Had the greatest day today….after yesterday when Game..(aka the Pearl) had what I called an—-“interesting” workout where she was all jacked up and had a hard time listening etc…..
Well today went out—she was her sweet interested self—came in and just stood in the isle for tacking like some 18 yr old school horse—kept nuzzling and asking for carrots—but just stood….I brought out the saddle and flopped it on her—never a blink—did our grooming tacking—everything—she just stood all relaxed and soft eyed…so then just took her outdoors to the ring and she walked around on the lounge–no interest in rushing—trotted up on command—walked down on command—stopped on command—I swear that if you didn’t know her she would look like and old school horse—sooooo
We slapped the long reins on her—you would think she had spent her whole life driving—the degree of relaxation was just totally day and night—sooooo
I put Patrick up to see if she stayed relaxed—oops—ears went about half way back and got some tension in her then…..but—she stayed manageable with a bit of coaxing from me on the lounge to help reinforce her not trying to just rush trot thru the reins….there was still a bit of get up and go tension—but she was really attentive…..soooooo after only a couple of min….
I went ahead and got up—she tried to buck and crow hop a bit with me getting up—think she was mostly used to the way I have Patrick get up his 14 yr old body settles a tad softer than mine–not that I thumped down—but she just reacted to it for a min—and then I started actually to work with her with Patrick still holding the lounge…we walked—stopped and stood(which she really..no I mean REALLY doesn’t like) but she accepted—and was only for a few seconds at a time—she jigged a bit cause she wanted to get going–but steadied down we turned and steered–found out that for her when you use your outside rein for anything–leading her circle a bit wider or just anything—that is her gas button—move the outside rein to the side a bit—and she is jigging actually trying to go….but she settled.
Now I know this sounds dumb—-but spent about 15 min up just starting to talk to her—steering–stopping—talking—patting—and it was the first and most basic work—but was exciting for me cause it was under saddle—she was listening to me—Patrick was well away just holding the lounge in case—I started introducing her to the rein effects I want her to learn–tiny half halts and sitting down on her to settle her jigging—staying loose—going from walk to halt and turns etc—and it was ground breaking for this reason—she has been until now drawing her security and affection from training and relationship with her I have been giving and reinforcing at ground level-eye to eye. What we started today was dialogue from her back—and for her—I am certain she was seeing me as a trainer-not a jockey–and I think she seperates the two—and she is going to have to learn I am both for her now. She was a bit edgy at first with me being up and not beside her, but she settled to talking and patting and just extending what she and I do in the stall and the isle to the saddle. Also—while Patrick does his best–he really can’t be any more than just weight on her back because you have to be able to sense what she needs and create on the run thru the reins and seat and he doesn’t have the experience–she is nowhere near as simple and striatforward as Shu. A bit of half halting presure on the reins and she understands to downshift—hold it a fraction to long and you get the opposite—and it is something you have to feel—if you have to say it—it’s to late. I needed to be able to see her eye and judge her tension and posture and movements with a rider up to guage how she was initially reacting to a rider…but now we are moving past that and she is accepting enuf aids to start. It was really the very first baby step beginning of her and me riding together. If I had been able to use the indoor ring with her today probably would have gone free riding off the lounge as it is pretty small and confined—but we had to work outdoors and there is just a tad to much open area to tempt her if she wanted to stretch out or get upset…I had the feeling all night last night this was going to happen today…the same as it went with Shu—but had no idea she would be so good. After I got down I took her bridle off and indulged in her and my worst habit—head rubs and face scratches and neck pounding that probably would have left Patrick flat if I had been that enthusiastic on him—but she understood—you could see in her eyes she knew she had done something I considered really really special—and at the same time—she had no clue what it was she did lol —but she was happy about it and relaxed and really liked being made over like that—I think the celebration was close to what happens for the winning team on Super Bowl Sunday the way she and I carried on—Patrick just got out of the way…lol. This is a day I have just been aching for…and was very very cool–we are going to have some setbacks—but I sure can’t stop grinning tonite….talk to you later—Chuck