I have been having so much fun with Lana! If I could assign her a Valhalla team award it would be “most improved player”. She has come such a long way since I started with her in December and has shown the biggest shift from extreme to centered.
When I first started with her she had the least handling, and, due to her extroverted nature, was very pushy/impulsive. Now, she is grounded, thoughtful and so connected.
We have been beginning to play at liberty and I had Jerome document our initial introduction.
It has been too long since I sent updates on the “babies” here at Valhalla Farm, so forgive me for the gap! The lull in cyberspace is not a reflection of our real life happenings. The babies are all doing great and working hard to become big fancy dressage horses:)
DAY 20: Lana has had five days off…
We started back in the round pen and revisited her hindquarter and forequarter yields, as well as her ability to transition between gaits on the circling game. The past couple of rides she has shown opposition in both the halt and back up. This is completely understandable as she is an EXTROVERT and those aids can cause her to feel trapped. With this awareness I have been finding creative ways to use the squeeze game where pressure is added in front of her (zone 1).
Lamarck is doing really well! Like the others, I can see him maturing and becoming more and more confident as a learner each and every session. He is much less reactive and feels like he is settling into my leadership and the dynamics of our relationship.
DAY 20: Lamarck has had four days off. Regardless, we went right back to it and proceeded with our grooming and saddling in the barn. It was glorious outside so we played in the sunny pasture on the 22’ line. This is not a field we have played in before. So, I began with the touch it game and allowed him to become accustomed to the new place. Once he was calm we played with our sideways game along he fence and then I used the trees to reinforce his ability to “follow a feel”. The biggest hole I feel with Lamarck is his brace in Zone 1 (hi nose/mouth) and thoughts to have opposition reflex when pressure is applied here.
Once we picked up the trot he began to blow out immediately and was more connected to the pattern. This is day 3! His halts where dead on in the center and I really felt like he connected to the sweet spot. There was one time that he blew past the center but instead of pulling on his face I just backed him up the 10 or so feet until we were in the center of the cones.
BELOW YOU CAN SEE DASHING AND I RIDING THE CLOVERLEAF PATTERN
Week four was a total fudge on my part and I did not journal AT ALL! So, I am going to give you an overview instead of a step by step on each of the horse’s progress all in one post. Like I said before, I am hoping and planning to do more videos each week! As you can imagine, this takes a lot of time and effort, not just from me but from my amazing husband/camera man/web designer & supporter in all things.
DAY 11: Today I decided to test our relationship by doing our saddling in the outdoor arena. This was an event to say the least! She would neither tolerate nor accept the saddle and wanted to MOVE her feet. I used the strategy of “let me help you with that”! Every time she moved off of her post I would set the saddle down and move, move, move, move, move, move, move, move her FAST. Then, have her halt right next to saddle to catch her breath. This creates the saddle as the sweet spot. We had to do this about four time before she decided that with the saddle was actually a good place to be.
Day 13: Revisited the saddling issue in the round pen. Only had toMOVE her once and then she stood still. Played games on-line. Mounted her in the saddle for the first time! Short sweet and successful session!
Day 14: revisited saddling issue in the roundpen. DID NOT MOVE OFF ONCE! Yippee. Played with the Today we had a ground pole in the round pen and it was great to watch Dashing figure out how to maintain gait, direction and look where he was going. Once this was working we went into the indoor arena and played on the 45’ line. It was a very crisp and windy day and Dashing was tight. Along the way we played in the puddles. Squeeze game. Take advantage of what nature gives youJ Same as me! We found a good place regardless and went back to the round pen where mounted for the second time in the saddle and moved him off at the walk each direction with a change of direction. He was easy to guide over the ground pole as well.
Another great session in the arena! Filigree is becoming understanding about what I am asking of her and what our relationship entails now. She definitely has more opinions on-line in the arena thank she does in the round-pen. She does not do anything extreme. However, she will teeter between shooting out on the circle and doing mini bucks while simultaneously shaking her head in the air as if to say “your not the boss of me”! She does it in such a manageable way to me that it honestly brings me entertainment. I feel like I can have a conversation with her and as long as I am persistently asking nicely she has always come through seeing that it really isn’t that bad after all. When I am dealing with these “opinions” I remember Linda’s idea of “zero brace” for Left Brain horses. If Filigree goes out on the circle with some extra oomph, I encourage her. If she shakes her head when I ask her to go forwards then I say, “that’s ok”, we can go slower or even backwards if you want. The number one things is that my intention remains friendly and that I don’t get frustrated or macho with her. After playing our games on the 45’ line and introducing squeezing between the barrels we had a wonderful ride!
I was really happy with the progress we made and feel like I was the one who learned a ton this week. Lamarck, and all of the babies continue to challenge me and cause me to revisit or dust off things I KNOW, but maybe haven’t had to apply in my horsemanship for awhile. When I was studying with Linda and hit a road-block in my horsemanship she would always say “frustration begins where knowledge ends”. This was not intended to be demeaning or negative. Actually Linda would always say it in the most positive way. Like, “yippee! Now you have an opportunity to learn even more”!