Monday, January 31, 2011

Circling Game more laps

Oh I love my little girl Cici. She is right there for me today. Day 6 with more laps more laps and today she is just so willing. Right off offers 5 laps at walk. And a lovely walk if I do say so. Then trot, again nicely moving, 5 laps, and 5 laps at canter. What is so awesome at the canter, I just raise my hand and point one finger up and up into canter she goes. It is all so calm and effortless.

Change direction and at walk, lap one she stops to grab the mouthful of hay that is lying right in her path on the circle. Wonder why she missed it the other way? Lap two she stops at almost exactly the same spot and poops. Lap three she stops and smells the poop. Well she is maintaining direction and certainly looking where she is going. Two out of three is pretty good. I am laughing at her LBI behaviors.

We focus again and nice walk trot canter laps. Again calm and effortless. Wonder what tomorrow will bring - oh I know - more snow.

Four on the floor err pedestal

Casey is a super star! On Saturday I brought out the pedestal and asked him to put his front feet on it. Sunday day of rest. Monday ask for all four and here he is.

Do you think he is anxious to run off the the circus?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Riding once again!

Today the stars were completely in alignment. No one was in the indoor. No riders, lessons, trainers, stall cleaners. Just me. And Cici. Oh yeah and Casey.

M told me he was going to "fix" the back gate to their paddock. Seems Cici popped open the gate this morning. Fortunately she waited for an audience and did it just to show she could. But if the gate is to be fixed - well I am taking Cici out but leaving Casey behind - just not fair to M.

A procession walk up the shoveled path - Casey leading, me in the middle, and Cici following. Oh how I love Parelli. Orderly, quietly, calmly. Once in the indoor - what to do with Casey. Can we close the doors to the indoor? Front doors close, but last door in back is stuck in a solid block of ice. Okay guess its stall time.

I have never put Casey in stall. And I find out why - he starts kicking the walls, stamping his feet, screaming, oh and there is an empty water bucket that he can practice his drumming skills on.

Now my thoughts of having a quiet time to play and ride Cici are fast disappearing. Every time Cici and I get close to the stall the racket inside escalates. She is concerned about his distress. Her head is up. She is listening to him and not to me. Emotional fitness? I scream at the top of my lungs. Then I take a deep breath and begin to play with Cici.

Again I start out with liberty - lead over her neck. Pedestal - up she goes. Figure 8 around the cones. Sideways. Even a bit of backing. Online to sideways down the long side without me moving my feet. Then to Circling Game. She goes out on the circle and walks. Really walks. I remember when I could not get more than two steps without a stop or turn and face. It is amazing to realize how far we have come.

Get 4 circles at the walk, trot for 4 circles and canter for 3. The pieces are coming together. She is beginning to understand. If she does turn to check with me I can correct her by just pointing. Both directions walk trot canter. Ask her to trot and then walking circles over to barrels. She trots, jumps over and trots away. Woohoo!

Tack her up, a bit of sideways, backing, circling. She is listening. Its time to get on. I remember what Pat said about stick to rail - having his mastery students spend a day on it. So today that is all we do. Stick to the rail. All the way around the whole arena. There is hay on the ground outside a couple of the stalls and Cici stops for a bite to eat. I back her. Only takes 2 times of her stopping to eat and my backing her for her to just keep walking. Its been so long since the last time I rode and it feels like yesterday.

Pedestal Casey

A first! First time both feet up on the pedestal! Isn't he just the cutest, fuzziest, most adorable creature you have ever seen??!?!!?!?!?

Our play session begins with Casey taking me for a walk. Up the path from paddock to indoor, through the indoor, out to say hello to the Friesians. Bites Beau's face. Is that nice? Neither seem to mind.

The he decides to walk down the hill to the lower barn, through the parking area and into the outdoor ring. Everything has been plowed so he is moving. This is one of his favorite things - going to a dog walk. He leads I hang on to the end of the lead and away we go.

Through the ring, out the back gate and down the tractor tracks to the "far side" paddocks, Casey in one tire track, me in the other. We get to the paddocks where M is moving snow with the tractor and Casey reconsiders and turns around heading back all the way to the indoor.

