Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A good start to the year

Hey look at that, a post actually written on the day it says it was written...haha. Today was a beautiful day - warm but cloudy so not too hot!

My little cowhorse was pretty awesome at his games and the patterns we tried out today! Just a quick run-down of all that we did:
- 7 games (at which he did fantastic, including squeezing over a jump with little direction, sideways no wall, procupine Phase 1, Yo-yo Phase 2, driving Phase 1)
- figure-8 at the trot on the 22' (not full length though, his second time ever doing the pattern and he aced it with few mistakes) Level 2
- weave at the walk on the 22' (again, not full length, his second time ever doing the pattern) Level 1
- walk-trot-walk transitions at the circling game Level 2
- change in direction at the trot, circling game Level 2
- change in direction at the canter on the circling game, including flying lead changes Level 3
- w/t/c under-saddle (western, Parelli hackamore), including flying changes (most auto) - no rein contact (just legs and seat). He was very balanced and sensitive to my requests!
- turns on the hind and fore under-saddle
A friend and I also took Silver out for a little ride, both in the arena and out in the nearby field. Little twit was convinced he should be back with his buddies so I had to ride him for a short while but once he was back on the right track Deb, my friend, enjoyed some riding on him as well. It was so relaxing to ride an accomplished horse! We still have a lot of partnership and developing to do, but it's still great to work in such partnership already.

The run-down on my renegade:
- 7 games (including squeeze over a jump with little direction, sideways no wall, porcupine Phase 1 - lighter than Silver's actually - yo-yo Phase 2, driving Phase 1)
- figure-8 at the trot on the 22' (about the same as Silver's) Level 2
- weave at the walk on the 22' (same as Silver) Level 1
- walk-trot-walk transitions on the circling game (better than Silver's...the man loves to walk in lieu of trotting! Haha) Level 2
- changes in direction at the trot on the circling game (snappy!) Level 2
- changes in direction at the canter while circling (no flying changes, though he did pick up the correct lead - he'd go down to the trot to pick up the correct leads then back up into the canter of his own accord) Level 3-ish
- w/t/c under-saddle (english, cradle bridle). He was very balanced and sensitive...could have been a little lighter to my leg aids but he did fabulous for our second ride of the year (and was very light to my hands). Very soft, supple, and collected! Picked up the correct leads appropriately and was even flexing at the poll nicely; when I changed the reins to the smaller ring on the cradle bit he was even softer in the bridle, even at the canter!
- some half-pass under-saddle
Koolaid was taken out on that same excursion around the arena and field as Silver; I rode him a bit but he was doing so well that I threw Deb's husband up on him, and he did great! None of the head-tossing, foreleg-striking, or general pissy-ness that was present our last trail ride, haha. As with Silver, it was great to ride a developed horse.

BAM did fantastic today! As usual, most everything was done 3 or more times each side. Her friendly game via ropes (my 45' line) took far less time today before she was quiet and left-brained, I was even roping her ears and tossing the rope about all over with a few whistles overhead, hehe. She really picked up yesterday's porcupine game lesson well, when I applied pressure to her front end on her left side she instantly moved off, Phase 1. Her right side was more difficult and took several repeats before she was moving off of Phase 1 correctly and consistently, but we got it! The rest of her porcupine (nose, chest, hind) was Phase 2 at most. Her driving game was about the same as her porcupine - it took a little more work on her right side on the front end before she was moving off consistently and left-brained rather than reactive, but once again, we got it ;) Yo-yo was Phase 2 by the third shot. She was a little leery at the circling game, but we finished with her circling consistently at the walk (a lap in either direction). We even approached the sideways and squeeze (between me and the fence) games today, at which she was flawless (though more reactive than left-brained, so I'm not sure that the lesson actually sank in fully...). Lastly, we attempted some ponying, but Silver seemed a little intimidated by her and was not so anxious to be in close quarters (I suppose I can't blame him, she is pretty damn big after all haha); I had wanted to get her used to having someone above her and since my ponying plan backfired (we'll use Koolaid next time I suppose haha), I had to do it from the ground. We finished then with her being comfortable and calm with my bouncing next to her (pretty scary at first! lol), grabbing hold of her mane and sort of pulling myself up further, and slapping her back. A great session with some quick progress...can't wait to see how our next two sessions go! Afterwards she gets a three-day break, as I am attending the Mane Event over Friday, Saturday, Sunday!!

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