I didn't think Cookie and I would be able to get any work in this week due to the cold rainy weather, however today provided lots of sunshine even if it wasn't as warm as I would have liked. So pre-spring training continues! Yeah!
Today we did a few different things. As always we warm up on the lunge going both directions. The one thing she hates the most right now, with her pinning ears, though I think she's getting the hang of it. She's much better at the walk, gets worse at the trot and when she's done with changing directions she rodeos. She is a lot better, just not happy about it yet. We'll get there... as we're both still learning.
The first thing we worked on was backing a straight line without turning her head into me on the off side. I'm not sure why she does this, I do know it's quite annoying because as she turns her head towards me, her butt goes in the opposite direction. Now I want her to back straight up without zig zagging all over the place and without so much control on her head. In other words, I want to have a nice straight back up without having to direct her head. What I did first was, walk her into the parallel logs straight ahead on the left side. Then I asked her to drop her head by placing my hand on her face. Gently pushing backwards and giving the verbal cue, we backed up one small step at a time. She did great while on the left side. On her right side, we had issues because she kept turning her head into me. So I took the butt of my whip and placed it on her cheek, then we began again. It worked much better, though I had to keep the whip there going forwards and backwards. Eventually we got to where I didn't have to touch her with it; I just held it by her cheek. We ended on a good straight back up.
Then I had her disengage her hindquarters by asking her to move in a semi-circle and then side-pass up to a fence in both directions. This she did very well so we didn't spend a lot of time on it.
For the next part, I walked her across the poles so that her hind feet were in between them. Then I asked her to lower her head again and take small steps sideways. This was a bit more trickier. Going from left to right, she would step forward or backward instead of sideways. Again I only asked for small steps at a time and when she got way off track, I walked her out of the poles, then around and back in them to begin again. Going from right to left was really good. We did it both ways until she did it good then walked out of the poles. I had her stand by herself while I re-arranged the poles into 3 different ground cavaletti.
When she first began the lunge at the walk, she wanted to go around them. Always the lazy way out. lol I enforced the rules of engagement and she walked nicely over them. We proceeded at the trot. I had one set on an inward turn where she likes to short cut the circle sometimes so she couldn't get out of going over at least 2 of them in either direction. This is not one of her favorite things to do either. She did pretty well though and she's learning feet placement as well as to look at where she's going. When we ended today's session, I brushed her down really good and ended up wearing quite a bit of her shedding hairs. You can really tell Spring is around the corner when you wear more hair after working with your horse than when you began.
Now if the weather holds up we'll continue backing and side-passing the poles as well as lunging the cavaletti and side passing up to a fence or mounting block.
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