Time now for a bit of focused play. I get out the big yoga ball, taller than he is. Casey flicks it away and leaps in the air, bucks, kicks out with both back legs and charges the ball. He now runs into it and keeps going, putting both knees into the ball while rubbing his face on it. He soccers the ball from down the length of the indoor.

And then he aims back kicks at me, and I know its time for really focused circling game. Full steam ahead! I send him out and ask for all he has and he willingly obliges - going as fast as his little legs will carry him - low to the ground. Hilarious to watch. After 4 or 5 laps change of direction and off he goes again. I ask him in and he quickly turns and faces. Not even breathing hard!

I get the pedestal out and ask him over to it. Takes only a few times using the savvy string and carrot stick to convince him that stand still on the opposite side of the pedestal is a comfort place. And then I porcupine the lead and ask him to take a step forward. Opposition reflex. I ask again politely. He pulls back. Ask again and puts his foot on the pedestal. But no weight on that foot. It is outstretched and I place it back a bit so that he is in a better position to be able to step out. And he does!!!!

He'll be ready for the circus in no time!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 4 more circles

Today is day 4 for more laps from Cici in circling game. We start out with a bit of liberty. There is a lesson going on in the ring with a little kid who is supposed to be staying on the track. Two cones had been placed as markers in the opposite corners, just off the track for the kid to steer around. I use them for point to point with Cic. Drape her lead over her neck and off we go. I have noticed that she will walk out with more energy if we start out with liberty.

Play with point to point for a while, then off to pedestal. Even do a bit of sideways. Then get her 22 and first play with backing and the circling. Get very nice 3 laps at walk. don't want to tax her LOL, building slowly. Trot very nice, change of direction and when I ask for trot she gives me canter. So I say thank you and ask her to maintain the canter, each time she comes down to trot. Three complete canter circles. To the right- and this from a horse who a year ago could not canter for more than 3 strides going to the right .... well as long as it wasn't her idea.

Today Cic is listening and soft and no hi jinx. Of course today would been the perfect time to saddle her, but there are now three lessons going on in the ring. But so happy with where we are in circling. A yippee most definitely!!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Groan, more snow

Excited to get to the barn today. Have time blocked out - ring to myself. Get there early to pre things. Chat with M for a bit and then set up indoor with pedestal, cones, barrel. Get all my equipment and saddle out and ready. Head out the back of the indoor.

Into more snow. Snow, snow, snow. Another 14-16" fell yesterday. My past hard work shoveling the path to the paddock was not evident anywhere. There was no path. The snow was smooth. And deep. So I began digging. And digging and digging to create a new pathway.

Sides are getting taller and taller. Casey sees me working my way down to the gate and comes and watches. As I get closer he sticks his head through the bars....where are my treats?!?!?! you were not here yesterday!!!

Dig my way down to the gate, and start shoveling out the gate. Casey can easily keep in touch (that means nipping me through the gate) as I work my way down the gate. When I finish on the outside of the gate and open it to work on the other side, he is now very interested in nosing the gate open and enjoying a bit of liberty. Without me! Keeping one eye on him I continue to shovel out the gate area. Worry about things freezing and then I won't stand a chance of opening the gate until a spring thaw.

Where is Cici? Eating her hay. With the temperatures low she is getting lots of hay. And she is eating it all. Every last morsel. She lifts her head up, while still chewing, and gives me a hello look. And drops her head back to the hay. She has fluffed it quite a bit so that keeps her busy - walking around eating up all the scattered hay.

I finish up around the gate and glance over to their shed. Boy am I in for a shock. From the other side it looked like there was a way in. From this perspective it is clear that there isn't! Snow from the indoor roof combined with snow from the shed roof have completely closed in the doorway. There are tracks on the flanks of this avalanche pile that show me Cici tried to get in. She must have sunk into the snow up to her chest. No way can I do this by myself. So I enlist the help of M to join me in shoveling out the door way.

