Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday lesson

Another awesome groundwork lesson today with Jazz. I got there a bit early for my lesson and she seemed pretty quiet, so I Started doing her yo-yo backing exercise. She was a bit sticky, and wasn't too keen on the going backwards part of it, so she reared, naturally.  So, I sent her off and did more of the lunging my trainer had taught me on Wednesday, and it definitely helped.  Just after I'd gotten her to think a little and come in to me, my trainer arrived, and she had me lunge her again both ways.  After Jazz had calmed back down on the circle, we worked on the yo-yo exercise a little, and my trainer corrected my body language a little.  Then we worked more on her shoulders, and it. was. great. 

As I mentioned previously, on Wednesday my trainer showed me a different method of asking for jazz to move her shoulders, and it has been working so much better.  I started on her left side, and I got a perfect step right off the bat.  I kept going and rewarding until I got three perfect crossing steps with her front feet in a row.  I swapped sides and she had a little harder time on the right, but I got a couple of good single steps and went back to her left.  I got several perfect steps without even having to tap her with the rope, and got four in a row.  She was really starting to get the idea, especially on the left.  I did get a few more good steps on her bad side, and even got two in a row, and by then my lesson time was done and Jazz was completely chilled out and was standing like a champion.  

My trainer even commented that I had good timing with the shoulder yielding because I've been backing her first to help lighten her forehand,  and I had a really good sense on when to switch from backing to asking for lateral movement. Also Jazz was backing well just based off of body language with no pressure from the halter or the end of the rope. 

Which brings me to thing I'm getting better at with horses #2
Developing a feel. I'm in no way there, but I'm feeling really good about how it's progressing. 

Once my lesson time was up, I brought Jazz from the arena to the barn and gave her some minerals, where I snapped a few pictures up close. Lucky horse even got a couple of crunchies.

 I played a bit with my newfound moving the shoulders button turning her in the barn aisle and navigating around the gate to the pasture.  She even came back once I'd let her go and closed the gate behind me.  It's amazing even the little changes in this horse over the last month or so.  At the beginning of the new year, she would sometimes come back to the gate and get petted, but she would be rooting around in our hands and pockets for treats, and when we tried to push her out of our space she would just give up and wander away to her friends.  Today, though, she stood a good distance away, with all of her well behind the gate (not like she used to with her whole chest pushing on it and her head digging around in pockets), and being very respectful and sweet.  She stayed there a long time after I walked away too.  She was still there when I drove off.

I can't wait for our next lesson!

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