Saturday, March 19, 2011

The canter - freestyle

It's taken me a long time to get to this point. Before Parelli I would have lessons and we would canter in the arena, but it wasn't pretty and I always needed to carry a whip. Not use it, but carry it. Canter transitions were messy  - I could never remember which leg I was supposed to put back, and most of the time Garbo was pulling me forward anyway.
So then we started with Parelli - I removed the bit and let go of the reins. It took 3 years to build up to having 'loose' reins at canter and it did wonders for my balance. Finally we got that and I was cantering point to point and on corners but we hadn't done follow the rail for a whole lap (steering was still an optional extra at canter). We also had not done transitions to canter at my choosing - it had been more of a joint decision to canter as we approached the corner.

So - my friend suggested cantering on the straight after the corner - and coming back to trot before the corner - and using half halt... slowing Garbo down before the corners so he thought about them and didn't rush round them. He needed to get his balance and straightness.

Well - today we did it. I tied the savvy string to my wrist as my Phase Three and it only took me slapping myself gently around the shoulders (just twice) for Garbo to get the whole pattern. He cantered on the straight - then we went back to trot for the corner - then cantered again on the straight. I did a whole lap like this successfully and then realised it was his difficult side we had started on - even better!!

After a couple of laps like this we changed rein and did the easy side. On the last half of the arena we cantered at the corner too so did a whole 'half' lap of the arena at canter picking it up at the beginning of the long side and ending at the middle of the opposite long side. Garbo was up at the front I could really feel it - it felt amazing - like he was a dressage horse! And he was listening to me and not trying to eat grass - (it's a grass arena) - just incredible.

And you know what I did next?
I got off and hugged him!

I knew when we started Parelli it would be a long road to this point - once I saw the videos and realised what I was going to have to re-learn. But it's been so enjoyable and I know there is way more of these moments to come. I am attending the Game Of Contact Course in Sydney (Linda) as an auditor so I really can't wait for that.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bareback ride in the sun

I took these photos a week ago - decided to take Garbo up the road, by myself. Quite a big thing for me. The last time we rode bareback up there alone he got spooked by a dog and I fell off. Mind you I had no bareback pad. That was a year ago.

He was really keen to walk around the place so we did a tour of the front yard - stopping in at the office and saying hi to Tracey.
Then we jumped up the steep bank to avoid the stones and then out the gate and up the road. Keeping in mind my new rule I was really calm.

The dogs used to appear from behind those palm trees on the right hand side. But this time we went past the neighbours new geese, hens and ducks - which ha hadn't seen before - and he didn't bat an eyelid.

We got to the sheep and the farmers dogs (many) all started barking so I got off.... then I led him for a bit and then I got on from the fence again - he was so good and pushed up against the fence so I cold get on.

We mooched around for a bit and then headed back... it was a gorgeous day and you can see our view (that's our barn).
And the house... and the rest of the view - even better from horseback!

Maraschino was calling out - if you look closely to the right of the photo below, cloe to the house you can see him -he had spotted us.

What a great ride. And a big accomplishment for me.