Lunging for Learning

Good day, Friends!

The day for Elvis’ date with the vet nears for his gelding appointment!

In preparation for after care, which involves lunging twice a day, we had a session to refine skills for both myself and Elvis.

First we were given a visual with Erika Lafors explaining what we are doing:  addressing nose in, ribs out, shoulder over, maintain gait, maintain direction.

Check it out!

Then it was my turn to be coached.  Elvis learns quickly!

Then we did a little refining on the change of direction!

How do you prepare your partner?  I’d love to hear!

Terri

 

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Catching up With Elvis

Good morning, Friends! 

Elvis continues his progress!  During the last three months of  temperatures in the nineties, I’ve been meeting up with Elvis in the mornings while still cool, to have fun with all things feet!

We have had obstacle work in the indoor arena, some Ttouch work, learning how to give a bow down, preparation for ground tying, practice on proper in-hand leading skills, pedestal fun, some liberty, work on quiet feet, trailer loading and backing out, the game of “around the world” progressing to “sit stay”, and had a first outing to an obstacle course for a day!

Awesome fun!  Let me catch you up!

Here is his trailer loading, first time went in willingly, and then here we are refining, coached by Erika Lefors, part of the ALT Horsemanship team!

Here Elvis is getting good at the bow down.

Getting some Ttouch, built into grooming time. . . . .

Tuned into his handler. . . . . .

some in-hand practice. . . . . .

coached on the pedestal. . . . . .

Practicing technique. . . . .

Playing “around the world”, we achieved twice around this day!

and finally some “sit stay” as I back away, I got two good steps in!

Be sure and follow our progress on our Facebook page DD This Dudes Rad!  Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/DD-This-Dudes-Rad-324724784544503/

Stay Tuned!

Terri

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Reconnect With Whiskey

“No heaven can heaven be, if a horse isn’t there to welcome me.”

~Author Unknown

Snow and ice and frigid temperatures!  But. . . .it is February, the time we want to be at the arena tuning up!  We’ll be ready as soon as it melts off!

I’m reconnecting with Whiskey after a season off.  Work and life distractions, let’s sweep what we can under the carpet and get back at it!

Whiskey has been in the barn at Angela Tanner’s for a couple of weeks before I started integrating with him.  I’ve started with lesson time, and also participated in a Saturday four hour workshop.

It starts with the bridlework.  Rein hand to your buckle, other hand with the dressage whip as a MOTIVATOR!  To TAP the side of the horse, like a TICKLE!  NOT a stick, NOT a whip.  If Angela sees you be too heavy handed, inadvertently of course, she will come over and remind you!  I cluck to Whiskey for the forward cue, and only lightly tap if needed.  It doesn’t take long for Whiskey to move forward with the verbal cue only.

From bridlework, we ask for a disengagement, and for Whiskey, wait until he relaxes his neck and head, then ask for a back, with a soft rein.  Say “whoa” and release.  Relax.

Relaxation is the key ingredient for Whiskey.  While he was bred to carry his head high, he is after all, an American Saddlebred, I am helping him be relaxed in his work and carry himself in a relaxed frame.  Each horse has his own translation of relaxed frame, as it applies to their conformation.  Find where this is for your horse! That is my goal for him.

Continuing the bridlework, we add the shoulder over.  Take five steps straight, then take five steps promoting the shoulder over.  I turn my body to an 11:00 position, and Whiskey needs to angle over using his shoulder to move away from me.  This will translate into the saddle.  I repeat both sides, using the 1:00 position alternately.  Often!

Angela comes to check in.  She reminds me to not lean on Whiskey, as this creates brace.  He needs to step out of my way and move his shoulder over.  Whiskey’s right side, or shoulder over to the left, is not as smooth, so we work on that side often, until it becomes as easy as the left side, or shoulder over to the right.

Whiskey and I also practice our relaxation at the mounting block.  There is a big wooden one in the arena.  We have been practicing our hip over, for easy line-up.  Whiskey is becoming nice and relaxed with this!  This is a new skill for him, and it’s lots of fun to learn new skills together!

How have you started your season tune-up?  I’d love to know!

Terri

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Sunny Winter Groundplay With Whiskey

Good morning, friends!

IMG_0874Winter is a great time to tune up with groundwork!  It is a staple for me when I can no longer haul, due to cold, ice, or snowy conditions!  There was a lack of snow on the ground this day, and plenty of sunshine!  I had to take advantage!

walking forward
walking forward

I’m advancing with being friendly with the stick to include all zones of the horse’s body.  This day, I played with the stick and string all around Whiskey’s hind end, known as zone 5.  He was very non-reactive and relaxed, the horse I was looking for!

stopping
stopping

From that exercise, I used the 22 foot lead to set up for the next session.  Without using the stick, I ask for the “follow-the-feel for stepping forward.  Whiskey did well.  For this exercise, Whiskey stays behind me, stopping when I stop, maintaining his distance.  I back up, and he backs up.  We will progress this exercise at a trot.

backing up as I do
backing up as I do

I ended up with an exercise using the carrot stick to turn Whiskey on the forehand.  He stands at my shoulder.  I have the stick straight out from my bellybutton.  I look and turn into Whiskey, the stick, as an extension of my arm, follows the bellybutton!  It presents a wall for Whiskey to turn away from.

creating a wall with the stick.
creating a wall with the stick.