I get to the barn around 10:00 and I leave around 1:30. And I never even get to put a halter on either of my horses. I'm exhausted and thinking about how sore I'll be later. I'm just plain worn out and don't even take another picture of the lovely path into the shed. And I still need to put away all the play things, my tack and equipment! I know someday I'll ride again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Value of the 7 Games

With all the snow we have I have come to value the 7 Games.

I dug out the back gate after the first storm. Thought I had moved enough snow at the time, but now with each additional storm the swing of the gate is getting smaller and smaller. It is one of those 8 foot wide metal gates.

I stand inside the paddock, swing the gate out and SEND Cici out. She quietly walks past me and SQUEEZES through the opening. She TURNS and FACES and WAITS. I practice a bit of YO-YO asking her to BACK into the deep snow and come back onto the path.

She is facing me as I fasten the gate and I DRIVE her forehand to turn 180 into the path I've dug in the snow that leads from the paddock to the indoor.

Driving her from Zone 5, she leads the way up the narrow shoveled path. How cool is that?!?!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Laps at Circling Game

Well I'm staying focused. Next 7 times we play thinking about more laps on the circle. This is day 2 LOL. More laps, kind of like "more meat, more meat" from Steeleye Span.

Cici starts out with a very nice walk. And she does two complete circles at this forward moving walk. As opposed to her not being able to walk more than 2 steps without stopping. I am very impressed and optimistic. I have the ring to myself, and have her saddle on the saddle rack, planning on freestyle stick to rail after staying on the circle online. I then ask for trot and she maintains gait, maintains direction and looks where she is going for six laps! Wooohooo!

Change directions and everything changes. Hmmm how interesting. She changes walk into trot and trot into canter with galloping and airs above the ground thrown in. She gallops around and over the barrels. Sure maintains gait and direction and looks where she is going as she leaps up up up over the barrels.

I am thinking about how I could not get her to move her feet not that long ago. Canter more than 3 or 4 strides? Now she is cantering around and around. I know I need to make sure the gait is my idea and have her maintain it. This is our challenge. Along with others LOL.

I practice asking for downward transitions and have some success. Sort of. Her energy is way up. So I bring my energy up, matching hers, and give one strong pull on the lead. She throws her head up, stops and looks at me, what did you do that for?

Now she is focused on me. I drop my energy but keep things moving and she is right there. Send is yes ma'am. We go to the wall for some trotting sideways and she floats down the wall. To the cones for figure 8 and she walks the pattern with only one finger point from me in the middle. And I'm almost at the end of the 22" line.

I go back to circling and ask for walk. She keeps breaking into a trot or canter. And I keep asking for downward transitions and staying on the circle. Finally she gives me one complete circuit and I call it a day.

Notice that her antics do not upset me as they used to. Emotional fitness. I even use the slapping the savvy string back and forth over my head and put a feel on the lead, when she is galloping and she turns in to me and stops. When she used to take off I'd drop my carrot stick. Now I keep it and use it as an effective tool. I notice that matching her energy causes her to notice me. Our partnership is developing more and more. I think I am being more provocative. Sure hope so.

Plan for today included riding. Amended that as I feel while I am getting through to her mind and feet, her feet need to move a lot more. There is always tomorrow. This winter is sure proving challenging. What is the saying - "It is what it is". Yup and I sure am having a great time exploring what it is.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Way too cold

It is 12 degrees when I leave home to drive to barn at 9:00 this morning. And watch the car temperature sensor drop to 5 in some cold areas, go up to 9 and then settle at 7 as I drove up the driveway. How could I do anything with Cici? It is just too cold! Look at Casey - his forelock is frosted - its all white not the usual henna touch ups he has done (and yes that is a piece of hay in the middle).

Watched the latest Savvy Club DVD with Pat a couple of nights ago. He had three of his students riding patterns. And he talked about the important of riding the pattern until the horse gets it. The importance of the circling game - maintain gait, maintain direction, look where you are going. And the importance of stick to the rail. Again maintain gait, maintain direction, look where you are going. That the horse should say, Oh I know this pattern, as long I as stay on it she will leave me alone. And it clicked. Finally clicked with me.

