Monday, April 20, 2009

Back on track

Dixie and I are doing pretty good again!

Yesterday, I felt about 80% confident and balanced. And I spent most of the hour working on the reins - she can't snatch them out of my hands every time I pick them up, but she's also snatching because I am too hard and/or yanking. So I worked on holding onto those baby birds, just very gently keeping very light contact and squeezing to cue. She blew me off a couple times, and that's when I pulled. If I have to pay attention to what she's communicating, she has to pay attention right back! By the end of the ride, she had quit yanking entirely and was actually letting me have very light contact.

For our fast work, she... trotted. I was rather confused, and so was she - she was obviously a little worried that I was going to smack her in the head.

Today was another good day, much like yesterday! We rode around for about 20 minutes, coming to an agreement about how much contact would be acceptable. Then I had a Flash of Genius (read: a "D'oh" moment) and set up four cones in a rough 15 meter circle. Well, it was 14 long paces across, so I'm assuming it was between 15-20 meters. See, I'm horrible at circles and so is she, and I figured a visual reference would help both of us. It did. We had some nice bending on a couple of quarter-circles in each direction, and then we got one half-circle of good work to the left. Woo!

I was braver again today, and asked her to speed up three separate times. She gave me a rack the first time, then a trot twice. I am definitely confused.


  1. Hey Funder,
    It sounds like you've really improved Communications! Congratulations -- I think you will really enjoy time with Dixie when you are paying attention to her AND making sure she pays attention to you. I am SURE that she will enjoy your time together much more now that she knows you are listening to her and not just bossing her around!

    I look forward to reading more about your progress together.

  2. Thank you!

    It's weird, I always get SO discouraged when we have our setbacks, even though they happen pretty regularly. And then I'm SO excited when we get back on track, even though that's predictable too. I'm just easily amused I suppose :D

    We are constantly making baby steps in progress. It's a fun journey with her!

  3. I do best with simple canter transitions in a figure eight when I have cones to circle. Without them I get lost. So, I completely understand!

  4. I know you think that your lost, but you seem to have everything right. You know your problems and your working on them. Your doing great, even when you were scared, you went out there, didn't let her get away with anything and got things accomplished. Way to go. Gaits aren't easy, but they come secondary to her head being not where you want it and to letting you have light contact. Once that's done, then worry about gait.


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