Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lesson Day

Avery's coming today at 11:00 so I get to the barn at 9. Some energy work is needed for Cici and then grooming, cleaning and playing. She was very RBE yesterday and I want to take the time it takes to get her ready willing and able to ride.

But while today does not start off like yesterday, I play with Cici for over an hour and still don't feel she is ready to ride. She is slipping back and forth between RB and LB - leaning more and more toward the RB side. But I do feel she is beginning to pay attention and decided to take out the feather weight line and play with that.

Avery says that the feather weight is best used when Cici is in a learning from of mind. Ah ha! How does Avery always know that hole in my thinking?

Ask about increasing laps with Cici and how not to bore her with them. Learning state of mind. When Cici is in the learning state of mind that is when to work on increasing laps. When she is not, well that is what we worked on today.

When she will maintain the gait I ask and keep tension off the rope - great. As soon as I feel her pulling on the rope, change of direction until tension is kept off. Same goes for gait I ask. I ask for trot, she goes to canter and is pulling - change of direction. So we did lots and lots of changes of direction at trot and canter today.

Played with sideways along the wall. I learned to be able to tell the difference, lets see if I can get this down - important for me to remember. Zone 1 is leading, zone 4 is lagging. If I put a feel on the rope and she braces against me - we are in dominant behavior and change direction/sides. If I put feel on the rope and she yields I can ask zone 4 to move.

When I get her moving in a relaxed manner, stop, exhale, relax and then play friendly game with carrot stick savvy string over her saddle. Two times - up and back and then relax, take a step back to remove the pressure and wait for her to lick and chew.

At one point, I have Cici sideways down the wall toward the end/corner. I am not coordinated and when I get it together to swing the carrot stick she reacts (I took too much time), backs up, turns, she is now past the corner, looking out the back door. Avery had been sitting on one of the barrels that is parallel to the door, she gets out of the way as Cici jumps the barrel and books out the door up the path into the deep snow! Somehow I let the feather weight slide through my hands, but hold on to the end during all this. Amazing what 22' can do.

I need to play friendly this way with more things that I do with her. Need her to get to the oh that means relax.

Oh boy! Things to think about. Lick and chew on them.

Then Avery says Cici is ready to get on. I am not sure I would have assessed her in the same way - ready to get on - but I trust Avery. We play stick to the rail at the walk. Cici is has more impulsion than I am feeling comfortable with. Avery suggests adding a circle when she is impulsive. Circles in corners, or adding circles along the long side. Whenever I feel she is walking faster than I am comfortable with. And Cici slows down. A few steps in a relaxed walk and we stop and let her lick and chew and relax.

Change of direction and same things. Avery suggests I do this at the trot. Cici starts off impulsive immediately and I think this is not for me today. After all the time playing with Cici on line, I am just not together with her in confidence. Emotional fitness. But what is important is being able to say, "not today." So we continue at the walk.

Ask about clover leaf pattern. Can I introduce it as a way to keep Cici from getting bored? Learning frame of mind. If Cici is focused and doing stick to the rail well, then sure add clover leaf pattern. But if she becomes dominant go back to stick to the rail.

Told Avery I am thinking about taping my level 2 online assessment. "Sure go for it." She mentioned looking at level 3 circling games - spiraling. Offer Cici more or less rope for her to circle with. And for Cici to keep tension off the rope at whatever length I give her.

As always Avery is right on with the missing pieces. They are the small pieces that make everything go together. I use change of direction, but feel I've been using it in a gross manner. Avery is fine tuning my use. Same with what we worked on with sideways. Refinements, details, finesse.

Of course now I can't wait til the next time I get to play with Cici.

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