Dilemma, do I play with Cici or not. Decide to as yesterday she made it very clear she really wants to move her feet. Start slow with backing. Being inspired by Kim's postings recently, and other blogs - doing the littlest, and practicing what not good at - I play with backing. Cici is classic introvert and backing is oh so slow. I want to get it better. Play with my energy as well as intent. And slowly achieve 5 to 6 nice steps backwards. Steps with energy. Steps with intent. Wow.

Then over to the wall to play with sideways. Cici does a nice sideways, but her hindend lags. Today is about being particular, not critical. And lo and behold she can move front and back together.

Then circling game. And I decide to see how many laps she can do. At trot I get 1-1/2 and she turns in behind me. I send her and get another 1-1/2 and she turns in behind me. I send her again and canters behind me. Hmmm, how interesting. She is not maintaining gait or direction.

Now she comes in and licks and chews, and when I back her she shakes her head at me while I shake my finger at her LOL! She is feeling more comfortable, more dominant, more LBI.

When she is on the circle and decides to come in and I send her back she is bunching up for a gallop. And off she goes for a few strides before she turns in to me again. I send her back out - this is very provocative for both of us. Then I think of Avery having me slap the savvy string back and forth over my head while I ask her in using porcupine on the lead rope. She is cantering, having ignored my request for trot when I start swinging the carrot stick and porcupine the rope. She has a momentary hissy fit and I swear she is stamping her feet as she turns in and stops facing me with both eyes.

I can see we need to play with circling more than 2 to 4 times. Its that balancing act of boring her and getting through to her. Realize I've been afraid of boring her and clearly have not gotten through yet.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow tunnel

We have had a snow storm with 24" and then one with 4" to 6" and then ice, rain, wet snow. Yuck! All the snow is slowly compressing. Today as I was walking around in the paddock, I glanced back at the shed. Shed? where is the doorway?

The shed is built onto the side of the indoor. With the warmer weather (rain not snow) and all the rain, the snow that had accumulated slipped off the roof. And piled up in front of the doorway to the shed. The top of the snow drift/pile is maybe a foot below the overhang of the shed.

I walked up the hill to the shed and saw that Cici and Casey did walk out - I think they were in the shed eating their hay when the snow slide occurred. I look at the deep tracks and at the overhang and wonder how Cici ever managed to clear it.

It took me 20 minutes to dig out a path. And when I did I put Cici's halter on and asked her to follow me into the shed. I wanted to make sure she was not afraid. She walked in and let out an enormous sigh. Casey as you can see had no problem either.

Featherweight rope

I had to get out the new featherweight rope today as my 22' line was wet, dirty and soooo heavy I just could not use it. Wow the featherweight is exactly that. Featherweight. My phases became oh so soft. Cici became oh so much more attentive. She loved it!

Sideways all the way to the end without my moving my feet. Played with trotting sideways and got several steps in each direction, and when she broke from the trot she was walking very lively.

Sent her to the pedestal and she floated over to it and up. She gets a bit careless with her feet. She just steps on the very edge. She steps on the very edge with just part of her hoof. She has stepped off the pedestal and crossed her legs, and I thought she was going to fall over. I told her she has to pay attention to her feet.

Played on the circle. Wow. The feel is so different. Its like having a kite. It feels like flying! If this is liberty I really need to get serious and figure out some way to create the illusion of a round pen for Cici to play in. At the end of our time, I took the rope off and asked Cici for a figure 8 around the cones, Just By Pointing!!!!! Yippee!!! Whoppee!!! She is my rock star.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Its Cold

Today in the middle of the day it was 18 degrees. I had all these plans and when I get to the barn they go out the window! Lessons in the indoor. Big horses, teenage riders, ground poles.

What to do? I know undemanding time! I have tights, fleece socks and winter fleece lined breeches along with insulated muck boots on the bottom, and three layers of fleece and my Mountain Horse coat on top. Gloves and a hat to finish off the outfit. Get out the three legged folding camp chair and set it up on one of the paths in the snow.

At first I am admiring Cici and Casey's butts as they eat their hay. Its a nice day, okay a bit cold but I'm prepared. I sit and enjoy their appetites. I look around at the other paddocks that I can see from my hill perch and notice lots of hay in those paddocks. I look back at the pitiful amount left by Cici and Casey and know that they have been in hoover vacuum mode.

