Sunday, July 6, 2008

Winning the Yo-Yo Game

Objective - to have your horse Yo-Yo snappily backwards and happily forwards with no more than four ounces of pressure.

1. Play the Yo-Yo Game. If your horse goes backwards slowly and leans on the rope when coming into you, he does not have Positive Reflexes!

The main cause of a sluggish back up in the Yo-Yo Game is wiggling the rope at Phase 1! The problem is that this is actually Phase 2, and if your horse can feel the halter move this is in fact Phase 3!

Phase 1 involves wiggling only your finger - the rope should not move.

Troubleshooting - Your horse is backing up but he's dragging his feet.
This is typical of a horse who does not have Positive Reflexes, even though he no longer has Opposition Reflexes. If you tolerate this, your horse will actually become slower and slower and his attitude will become more disrespectful.

First, notice if your horse is dragging backwards. Second, do something about it!. Accelerate through your phases to Phase 4 and when he snaps to attention and responds, quit and relax instantly! Allow him to rest for a long time (about 30 seconds) to add incentive.

Your horse leans on the rope when you bring him back.
Teach him not to lean on the rope by using your four phases more effectively.

Phase 1 - comb the rope towards you with open flat hands, have no tension or "drag" on the rope itself.
Phase 2 - keep the rhythm going and slightly coil your fingers so he can feel a little drag on the rope.
Phase 3 - Close your fingers a little more and add more drag so it feels insistent while your hands keep moving in long strokes...
Phase 4 - Lock your hands onto the rope, lean back and wait. The moment he moves his weight towards you (even before he takes a step) open your hands and return to Phase 1.

If at Phase 4 your horse is still leaning against the rope, here is another technique to add...

Walk backwards away from your horse, gradually increasing tension on the rope by increasing your pace. As soon as you feel him lugging against the feel, lift the carrot stick and string. Hold the tension in the rope, lean back, and rhythmically slap the ground towards Zone 3 until he jumps forwards towards you. Release, the start again. Pretty soon your horse will jump forward as soon as he feels any pressure from the halter and lead rope.

When your horse comes in to you play the Friendly Game and allow him to rest.

Note - make sure you are leaning back when you do this and not reaching forward trying to touch your horse. This will only drive him backwards! You need to touch the ground or your horse behind the Drive Line so he feels compelled to come forward. Work towards being able to keep your feet still again.

LOL Garbo has no problem coming to me unless of course I have been backing him into a narrow space and he arrives there finally -he doesn't want to come out again because he knows I will stop him half way and make him go backwards again so he thinks - I'll just stay here - save all that tooing and fro-ing.!

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