Monday, August 10, 2009

Leave them wanting more

Yesterday. Or the day before now, by the time this gets published. August 8th. Saturday.

First horses of the day were Sunny the paint and Gypsy the little wild-as-a-hare filly (who's filling out and gaining some nice topline!). Apparently Twist did well with his owner out in the mountains, though I have yet to hear of the details from his owner himself. But back to the topic.

I found Sunny chilling with a buddy out in one of the yards - he was pretty easy to catch, which was nice. He was actually very calm, though I'm sure the warm day helped us out a little in that area ;) Games all went absolutely fantastic (better than ever before), including some relaxed walk and jog without any reactiveness. He packed the saddle around during our games and allowed me up to ride him in just the rope halter. We took it easy on his first day back in about two weeks, just basic work at the walk - halt, back-up (some great back-up!), turns on the fore, circles, figure-8's, etc. He's about ready for some bit work (I will try out my double-jointed loose-ring Happy Mouth on him tomorrow) as well as some trot work (this week hopefully). He did great for his first day back from vacay and I look forward to stepping it up with him this week.

My little wild child Gypsy student wasn't quite as keen on being caught, though I easily shooed her into a smaller pen from the large pasture she was in - how I am going to get the Einstein to do it again, I have no idea - so wish me luck! I played with her enough to get her walking up to and following me about the pen a little, which was good enough for me. I had forgotten my ropes anyways, so the rope work that we did last session will have to wait until tomorrow (or, today, rather...sorta after midnight already). I was actually pretty happy to have her walking up to me and seeming to want to spend time with me, so we'll work hard this next 30 days to take that and progress it into something more. The key is to leave them wanting more. Just when your horse starts to get interested, stop. Case in point: this filly wants nothing to do with humans. I started off with her at one end of the small pen, my blocking her exit. When she turned in prep to run past me, I turned as well, so that she had effectively turned towards me, without intentionally meaning to. Then I walked off a few steps. At first she only followed me because she wanted to go in that direction too, but pretty soon she grew curious and started following me to check me out. I continued playing until she was sniffing my back. Then I'd walk off, leaving her wanting more (she'd only just started sniffing and still had more to do! lol). Pretty soon she was allowing me to rub her head (she loves her forehead being rubbed), then I'd walk off, and she'd follow. She was soon allowing me to work the burrs out of her forelock and to rub some of the rest of her body. Progress, even if it is slow. I do feel though that we could be at the edge of a tipping point, where she might trust me enough to start allowing me to do more. We'll see!

Always end on a good note, on a relaxed note with your horse. Pretty soon, what happens last starts happening first. If you end when your horse is relaxed and interactive, and just starting to become interested, you further pique his interest. He wants more! Next time he's looking forward to seeing you, because he wants to continue the mental challenge you started with him last time! It's difficult at times, as humans we get greedy, but it is vital to quit while you're ahead - it can allow for so much quicker progress with a horse. If he does something by fluke and you quit there, rather than trying to force another out of him, he'll soon realise that that fluke is what you were looking for and you will get it much easier next time.

Hopefully that makes sense. Things seem to make better sense in my head sometimes than they do when I actually get them out ;)

The big golden Missy mare was great too, though she wasn't so fantastic to catch - apparently some horses aren't so keen on work?! Lol. It's probably time for just some "fun" time with her, maybe a trail ride to re-gain her interest? She doesn't seem so motivated to learn, which I would obviously very much like to change. I rode her western and we worked on all our usual basics, with focus on respect on the ground first so that we'd have a good level of respect under-saddle. Under-saddle we focused on getting some leg aids - doing liberty work (though I kept the halter on as a safety net) with the carrot stick. She seemed to know what I wanted some of the time, and she's a very brilliant horse, so I found it difficult to believe that she didn't know what I wanted all of the time. Her penchant for the gate makes me think she did in fact know what I was asking, but just wasn't motivated to do it - she'd rather be back in the pasture. *sigh* sort of disappointing. So sounds like more friendly game and just hanging out together is on the agenda. Left-brained, smart horses are fantastic to work with, but are sometimes challenging to motivate! They're so intelligent and they get caught up in working their way out of things, lol. Not that they are not willing, just it can be a little more challenging to work that willingness out of them ;)

Tomorrow (Monday) afternoon I have got someone lined up to try Missy out, and I have already had inquiries since I started advertising her tonight. So, wish me luck that she finds a new home soon, as I would love to head up to Drayton Valley at the end of the month minus one horse to haul!

I would like to look into this guy more in the future, however what I see so far is pretty captivating. From what I understand however if an individual starts using his method, they are asked not to incorporate any other methods or to study any other ways of working with horses, they are asked to fully commit to the Nevzorov Haute Ecole - something I am not so keen on. I am all for learning, however I have a very open mind and do not like to be restricted. Focus on the method you're learning, by all means, however I want to always be a sponge - open to learning everything that is out there. Never follow blindly!

212 The Extra Degree Movie - and there's a book? Watch the short quip, it's very inspiring :)

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