A little wrap up for the first and second week of learning!
I feel that I am exactly in the place I need to be with Smokey to get these skills assessed, and lack of skill, and have Angela coach both of us to success. We are finding the holes we both have, and are building communication and confidence as we learn together. I’ve thrown a lot at her the last three days, maybe more than has been thrown at her in her entire life! (9 years).
Angela also helped with loading, Smokey shows she is willing, but also needs to get comfortable with the routine of going somewhere, hauling by herself, and will eventually tie and use the divider, increasing her flexibility. She is hauling loose right now, choosing to haul backwards, hauling quietly, and unloading calmly, waiting for my cue to step down.
I feel for the first week of three days, we have found solutions to disengagement, my space-your space, mounting block practice, bridle work, achieving some lightness with the serpentine pattern, and some basic loading practice. We are on our way!
During the second week, we had a day at a wonderful trail course, with poles, for pattern work, ground poles, a different mounting block!, a trench, big tire filled with dirt, and lots of stuff that we didn’t have time to do.
Smokey wanted more practice standing still at the mounting block, we are ground tying, doing exercises for moving the shoulder, and the morning of the last day, Smokey tried her best to let me know that I am invisible, and I don’t exist! She wouldn’t look at me, she wouldn’t let me approach her right side, high head tossing, so that was great we worked through that!
I’m taking 12 lessons in weekly clusters of three, with a week off in between. (for homework). There are four of us, all about the same age, three are retired already, with the usual bag of fears and confidence issues, along with holes in our horses, lol!! The lessons will work on foundation stuff, which I love, since it gives you a really strong set of skills when you go to do anything with your horse.
Angela Tanner is our coach. She allows me to whine, and then tells me to get on with it! She addresses our fears and the reasons behind them. She never invalidates our individual experience or lack of it. She meets us where we are at, and helps us meet the horse where he is at. She understands that when we take a horse to a new environment, even to the outdoor arena, that we lose some of their focus and response, and how to deal with that.
I’ll give you more on some of the exercises we do, a lot of fun things that I looked at and said, not happening, and then it did, whoo hoo! We are getting great direction on technique for rein and shoulder, and now progressing to lightness on the mouth, using our leg.
Smokey is coming along really well, (and myself also!). She is self loading, cooperative and enjoying herself, especially when I can give proper direction! Her “brake” with disengagement is now much more automatic. She does really well at standing quietly upon mounting up until I give her the forward cue. I have a screw in my ankle, so I need these skills. I need my horse to make it easy for me, helping me to have a good time!
I wish you a great time with your buddy! What have you been doing to achieve that? I’d love to hear!