Monday, November 16, 2009
Adding to what we have been working on
Today I played with Garbo again to see if we could keep working on getting things better at further distances, getting him to back up confidently and not assume I was going to send him, and to get him to be confident coming in again.
I had noticed that since I started tagging him and being insistent about backing away from me and not coming in too close - he was getting a bit unconfident when coming in, and so would come in too close and then when I would ask him to back up a little he would turn sideways to me and put me in Zone 3.
So today we started with a really slow back up - really soft phases and really slow phase one. He was riveted. When I asked for a send - big long slow phase one - he sent well to the left, and stayed on the circle - and went over the pole (he loves going over the pole now). I tried some changes of directions by dropping the carrot stick like Linda did - that seemed to work well. Still not as smooth and easy as Linda's but better.
The 22ft line seemed so short today - I kept looking at it thinking it must be the 12ft by mistake - but no.
We did some more slow back ups before each send and when I asked for a send to the right he tried to go left - well he thought about it so I just did a little tug on the rope and kept my arm out and he went right.
When I asked him in and he crowded me I just stayed in Zone 3 and patted him - his breathing slowed down and he seemed less anxious. Like a big Phew.
I keep thinking back to the one and only clinic I have been on - Jackie's Clinic in 2007. I basically had the same problems - too much draw not enough drive, Garbo standing right over me when he came in. Jackie used him as a demo horse and she had him cantering all over the place. But he was a bit anxious about it still - I could tell even then. Fast breathing, worried look. It's such a hard one to get over or through I find. Because deep down I feel bad for making him feel even just a little bit worried or scared (at the hands of myself or others).
I had to play hide your hiney alot today because Garbo insisted on not backing up straight - now Linda says that's a confidence thing...giving you two eyes....or in his case, not. I tried tagging his hind end just softly (more like just twirling the savvy string till it touched him) and just doing it really slowly and standing up quickly when he faced me. That worked quite well. I have to admit trying the other way just made him kick (using the savvy string to tag him), and he has ALWAYS kicked out at whips when people use them - fair enough I suppose. Another thing I have yet to get my head around - using the carrot stick to be a horse bite. To me it still seems like using a whip.
Anyway - bad me - when he kicked I tagged him again out of frustration and he he didn't go "haha - got ya!", he went "oh no" or "oh darn" - not really sure which....
At that point I decided to play a different tack and just slowly porcupine him with the handle of the carrot stick (tapping) on his hind end till he got to move it over, then I stood up.
We played lots of friendly in between with the carrot stick and I think in the end I got a good balance. Still insisting on a back up - even if it was slow (but it must be straight) and giving him ample opportunity to miss the savvy string (phase 2,3,4)... or the rope or whatever.
Each time he came in I just stayed in Zone 3 and gave him a carrot and patted him, he shook his head finally and started breathing more slowly.
Then I took the rope off and we did some wonderful liberty - at 45ft most of the time - and I got some of it on video.... not sure why he was cutting the corner going down hill - thats the side he curves his body towards the centre as you will see - always in that quarter of the round pen.
Then we did some stick to me, and he was really good at that too.
Then we finished and he followed me out, waiting while I opened the two gates. He's so good. And so patient with me. Just hope I am not boring him!
Then I had a wee play with Maraschino - he is getting better with Friendly Game with the Carrot Stick.... and we had some nice non RB trot circles today. He always looks so sleepy - I think that's partly his introversion. He wasn't eating grass in this photo he was snorting at the carrot stick - I was waiting and relaxing on the grass while he processed.