Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Venus Session #1

April 19

Well the wind was pretty damn strong today so I have to admit I was leery Big-Ass Mare would probably startle easily, but the draft in her held true. She does definitely have strong right-brained tendencies however I can definitely see that disappearing as she learns to trust in me and in my leadership. Mostly she is left-brained and most of the time she was just reacting because she was unsure as to what I wanted and did not trust my intentions. I tried to be very clear with my body language and throughout the session she did become more and more left-brained and trusting in me. I finally left her munching her hay with a look on her face that read "WHAT the heck just happened there? That was different!!" So. A quick brush-up on today:

Friendly game - Grooming. The top of her hind did indeed become acquainted with Mr. Brush however I cannot honestly attest to how clean it actually got. I definitely could not see anything up that high. I started out tossing my 45' line all over her. At first she gave me a look like I was death - black cloak, skeletal hands, reaper in hand and all. She quieted fairly easily though, eventually to the point where I was twirling the rope overhead a loop or two and dropping it on her quietly. She was a little distrustful of the rope around her head though, however more work earning her trust will get me into that area easier.

Porcupine game - as you can tell in the photo, I was on Phase 4 - "touch bone". She seems like a very sensitive mare however she had no idea what I was asking when it got to her front end. Moving her hind around and backing up though (both nose and chest) were decent. I think she's going to be a superstar here though once she figures it all out.
Driving game - having her disengage her hind was a breeze but I am not convinced yet she really knew what I was asking, I think she may have simply been responding (a little reactively) without fully understanding. Moving her front end around took a little work (she was pretty adamant I remain on her left side and away from that right-hand side of hers!) but she seemed to understand after a few shots.
Yo-yo - she backs fairly easily and also comes in nicely, though I think she is just coming in without yet having a full grasp of what I am asking.

Circling game - this game was a nightmare for her, she had no idea what I wanted and she was convinced I was just waiting for her to blink before viciously tearing out her jugular. She was pretty heavy on the rope as well (too much 'drive') - I think I gained a few new arm muscles...oh yea, plus some rope burn. Once she gets turned around on you, that thick neck and huge hind just plows through, there's no turning her around. I had to retrieve her twice when she escaped, haha. We finished with 2 laps in either direction; she tossed in a little anxious trot but was fairly relaxed and walking by her final laps. She seemed very balanced though so once she figures everything out and learns to relax she should be very light on that rope.

That was it for session one! I would have liked to have done more however my time was somewhat restricted today and we spent a fair while on the ropes. Also, she was a little sweated up with all that thinking in the hot sun and I would rather keep my sessions short and sweet so that she learns best. Next session we'll do more rope work, including around her feet. Apparently she can be a little reactive picking up her hinds. Additionally, I would like to see if we cannot get in all 7 games next session!

Spending a little one-on-one time afterwards

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