This is an exaggeration for Whiskey to follow my body language!  This will translate into the saddle when we follow our focus with our eyes, shoulder, and bellybutton!  Makes sense, eh?

Let me know what you think!

Terri

 

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Going into Fall with Groundwork

WP_20151104_002Groundwork is a way to problem solve and clarify leadership without and before getting into the saddle.  I have found with ground “play”, the riding to follow goes smoothly, and I’m grateful for the positive experiences.   For some years, I have purchased broke horses, and do my tune up and relationship building starting from the ground.  I know this has helped immensely in my transition to the saddle, and I’m grateful to have this tool!  I don’t take anything for granted with a new-to-me horse, and I maintain this consistency.

WP_20151104_003For this session, we played what we called the “catch up to me” game, essentially a leading game.  I start out being friendly with the stick.  I pick up the lead, and give a porcupine feel on the halter.  Whiskey moves softly forward, so I lower the lead and take the pressure off.  My hand is open so the lead can slide through, relieving the pressure and staying soft while asking.

With my “inside” hand, I hold the stick on his back.  When he falls back, I tap him on the croup to catch up to me, so he is at my shoulder.  We do this both ways, both sides, until he consistently stays at my shoulder with the stick staying quiet and the lead rope down with my hand open, pressure off.

WP_20151104_005I found this to make a big difference with Whiskey self loading!  With pressure off, I take Whiskey over to the trailer and send him in, he goes right in, without hesitation or resentment!  He’s been hauled regularly in this trailer, but hasn’t had the happiest attitude about loading.  This leading “ask” made a huge difference!

IMG_0803Back and forth, to and from the barn, we continue to have success with Whiskey’s self loading.  I can leave him loose, or come around and tie him after closing the door.  Whiskey transitioned to backing out with a soft pull of a few tail hairs, coming out slowly, with care and awareness of his feet!

How has your ground work affected your purpose with your buddy?

I’d love to know!

Terri

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Whiskey gets his groove on

What's happening?
What’s happening?

Whiskey is having fun now!  Typically the first three Parelli Games, if it leaves your horse wondering, well, the ones following, they start to have fun with!  Whiskey is no exception!  He was ready to see what I had for him!

waiting, comfortable in our own space.
waiting, comfortable in our own space.

I built on the first three games, and we were able to progress rather quickly, with appropriate licking and chewing.  Soft and responsive on the Porcupine Game, really good at the Driving Game with the disengagement, a little slower on moving the front shoulder.  Whiskey is rather a sneaky pete on the back-up, wants to move forward, even just a step, but with consistency, he softened and said “OK”.  That was super!

This is my human, she likes to wiggle the rope!
This is my human, she likes to wiggle the rope!

I interspersed some stepping over poles, and played with backing up over the pole, taking one step at a time over a pole, watching where he was putting his feet!

oh. . .I see now
oh. . .I see now

Whiskey didn’t know what to make of the Parelli Yo-Yo game, I gave him a little help with some Porcupine and Driving game.  He stayed in his space, and was soft, that was great!

Sending. . . .
Sending. . . .

The Parelli Circle Game took a little reminding to stay out on the circle, he gave the typical “quit” response when I wasn’t looking!  He came in, disengaging, really giving that one some thought!

maintain gait, and direction
maintain gait, and direction

Whiskey’s having fun!  We ended up with a little grooming and Ttouch, and guess what???  He engaged me with his right eye on his right side without my having to ask!  I rewarded with a carrot!

IMG_0568Stay tuned!  How’s your groundwork and partnering up coming along?

I’d love to hear!

Terri

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Whiskey comes back for more. . . .

Coming to catch me!
Coming to catch me!

Another session in the works for Whiskey, more new groundwork for him!

He’s a sweetie, meets me at the gate to catch me up!  We have the usual “peanut gallery” with Handsome Guy, who’s been through all this, and Chica, who has done some. . . .Chica always shows such interest!

new friends!
new friends!

Barney more often than not now also joins the audience!

Today we progressed with the Parelli Driving Game. I’m building on the groundwork already given, repeating and adding.   Whiskey gave a good try, not needing to be perfect, giving a good lick and chew.  Afterwards some grooming and Ttouch.  Interestingly, Whiskey wants to ignore me with his right eye. . . . how interesting!

How's I do today?
How’d I do today?

I’m giving that some thought. . . . .

Stay tuned!

Terri

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An amazing session!

a little tail action
a little tail action and Chica taking an interest!

Whiskey and I continued on our progression of groundwork.  Today he caught me up, and we started with a repeat of the Parelli Friendly Game.  A little tail swishing, a little wait for the lick and chew.  Whiskey led over some ground poles to give some variety to our session.

the extension of my arm
the extension of my arm

We then progressed to the Parelli Porcupine Game.  Asking to move his feet, giving his front end, was only a little challenging because of his height!  I defaulted to using the Parelli Carrot Stick to help me out!

