I've been playing with all of the horses and riding. There has been progress with each one of them and with myself. It is so nice to be back outside with the horses. And, the feeling I have is refreshing. I have been taking things slowly and am making progress. This time has allowed the horsese to gain confidence and for me to as well. Slow and right always beats fast and wrong.
As you know, Lola and I are working on primarily who is the leader and then, using patterns to support the leadership while giving her a task to complete. It has worked wonders and each time, we make more and more progress. I've stopped making assumptions about what she should know and acting like we are learning everything new, together (it is working much better). On Friday night, we played for over an hour, on the ground. It all started with saddling her (she was quite emotional). I took the time needed to get her more comfortable with the saddle and then, played on the ground in the round pen area (still no fence up), then to "horse henge" using the rocks to facilitate weave pattern, get her to think before moving her feet (there was a lot of maintain gait and direction going on...she had to watch where she was going or hit the boulders). It worked wonders for her confidence and brain as she was acting like a freak! I asked her to go sideways all around our huge garden, played with the huge tires, used falling leaf, s-pattern, circles, etc. and worked on no eating of grass unless I say it was okay. In the end, rather than being defiant and strong-headed, she was light and responsive. By the end of the evening, I took her to eat grass and mosey around, she was almost too tired to do so! There we times where she was running around like a lunatic and tired herself out. Tonight, I saddled her with the bareback pad and put on the natural hackamore. We played for a few minutes on the ground working on transitions using circling game (she was awesome), played with the obstacles, and I let her graze a bit. Then, I asked her to come to me while I stood on this huge stump that Rick cut for me to use as a mounting block. She stood very still and I swung my leg over and mounted. She walked ahead a few steps and I asked her to stop, flex, and we just stood there, I gave her a treat and pet her. We moved forward and for a few minutes, we had an argument about her wanting to go eat grass and me wanting her to move forward. She was ringing her neck, backing up, acting like a total snot, and offering a suggestion of maybe wanting to buck me off. Fortunately, I kept at it with her and she finally realized that her antics were not going to get me to go away. She finally moved forward, I then asked for a flex and stop, another treat. Then, I asked her to walk between the tires and over to the other tires and between them. What we worked out was figure eight pattern with squeeze, using obstacles, lots of friendly, etc. She finally stopped trying to fight for the grass and did exactly what I asked. I was very pleased. Once I believed that she had it down and that she respected me as the leader, we discontinued the exercise, I dismounted, gave her another treat and walked her to the grass patch she was so desperate to eat. It is not that I would mind that she eat grass while I am mounted but, when I let her at this time, she takes over the leadership role and gets disrespectful, thus, the reason I am using treats as a little reward/incentive once in awhile and not allowing the grass eating as some kind of reward during the session. Anyhow, we mosied all around the property finding all kinds of yummy grass to munch on, she was delighted. I played a lot of friendly game with her and then took her back to the barn and paddock where the boys were.
Fosse was great fun Friday night. I barely played with him on the ground but, I did ride him bareback (no pad) with his halter all around the driveway and playground. We also worked on the no eating grass, okay to eat grass thing, played with the obstacles, figure eights, etc. He was awesome and we had a blast. I didn't play with him today though as I had to get back to the house.