Within a couple of minutes Cici lifts her head and looks around at me. I wave. She slowly and carefully turns (care due to the snow) and walks over to me. All the way over me - head over my head - here is my view:

I reach up and scratch under her jaw. Her winter coat is thick and long and underneath here she is beginning to resemble a wooley mammoth. I scratch for a while and then take my hand away to rest. She lowers her head a bit. I reach up and scratch some more. Moving up and down along jaw bone. She stands very still and closes her eyes. I stop and she has her head in my lap!

Hmmm how interesting. Wonder if I can use this technique for bridling from my knees, or sitting in a chair!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Trotting Sideways

I didn't know that was where I was going today. But what a way to finish! The last five days have been dealing with snow snow snow. Today was my first time playing with Cici in the indoor. I was all full of energy and bouncing and dancing to the music. Thought Cici would be too. Oops.

Turned out today was one of those oh no not again duh!!! moments. One of those fleeting awarenesses that we have been here before, at this very ah ha moment. Again. My continuing ah ha duh moment concerns sending, really sending Cici. Not nagging, or begging, or pleading. Not being careful not to upset her. I need to go to an effective send.

And today I got there!!!! And after that moment I asked her for sideways along the wall and she offered a TROTTING sideways. A first! Wow!!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Undemanding time in the snow

With all the snow there is in the paddock I think I going to try and widen the paths, already trampled areas and around water trough. But a little bit each day. Hopefully. I happen to glance at the Friesians (3) paddock and it is trampled almost smooth. Maybe I'll ask M if I can borrow one to help me.

Both Cici and Casey greet me at the gate. This is definitely habit forming. And we nuzzle a while. Then I go off on my rounds. Shovel out their eating area, work on the path to Cici's hanging out with Cheeta place and also enlarge that space. Then dig out the other gate and around the water trough. Exhausted.

I get my folding camp chair that hangs in the shed and set it up for a bit of rest and undemanding time. Of course I set it down on a path. Get comfortable and think, "Hey great time and place for picture and video taking." And I have remembered to bring my camera. Cici is hanging out with Cheeta at the fence, enjoying (I hope) the larger area I have just shoveled out, and Casey is at the far end of the track watching me.

Get thinking that maybe Cici would like to hang out without her turnout. So I get up and take it off. Hang it on the gate and go back to stand with her. Casey removes it from the gate and is now trampling it. I go back to hang it up on the gate and turn around to go back to my chair...

Once I've brushed all the snow off I sit down again. Cici walks over to me on my left and starts nuzzling me and looking for treats. Casey is watching and since he is sure I'm giving out treats comes up the path on my right. Who's undemanding time is this? I just want to sit and they sure are demanding LOL.

I keep backing Casey up out of teeth range and Cici is now standing with her head hanging down, nose nuzzling my hair. This is heaven.

Of course Casey creeps into nipping range and disturbs the tranquility. Cici goes back to checking me out for treats. And then she decides its time to put your foot on it - only the "it" is me and the chair! I gently discourage that thought.

After another round of just hanging out all together quietly, Cici turns and walks over to see if any hay has miraculously appeared. She gleans the hay dust that is left in the snow and then sees my snow shovel and decides to help out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Slot car Casey

We got a ton of snow on Wednesday. Okay maybe not a ton but close to 2 feet for sure. Too deep for young master Casey. He now only travels around the paddock in Cici's tracks. And she has made quite the circuit around the paddock. He fits right into the track and away he goes - like a mini slot car! Here he is standing by the gate where I've shoveled some of the snow away. And he is standing on the packed snow and not sinking!

Today I dug out the back gate and a path up the hill to the indoor. I went down to the barn to check on things, chat with friends and pick up Cici halter. Figured I play with her in the indoor. Without her blanket, on ground that is not white and when she steps into it sinks up to her knees.

As I was walking up the hill to go through the indoor I had this thought - did I close the back gate after I dug it out? Was Casey running around loose somewhere? I looked over at their paddock and saw Cici eating her hay, but could not make out a little munchkin. I glanced at the paddock that is behind hers, on the other side of the path and noticed the two horses there were running around. When I got to the indoor Cici started to call to me - He's loose and up to no good!

