Sunday, April 17, 2011

Two more plays with Mr M

I played three days in a row this week with Maraschino - Day 2 -  I decided to work on asking him to go faster without getting emotional - since, as my friend pointed out, he only canters when he's emotional - ie being chased by Garbo or running from something scary.

I started the circles close to the yards for security and it took a good 30 minutes of circles and transitions to really get him to notice my ask for the downwards transitions. In the end I could just wiggle the rope a teeny but and he would go back to walk (instead of screeching to a complete halt). He went very introverted again though - boy it's a real challenge. On the one hand I can easily get him to do things Garbo is so difficult with, and yet he's so unconfident with it - not that 90% of people would pick the level of unconfidence up, but it's really clear.

After a good few circles going walk, trot, walk, trot, walk, trot, walk, stop, I stopped there and went up to the wash bay - he's not yet at the point where he's yawning or licking much online, so I decided to not unhalter him just yet and groom him instead.

After 30 minutes of that I unhaltered him - he did a big shake of his neck and head and a big yawn, but stayed with me looking for a carrot.

Day 3
So today I thought - what can I do which isn't circles and will build confidence. We did a bit of porcupine and yo yo and then figure 8 round the barrels. He gets it so quickly - and he's so good at it - so we just did that a few times. After a couple of overshoots he headed for the jump pole - interesting! But I said - no not the jump today, just Figure 8. (I moved the barrels further apart than they are in the photo).

I after some lovely trot Figure 8's I left it there, took him back to the wash bay and groomed him again.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Trip out - much needed

Garbo was getting a little bored at home - to be expected... I have been busier at work this summer and not had much time at all and we have not been to the forest for ages.

So I took him down to Woodhill Sands - which I intend to make good use of this winter, as it's a natural sand trap, so no mud - at worst - wet sand.

I only used the 45ft line so I was pretty happy about that, and first off he wasn't happy about being tied up to the float so he couldn't graze! LOL

Then we walked to the judges box to sign in, and then we went straight into trot and canter on the end of the 45ft - he was pretty interested in checking out the place so I let him drift off the edges and sniff things as his resting spots. I tried a couple of changes of direction too.

Then we had a big walk through the crunchy leaves on the ground - the 45ft making the strangest noise in them - Garbo kept getting a little spooked but not too bad - not enough to spoil his fun.

We used the Dressage arenas as obstacles, no one else was around - it was fab.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Building confidence

Well - it seems a full time job to keep Maraschino confident when playing - but we're getting there slowly.
 I started today by doing travelling circles to get to the round pen, from the yards. I stopped him on the circle at the tyre and he nibbled on the grass growing in there. Then I asked him to go back the other way on the circle - btw - he trots of canters everywhere - never walks. He didn't like the other way so much and so we changed back again and then he went to the tyre on his own....

Obviously he was finding the pressure (yet again) too much - if Garbo was there he'd be like *Yawn Say What?* 

Then we worked a little more on friendly on the move from Zone 3.... he's getting better. Every few things I would stop and wait for him to sigh or breath - he takes a long time.

I even sat down and he breathed in my ear for the longest time.....

Into the round pen we went and this is the question I get at the gap between the barrels (squeeze)....

So we tried yo yo to see if that was easier.... and then backed him up all the way through and forward, and back and forward.... then big rest.....

Soon after this I got him to sidle up to the fence while I sat on it, and just patted him - by now it was nearly dark.... then we trotted all over the paddock - with me next to him, over the pole, changed directions etc - to get him used to going fast and not adding emotion.

I led him back to the wash bay finally and he was fairly relaxed by then - but only when I take the halter off does he do a big big shake and a big breath in.... funny hey.... anyone else's RBI do that???

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Vaulting practise pays off

hahha - that got your attention...

I got the boys into the washbay this afternoon - I must admit I was wondering why twice Garbo cantered form the paddock into the yards!! He usually only does that when it starts to rain... funny hey... today was a nice day - no rain in sight.

Got my float out and washed it - and then got my saddle out - today was a saddle day not a bareback pad day.

Groomed them all, and they were pretty half asleep to be honest. I was thinking to myself gosh I have not done much with Garbo online lately - just ridden him.... but he seemed happy enough.

I decided to ride in the track - I got on, and off we went - away from Maraschino who stood so well in the washbay by himself tied up. Just walked... but then trotted a little... when we got to the end we turned back and he cantered back - I stopped him half way along and asked for trot please, then stop.

