Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Avery - June - Round Pen

Liberty is all about "the truth" of your relationship with your horse. Nothing to fall back on. Free fall!

Start out online and checking the relationship. Asked for disengagement of hind end and then send front end around - just a couple of steps are fine to begin with. Building on 360 degree turn. Both sides. Wait for her to be soft and connected.

Then remove the halter and do same at liberty. If Cici is not trying then tag and send her off. Which in the beginning we do a lot of. She quickly comes back to me within 1/4 of the way around. So we try again. Slowly, ever so slowly she gets it. And I get it. But the process of learning is challenging especially for Cici. She is an unconfident learner. Nostrils crunched up, breathing short and rapid and she tries to guess what I want instead of taking the time to listen. But as I get better at my asking she gets better at understanding.

We still have fast laps around, stops for nibbling the grass, stops for visiting with Cruise on the other side of the fence, or Cheeta. And when she does stop I ask her to keep going. She can change direction very easily on her own - but need to keep her going in direction I ask. Get to see a few sliding stops when she thinks she is going to change of direction on her own and I suggest otherwise ; -)

After the disengagement is going fine - both sides then on to check out yo-yo game. Quickly see the importance of two eyes. Because without two eyes when I ask for back she takes it as a send. So off tag she goes. Now she is getting more confident out on the rail so further distance before she comes in. But when she does come in she has a soft expression - question - on her face with ears forward.

Work on first just one step back and then draw towards me. Then two step yo-yo. The three. What a delicate balance. What fun! Look Ma no hands!!! (okay no Ropes).

I learn to be very particular in my body placement to be sure that the turns are facing me rather than away from me - head vs butt. Which of course means I start out with a lot of turning away (butt) turns initially. But I learn. Also learn importance of getting back to center.

End when she is trotting around relaxed and keeping an ear on me. Wow!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Round Pen

Mary called me at noon today to ask when I was coming over to the barn today. Just to tempt me further she said she had a surprise for me. And just to further tempt me said it was round and in the shade.

Of course I dropped everything to go and see the ROUND PEN! I can't believe it, Mary did this really and truly just for me! She put it up in Cruise's paddock - large sand paddock, perfect place. He still has lots of room and can go in and out of pen. When I got there Mary was just so proud of what she had done. She was concerned that it wasn't really round, and thought that if she swapped the gate and one of the long panels that would help. Then decided to grab the two other panels that are in Cici's paddock and while I was waiting for Cici to finish her lunch, Mary finished up.

There is even a back gate so I can walk Cici out her back gate down the fence line to this gate and go into the paddock with round pen. Amazing. Needed to put a handle on the electric top wire, Mary shoveled to make a path and voila we are all set!

My first time in a round pen. Didn't want to overwhelm Cici, her girl friend is on one side and Crusie is on the other but she seemed fine. Started out with 22 foot line but since she didn't seem to be bothered, not like the outside ring, I unhooked the line.

Clearly she has been worked in round pens in her past life. She took to the rail and walked and trotted like a pro. She knew what was expected of her. Asked for transitions and then a few change of directions - how cool is that?!?!?!? Both directions and disengage hindquarters. She came to me, licked and chewed and I felt that was enough for first time.

Grinning ear to ear. Thank you thank you thank you Mary.