I hurried through the ring and out the back. A large swatch had been plowed and my path led off of that. As I got outside there was the Casey trotting down the path. I hurried to block him and threw the lead over his head. He was the perfect slot car - he would not step off the shoveled path and he could not turn around. Stuck! Thankfully. I was able to put Cici halter on him and lead him back to the paddock. So much for his liberty adventure!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Playing, just playing

Today I had time blocked out in my mind to play and ride Cici. I have a next lesson scheduled, okay its still several weeks away, but I want to be ready for the next THING Avery will throw at me LOL.

When I got to the barn, M told me she was going to be working Max. I had looked at the schedule board yesterday and saw a blank space that I decided to use. I made the mistake of not writing down my initial on the board. Though with M I don't know if that would have made a difference. But I've learned my lesson. I will write down my times. Period.

Cici and I first played with her 12" looped around her neck. She was walking. Really walking forward with me at her side. Walked to the pedestal and got right up. I kissed her nose. Okay I kissed and kissed and kissed her nose that was just the right height.

We played sideways down the long side. We played with the ball, with Cici following it and kicking it forward and staying with it. I had to catch up!

I walked her over to the mounting block. And unlooped the 12' rope. Moved the mounting block against the wall and this is the second day I've asked her to swing herself sideways to the mounting block - preparing for mounting from fence. Took a bit of persistent tapping on zone 4 but she did indeed move over to me. Way to go little girl!!!!

Played online with 22' - circling game. And figure 8 around cones at trot. This is big as since we have been playing with the pedestal Cici has been more interested in playing put your foot on everything - the cones have a big attraction. But today nice figure 8 at trot around the cones. Whohoooo!

M was long lining Max, a RBE, ex racehorse who hasn't been used in about a year. He was having issues. He was not pleased. M was using lots of voice commands and encouragements. I realized how quiet I am. And also realized that I didn't want to deal with this while I was riding and practicing stick to the rail and maintain gait.

So instead of getting upset, I focused on what a wonderful time I had just had with Cici. How soft and focused she was. What an amazing partnership we are developing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snowy Trail Ride

Went out today for a trail ride. Checked out the footing yesterday with Casey and the old snow is a little crunchy and the new is light and fluffy. Turned out to be perfect footing. No snow balling in the horses' hooves.

Also tried out my new winter riding boots - Christmas present - Ariat barnyard jodphur boot. Insulated. Warm toes. When I first got into the saddle I felt like my knees were up under my chin. Wow, I got off and lengthened the stirrups/fenders one hole. Amazing what a difference one hole makes LOL.

You can hear the crunching as we walk along, along with some wind noise. And a bit of inane conversation from me.

Rob asked if V could tape me. Tired of seeing her and G's behinds.

Friday, January 7, 2011

In love with Pedestal

Cici just can't get enough of the pedestal. She goes to it, puts her foot on it, lifts herself up and puts her other front foot on it. And then relaxes. Looks so happy up there. I can't believe it. Okay I can because I took a photo!!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Up on the Pedestal!

I hardly slept last night going over in my mind what Avery taught me yesterday. A happy, oh goodie, can I do this again? kind of review. A I don't want to forget the slightest piece. A lets play this again Sam thought process.

When I finally managed to get to the barn late in the afternoon Cici was at the gate waiting for me. Now I had promised Casey we would play today, I have been focusing so much on Cici, that I told him we would be right back. Just wanted to check one thing out.

Walked into the ring and there was a lesson beginning. With horses that I know spook. But I wasn't planning on doing anything lively with Cici. Took off her blanket and we both headed to the pedestal.

She pawed at the top, I porcupined her with lead rope and she stepped up! Both feet. And stood with her nose in my hair as she is now soooo tall. I could upturn my face and kiss her nose. Just let her stand there. And of course impress everyone in the ring. "Did you teach her that?" Duh!?!??!