Turned and tried again.... did heaps of trot, walk, trot, walk, trot, walk, then turned and headed back and he caprioled up and as his front end hit the ground he bucked and I went flying - I thought - uh oh... but next thing I knew I landed on my feet - standing up, next to him, facing him by his shoulder....yes, he had stopped. He turned and glared at the cow in the next paddock (they've been there all week). I glared at Garbo!

So I was a little full of adrenaline to get back on so we went back, collected Maraschino and headed with the ropes to the round pen. I got Garbo to work hard so to take his mind off the cows, and listen to me.. as he so tends to do when I am on him.... and got him jumping - he offered it after one time.... and then I took the lead rope off because it was too short and did some liberty. He resisted to go to the right when I asked so I tagged him... he bucked twice...  I then got a lovely back up at Liberty which has always been hard (he usually takes off in a circle)... after a better couple of laps I got back on.

We did a couple of laps - to make it interested we jumped the jump too.

Then I got off... and it was Maraschino's turn.

He's decided jumping the jump is too much pressure so we've gone back to two barrels with a gap and did that instead.... he just freezes and stops trying..... it's not about the jump though right - need to add some more stuff in there, the ball me thinks.

Finished up with;
touch it from zone 2 to build his confidence again, and then I played - "see this rope won't kill you"! I was throwing it over him (22ft) all over the place and from all angles... haven't managed swinging it over his head from Zone 1 yet.

Phew my brain hurts. It always hurts after I have had to be assertive. I always question my fairness afterwards.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bareback practise

I rode both days last weekend - both bareback at home. Garbo was not very impressed with my attempts to stay on at trot - because I am 'in readiness' to stop him after going into trot - I lean forward a little (giddyup just a little bit) and he stops. He's such a good horse - he's really only looking out for me. This is him (above) thinking get me outta this round pen!

So off we went  - check out the ears and the expression difference.
The following day my friend came over and helped me - she led Garbo at trot while I concentrated on sitting back, thumb under bum, and tried to move my hips with him. I have set myself the goal to be able to ride Garbo bareback in trot - because I figure then I'll be able to ride any horse bareback at trot. Canter will be easy. It's the transition back to trot that will be the tricky part. Hence concentrating on trot.

Next it was Maraschinos turn - and we achieved alot! Using the carrot stick and string to play friendly game over him while at walk and trot - woohoo - big step forward! This then really will help him stop over-reacting to me lifting the carrot stick - think I need the bell on it again though!

This is him waiting patiently - ground tied, while I set up the round pen.

Then we started on  - lets try jumping! He doesn't yet realise his legs are very long and he could jump out of the round pen at standstill if he really wanted to!

As you can see we have been having some beautiful Autumn weather.

Maraschino having a think!

The boys were grazing in the side paddock and it had my haylage bales in there stacked up. I saw them back in the track looking guilty and wondered why - then I saw - two of the bales had been rolled out (about 20ft) and bitten open with two big chunks (one from each - wonder who the culprits were!) out of the top. No spare plastic to be seen! So I spent the next few days watching them like hawks and was relieved to find munged up plastic in poos for two days. Think it was Maraschino doing the opening - and Garbo would have kicked him off to eat the haylage after opening.

Anyway - since then - the opened bale has been inside and this is Garbo saying PLEEEEEEASE can I have some?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Canter one rein

I took Garbo to Jool's today - determined to use some of the great weather we have been having.
I forgot my carrot stick and savvy string so all I had was my lead rope and halter.
So I had no phase three....

So you know what we did - I rode with just the lead rope - not joined up to the halter at the other end so just one rein. And we cantered! I could flick the end of it you see.
I know you were originally supposed to do this at Level 1 - I think - but I never did... gosh it hasn't been long since I was cantering with no contact (loose reins)  - so this was a major breakthrough for me. We managed to stay on the rail too. I am starting to get the hang of using my legs a bit more for direction.

When we arrived Garbo wasn't in a hurry to get off the float which was nice - I don't rush him - I just stand away and let him take his time. It was probably 2 minutes before he got off.

Story in pictures...

Looking at our float through the trees...

Saying hi to everyone around the arena first...

Whats this I wonder...

Out we head on board, from the indoor arena

Now in the grass arena we have some spectators... probably wondering why they can't go and eat the grass in there!

 After a good ride...
 Back home - my cat helping study