Today Dawn and I worked on the ground pole to start. She was distracted and seemed "up", and it took a while to get her attention focussed on the task. We then did some lunging in the halter, with the objective to continue to work on her doing transitions from my body language, and with secondary voice cues as needed. Well, the moment we started she wanted to go - partly just a high energy level and partly because she's still getting used to the idea that it's not necessary to tear around on the lunge (this was the way she was taught to act on the lunge in the old days by us and others) but that you can do different things and not zone out. She decided to have a few "rodeo moments" involving some pretty impressive bucks from time to time - glad I wasn't aboard for those (I wouldn't have been aboard for long!). At one point I took her back into the barn to put on some front Sports Medicine boots - I was worried she would injure herself with her acrobatics. But then she decided to calm down and start paying attention, and we were able to do some really good transition work. She's really getting the idea of the voice commands, and I'm using my body language as well. I'm happy that the "whoa" is getting really good, and that she looks at me for guidance on what's coming next. Getting Dawn to actively look at me is a big achievement and a good foundation for things to come. I was very pleased with where we ended up.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Trying Bitless and Rodeo Moments
Maisie and I tried out the Dr. Cook's bitless bridle some more today. We worked on lateral flexions, backing, and walk/trot/halt combinations. I'd have to say she did pretty well with it, although there were some fussy moments where she wasn't sure what I was asking her to do. Backing, speed regulation and transitions were good, turning less so. She's used to a bit - either a Rockin' S snaffle or a full cheek snaffle, that puts pressure directly on the side of her face when I use one rein, and the bitless must feel quite different to her. I did prove that her tendency to get a bit too forward after working for a while isn't about the bit, as she did it in the bitless as well - but I didn't try sitting the trot to see if that would help her calm down. We didn't do too much, as her rear feet are still a bit sore from her trim. We'll keep trying the bitless from time to time, and I think she'd do fine on the trail in it.