Backed her off and we went for a walk - lead wrapped around her neck for stick to me. But I was careful due to the lesson and riders. Around the ring and back to the pedestal. A light feel on the lead and up she goes. Two feet on pedestal. Like she's been doing this forever. What was the big deal? LOL.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Moving to the next level of relationship

Lesson with Avery today. Hmm where to start. I spent an hour on line before she came. Wanted to be ready. For everything!

Started out showing Avery the new pedestal. And interestingly I had never played with Cici at the pedestal when she was tacked up. For her things were different. She just stood in front of it. Quietly. No pawing. Nothing! Avery told me to play porcupine game with lead - steady pressure - pulling her toward me on the other side of the pedestal. Ah ha. A missing piece. I've been waiting to Cici to figure it out. I mean she figured out how to paw it. And now everything else in the ring. But she never figured out the stepping up.

The challenge for me was porcupine her nose and manage with driving game her sides. Whenever she drifted one way or the other I needed to keep her straight. Comfort, safe place was standing straight to the pedestal.

Then next challenge was to release on her slightest try, slightest shift of weight forward. The pedestal is small. I thought it would be easier for her. But after a while, Avery laughing said let me show you. And she got Cici thinking quickly about the comfort spot. But when she lifted her foot, it was too easy for her to just walk over the pedestal.

Dragged out M. humugeous one from the corner and Avery played with Cici on that one. She again played porcupine game as a support on Cici's leg - savvy string around foot and steady pressure to help her lift her foot up on the T A L L pedestal. All the while maintaining steady pressure on the lead. Before too long Cici stepped up!!!! First with one foot and then both front feet! Yippee! Hope I can continue this with her. Avery suggested that once she is offering on the large one to bring out the small pedestal.

Next played circling game. Saw that the pedestal work had taken Cici way outside her comfort zone and she was worried. Her trot was fast and her canter turned into a gallop. Avery voiced that I needed to be more particular with her gaits. When I ask for trot I need to correct Cici when she goes to canter. Hmmm yup I've been careless with this. Maybe inattentive is a better word. No I've just not been particular.

Finally got a nice trot on both directions. Then Avery had me play friendly game swinging the carrot stick savvy string back and forth over my head while Cici was out on the circle. She was not a happy camper. Ask her to come in to me pulling on the rope zone 1 while backing away toward her zone 5. At first felt like rubbing my stomach while patting my head. The purpose is to have Cici come in to me - quickly. Safety with me. Avery said that when she spooked on the circle I should be able to slap the string on the ground and she would run into me.

Oh and whenever there was any slack in the line to shorten my hold and keep slapping the string and keep backing away and keep moving toward her hindend. Wow. Cici sure can run. Around and around and around. And around and around. Don't think I could have done this without Avery coaching me from the sidelines. When Cici finally came in she was blowing! Hard! And I noticed that yes some of it was physical and most definitely some was emotional.

Moving to the next level of our relationship. Well this is what I want to do. Been feeling so stagnant. What next? Well I found out today! And I made arrangements to continue with monthly lessons.

Even rode. Cici was exhausted and played stick to the rail perfectly LOL. Trotted a bit. And this time Avery suggested I back her when she stops trotting after a few strides. And then immediately go back to the trot. Hmmm. Sure has both Cici and my minds spinning. So much to think about. So much to play with. Can't wait!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Upcoming lesson

I've been feeling lost. I've been struggling. And I decided I needed to contact Avery and have her come. And I need to have a schedule with her to keep me on track. Of course I don't want to totally embarrass myself so I've been putting extra effort into my play sessions. Thinking about how to be more provocative. How to be more particular but not nit pick. How how how.

I've noticed that Cici uses sideways when she doesn't understand what I'm asking. I've noticed that she is offering to put her foot on things - like the cones when I'm asking her for figure 8s. How to encourage her and still have her listen to my requests is a question.

Yesterday I was asking for her to back with me in zone 3. She offered sideways instead. I used phase 3 on the rope to stop her. And then she floated back with me. Being more particular here made what I was asking for more apparent. Is this what Pat means?

We rode freestyle today in the indoor. This is the third day in a row and we are both feeling more comfortable. I was lighter in my touch on the reins. Cici was lighter in her response. There is hope after all.