Sunday, November 21, 2010

Being more provocative

Went with a plan today to engage Cici's mind. Sunday morning is quiet - so quiet absolutely no one was at the barn. Set up the arena with cones for weave, barrels, low jump, mounting block and wheel barrel (hey gotta use what's on hand).

I'll admit last night I watched Rick Lamb's interview with Linda on horseanality, looked at the tasks on the self assessments for Levels 2 and 3, and reread Cici horseanality report. I'm determined to be the best partner I can be!

Her big red dot is in LBI but right at the x with extrovert and right brain. Meaning she can bounce all over the place at the slightest whim, but is generally LBI. The report was done almost 6 months ago and while reading through it I am thinking she has progressed and maybe I'll consider another report.

Back to The Plan. I haltered her carefully, noting that she dropped her head and turned her nose toward me. Walked quietly to the gate, with Casey nudging along with us. I asked her to walk out the gate and followed, letting her drop her head and eat the grass while I dealt with the electric wire and the gate's latch. Gave her time to nibble. Then trying for no resistance, twirled the rope at her hind quarters and she lifted her head and we walked to the arena.

Started off with touch it. Have not played this for quite some time. She walked to the first cone and stopped. Then she walked one more step forward and I asked her for two steps back. She looked at me asking huh? I asked her touch the cone with her cute nose. She dropped her head and touched the cone. Then sent her to the low jump's end. She touched that. Off to the mounting block. Touched that and I gave her a treat. So she touched it again and looked at me. When no treat was forth coming she rubbed her nose on the mounting block - gotta be a treat in here somewhere.

She was engaged in the game. And willing to touch things. Still walking quietly and a bit hesitantly toward each of the objects. Since she was about 8 feet away from me I asked her to walk on a circle. But I didn't want to tax her so I asked for one step on the circle and stop. Huh?!?!? Let her rest and think about this. Waited. Waited. The radio was playing and I wanted to dance about, but I tried to quiet my energy to match hers. Got a lick.

Asked her to walk 2 steps and stop. She wanted to go for 3 but I stopped her at 2. Waited. Waited. Waited. I turned a bit away from her and got a lick and chew chew chew. So I suggested 3 steps would be a good idea and she gave me 4 before I could ask her to stop. And immediate lick and chew.

And now she can't stand it any long so she walks off on the circle for 4 more steps and with lively energy walks in to me to stop in front of me and chew. I suggest she back and she goes out softly. Wow this is incredible stuff. Thanks Linda!

I mix things up and ask for a couple of steps on the circle than I ask her to go sideways. I don't have to move my feet. She is paying careful attention to me.

Next I've been wanting to work on sideways to mounting block. Wasn't that in the last Savvy Club magazine? Position the square cube mounting block along the wall and position her facing me, perpendicular to the wall. I reach the carrot stick over her and ask her to move her hindquarters over. We are both a bit not sure what we are doing and she gives me sideways down the wall. I'm standing on the mounting block and she is just floating away along the wall for 10 to 15 feet! Licks and chews.

I can't believe this! So I ask her to come back to me and she now goes sideways down the wall in the other direction! I let her rest for a while down there. More chewing and then I gently ask her to sideways towards me. She crosses her front feet and then her back feet. An absolute first ever. I stop and let her think about this. And then yo-yo her to me by just stroking the rope.

I am focusing on doing the littlest I can. Will the least amount of foot movement (my feet that is). We are both quiet. And she is so connected!

Just experimenting with things now. Can I lead her by her forelock? Gentle pressure and support with halter and lead and in a few tries she is willingly coming with me. Back from tail? Yes!

I put the 12' lead on and loop it around her neck and play stick to me. Weave the cones, jump the jump, circle around the barrels. We are running - I'm running and she is trotting with me and licking away furiously and clearly having fun.

Last night I was reading Linda saying that grabbing for grass can be an expression of dominance, and when you are in partnership with your horse they will not do this. When we finally walk back out to the paddock Cici walks next to me without ONCE trying to grab for grass. I think I'm gonna cry.


~kim said...

Very cool Jamie!

JMG said...

I just hope I can keep my focus and build on this. Thanks!

~kim said...

I believe that you will. Afterall the 5th quality of a horseman is attitude and focus. :)

JMG said...

Today I lost the attitude and focus for a while. Started out well, but those pesky expectations got the better of me. And I WANTED Cici to trot in the circling game. Oh look I just typed game. Forgot that also. So with my introvert I put way too much pressure on. Sigh. Okay I recognized what I did and backed off. Of course I also got what I wanted - she was trotting nicely after her explosion - buck, head toss, gallop (on the circle I might add). I did bring her in and let her rest after 3 circles at a nice trot. The line between too much and not enough is very fine with her. Clearly I stepped over it. Processing what I did, I have to admit I was not being a partner, I was a predator and clearly WANTED that trot, no matter what it took. Yet another slap me up the side of the head moment.