Saturday, November 7, 2009

The horse's responsibilities, and mine..

Well I have been listening to Pat's October CD in the car about the horse's 4 responsibilities - Look where you are going, don't change gait, don't change direction... and don't act like a prey animal.

Mine are - don't act like a predator, have an independent seat, and the last two which I have to admit (embarrassingly) that I had to look up; are to think like a horse and use the natural power of focus. Perhaps those are my two weakest?

Anyhow - Garbo has never been very good at, and I have never been particularly particular (be particular without being critical)... about testing these first two, under different circumstances etc. For example - I once taught Garbo a year ago to transition and a pole. Now everytime he gets to a pole he stops. Hmmmm. Even on a trot of canter circle.

So - guess what we did today?

We went into my 90ft roundpen (aka pigtails and tape)... and started on the 12ft briefly. Now - on thinking about this alot over the last few months - I know it's my send that is broken if Garbo does not stay out on the circle (he creeps in to me like I am a horse magnet - Mummmm!)...and if he breaks gait.

So - we did a little practise with sends on the 12ft and asking him to stay trotting over the pole.
Well this is where you have to have a sense of humour with my horse, with any horse but esp with a Left Brain Introvert - they are so clever - he must just be thinking all the time - how can I get a treat? Do this? Do this? Do this? Well - very sweet indeed Mr Garbo but - not what I was asking (not making) you do. Cue the Oct CD in my head...."Not make and let - cause and allow".

So he tried; sideways over the pole, straddle the pole, paw the pole, roll the pole with my foot, run my other foot over with same pole, oh and bite the pole.

Sweet - but no. I asked you to keep going on the circle, don't change gait, look where you are going.

At this point I removed the halter and 12ft line.

I asked for a circle and he actually did quite a nice 45ft circle - first time he's stayed out for nearly the whole circle, at 45ft at liberty, I asked him in for a treat. He comes in with his ears forward, a crested neck and such a cute look on his face - and at canter normally - so hard to resist.

Ahh - but staying out - well quite a different story. He tried change of directions just because he thought that would be a shortcut back to the point where he could stop, or the pole, he even tried over the pole, turn and back over the pole. Very nice Garbo - but still not what I asked.

We actually managed some 360 turns on the circle because of this, me trying to ask (not get) him to keep going to the right, he would turn to the left facing outwards - I would use my carrot stick to get him to go the other way again and he would either go sideways or to a complete turn. 360 degrees! Again - very clever Garbo - but not what I asked.

Ok - so this is where my responsibility may have gone out the window - still analysing it in my head.... even as I type this - so your thought fellow savvy buddies - would be appreciated.

On one of the 360 degree turns (un asked for) I use the hide your hiney move to get his hind end facing the correct way for the circle again, and he ignored me so I asked again, still ignored me so I tagged that hind end real hard. Well he nearly jumped out of his skin - looked completed dejected and cantered with a buck or two round the round pen. After one lap I asked him in. Maybe too soon....

Then I asked him to back up so I could send. Now I am not sure how many other LBI's do this but he knows what comes after back up so he just sends himself - but that was not what I asked for. Asked him in again. Tried back up again - he took one step back then turned sideways. I tilted my head towards his hiney, nothing, so I spanked his arse with the savvy string.

Now you and I know it really does not hurt, and another horse would hurt much more, but again that dejected look, followed by shock horror (how could you do that to me) and off he went in a Right Brain panic because the neighbour had just at that point tried to start his broken ride on mower and it made a very odd loud noise. Maraschino joined in on the outside of the round pen.

Ok - time to put the rope back on and fix that back up. And fix the scared. We played some friendly and then some circles over the pole with a strong send (Linda's voice echoing - do what I ask but don't be scared)... he reared at one point and the 12 ft was very short, but after about 5 circles at trot and canter over the pole (without stopping) I asked him in again. He was puffing.

It took about 4 goes with the 12ft with yo yo and he was again backing up nicely. I took the rope off again and when I got a nice back up without turning sideways, about 12ft, I asked him in and gave him a treat.

Then we just did some extreme friendly with the carrot stick, and at the end Garbo picked up the treat bag by the strap and facing me, walked two steps towards me and swung the treat bag until some fell out. I cracked up laughing and called it a day.

Still feel bad about the tagging. But - as Pat says it's not gonna work with Love, Love, Love - it's Love, Language and Leadership. In equal doses.

Tomorrow it's this guys turn and I will ride Garbo.


Cilla said...

do not worry about the tagging. it's necessary! I get the same from Lizzie, the wounded look and the sulks but I know I have to be the benevolent dictator or she is alpha and not me!
remember, they dont take it personally. hang in there buddy and don't beat yourself up about it xxx

Twinnie said...

Very savvy!!i was just thinking..put the rope back onnnnn....and then you said you did!! I would think it was easier to get continual circle over a pole online solid first,but that's just me.Isn't it hard when they offer SO much but not whatyou ask - I have a tendency to give in -must get my focus as good as yours!! Too right it is not ALL love...well done!!