Interestingly, (or maybe not), moving his hind end was very light, he actually resisted until I lightened up!  And his disengagement was perfect!

OK, I get it. . . .
OK, I get it. . . .

I asked one time each side, waiting for the lick and chew afterwards.  It came after a few minutes, pretty standard for an introvert.  As Whiskey released with the lick and chew, his mouth and lips became more relaxed, even almost a tremble, like, such a release!  He looked like he was going to sleep, which is another sign of an introvert, as they process and start coming out of their shell.

The backing up was where it became even more interesting!  I asked him one time with the stick giving pressure on his brisket.  He gave a couple steps, and came forward one.  I asked again to reinforce, and he gave me, again, a couple more steps back.  I appropriately stroked with the stick before and after, and he is doing well with that desensitization.

I waited for the lick and chew, and waited. . . . . and waited. . . . . .and waited.  How interesting!  His mouth was relaxed, his eyelids became droopy, but still I waited. Like, ten minutes!  I finally gave him some Tellington Touch starting on his poll and down his neck, lightly, both sides, and also some Ttouch Raccoon touches on the face around his eyes.  Whiskey was accepting of all that.  Then finally it came. . . . . .and came. .. . . . .and came!  The licking and chewing, instead of just one or two, went on for 30 seconds, maybe a minute!  I’ve never encountered that!  I don’t know what it means, but I’m sure it’s a good thing!

What an amazing session!

head in my lap. . .
head in my lap. . .

We are taking this slow, and keeping it short, since it is becoming obvious I have an introvert in Whiskey.  Must be my favorite kind of personality!

What are some of your “how interesting” moments?

I’d love to hear!

Terri

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“Playing” with Whiskey!

IMG_0489After riding out with Chica, I gave everyone some social time all together.  Interestingly, Whiskey was rather odd man out with the other two, whose relationship is established, and each wearing white fur coats!  He was independent minded, and went his own way, not a beggar!

We know what's coming!
We know what’s coming!

Time came for a session of ground work with Whiskey.  I asked the other two to retire to the paddock, of which they took up seats in the Peanut Gallery.  They gave me the feeling that they definitely knew what was coming!

introduction. . . .
introduction. . . .

The first routine is the concept of the whip, stick, or what have you, being an extension of your arm.  I was told that Whiskey is sensitive to some of the equipment used as aides, so decided we would go slow and easy.

Ok, I get it. . . .
Ok, I get it. . . .

He definitely wasn’t sure what to think!  He did accept strokes all over, from head to toe, front to back, letting out big sighs, and then the lick and chew.

Combine with poles to make it interesting. . .
Combine with poles to make it interesting. . .

I threw in some variety with leading over ground poles, showing him where my boundary was, and helping him to be comfortable in his own space.  Of course, I was telling him what a good boy he is!

Ahhhhh. . . . .
Ahhhhh. . . . .

We finished up with some grooming and Tellington Touch.  And a nice flake of hay for dinner!

What are some of your favorite moves for play time?  ‘

I’d love to know!

Terri

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Natural horsemanship: Dealing with the horse that shows up!

Just another playday at the barn!  NOT!
Just another playday at the barn! NOT!

Diary entry:  August 24th

Met up with Liz for some barn time.  We went earlier to the barn before Steele was turned out.  We groomed and saddled up with the dressage saddle and rope halter in preparation for some in-hand work.

How interesting!
How interesting!

We started out calm enough.  I started with in-hand work on the circle.  Steele decided to really put some energy into it, more than I asked for, how interesting!  For all my plan of getting another ride over ground poles and transitions on the rail, this was circumvented by “the horse that showed up” for me to deal with!

Disengagement, notice how he crosses over with the hind feet.
Disengagement, notice how he crosses over with the hind feet.

I maintained a neutral stance, kept the carrot stick low energy, let him buck and kick it out, then waved the carrot stick in front of him to slow and do a down transition.  After passing my shoulder, I asked him to look at me and “hide his hiney”, disengaging his hindquarters.  I did this both directions.

at rest in his own space
at rest in his own space

He responded nicely, but letting me know his thoughts on working when it was scheduled turn-out time!

If we do this quickly, can I have my turnout?
If we do this quickly, can I have my turnout?

Once you open the communication between you and your horse with the Parelli Seven Games, which is groundwork based on their language, how they communicate with each other, well, you might get some interesting conversation from their point of view!

Notice the attachment of the slack line, this is mental attachment!
Notice the slack line, this is mental attachment!

It’s great to go to the barn with a plan, however, sometimes it’s all about the “horse that shows up”!

Am I looking good for the camera, LIz?
Am I looking good for the camera, LIz?

Find that time to quit on a positive note.  If you have to ask yourself if you have done enough, you likely have!

Turn out time!
Turn out time!

How’s your natural horsemanship coming along with your partner?  I’d love to hear!

Terri

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