facing me and stops and eats the grass. I walk toward her, taking off my jacket as the sun is getting warmer. Think about the fact that I am now flapping my jacket while walking towards her but she has the grass and just eats and stands still. I drop my jacket on my pile of ropes and finally walk up to her. She has lifted her head to touch my hand.
I loosen the loop around her leg and ask her to back and step out of the loop. Then we walk back to area where we were playing. Do some walking circles. Wow, great to have the space to do this as she is at the end of the 22'. Thinking it will be a while before I am comfortable enough to pull out the 45 and play with that. But that is a new goal.
As Cici goes around and stops to eat and I wiggle the rope through the phases to ask her to stay at gait she takes off again. This time she is staying on the circle! but slips on the grass. She skids and her back end slids out from under her and she sits down on her left hind. Then jumps back up and continues the circle.
It is clear to me that she is fine, but I am worried about the divots in the grass. This is the first time we are playing in the field and I don't know if the owner will be upset. And I want to come back! So I stomp the divots back and walk Cici around to make sure she is fine and gather up my bag and jacket. Walk back up the hill to home.
I can't wait to come back and play again here.