Saturday, April 23, 2011

Avery - April 20- Cones + Followup

(Posted on PC) Unexpected lesson with Avery (Wednesday). Schedule mix up. Played touch it from trot and canter. I love these seemingly simple tasks that take on so many issues. Its like Avery gives me a puzzle to work on each time we get together.

Asking Cici to maintain her trot around the circle, stop at the cone. Coordination for me on when to ask her to stop. Too soon? Too late? If Cici doesn’t stop at the cone or misses it then I need to keep her trotting. At first I don’t even think Cici is aware of the cone. Consistency and repetition. Slowly we get it together and Cici starts to ask questions. She stops at the cone. Yippee kiyah!!

It is really important that I give Cici all the time she needs to process this. We wait. And wait and wait for that licking and chewing and even get some nice blowing of nostrils. I can clearly see how she is doing, how hard she is thinking by her nostrils. As she processes new things they get a little pinched. When she blows out – and has thought about what she did, they relax.

Can we do it again? And then change direction and its like it is a whole new game. But it doesn’t take quite as long before she is asking me questions in this direction.

Avery commented that she (Cici) is now slowing herself down physically. How the first time I had a lesson with Avery Cici could not trot slow let alone canter. She only had FAST trot - head high - and gallop. Now she has three very nice gaits. And how she is also slowing down emotionally. At the end of this lesson Cici was not hyperventilating! A first!!!!! LOL.

We then tried it at the canter. Cici clearly tries to strike off on the correct lead going to the right. She now has the beginning of an understanding of the pattern and it only takes a few tries before she starts asking questions and stops when I ask at the cone! Yippee!!! My oh so clever little girl!

I learn about the importance of my intention. Cici reads me like a book, even if I am unaware. At the very end of the lesson Cici is standing quietly as I reach under her jaw to swap the 22 with the 12. My intention is to get this done and Cici just backs away…."I don’t think so"…until I exhale and bring my energy down.

On Friday (Thursday day of rest), walk into the arena with a plan. Focus on touch it – cones, barrels, saddle. Sideways. Backing. Then circling game with cone. Cici walks the circle, stops at the cone, licks and chews, looks at me "What now?" !!! Clearly she has spent her day off thinking about the lesson.

Even at the canter she is ready willing and able to stop. Well stop her front end at the cone and the hind end swings around. She is facing me, looking at me with her ears pinned on me. Wooohooo!!!!! Awesome pony.

I realize I watch her feet and Avery commented on how her ears were focusing on me. Her ears? She has ears? Feel like I’ve been on zoom focus on her feet and my new game is to see her WHOLE body – ears to hoofs! Because her ears sure are dancing now!

Now that I am "looking" I recognize her 1000 yard stare. She will stop and look at me with her eyes just closed a little, ears back and nostrils with a single wrinkle in them. She stares right through me. But NOW getting two soft eyes, relaxed nostrils - soft and open - and two ears. What a beautiful face.

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