Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Time it Takes (Oct. 24)

"Take the time it takes so that it takes less time." ~Pat Parelli

This session wasn't outstanding or significant in any way. Avalon was spooky and gorgeous as always. I was still limping around with a broken finger. I considered tossing this post out or combining it with another. But it's so, so important to show these seemingly insignificant barn days. This is what horse training looks like, especially if you don't have a lot of free time. Days that are repetitive. Doing the same thing again. Learning the same lessons again. Checking and rechecking those basics. You have to put in all those boring, insignificant days in order to achieve the exciting breakthroughs and adventures.
Looks beautiful when she spooks.

Training is much easier with taped fingers that with the metal finger brace. I had some trouble with the tape tearing my skin, but otherwise I preferred this setup. 

The moment in the picture above was amazing. I let Avalon off of her lead rope and the first thing she did was walk over to the mounting block and start pawing it. I am in the process of teaching her to set her hoof on things. I used the mounting block and rewarded her with a treat whenever she touched it. Avalon is extremely food motivated. 

So. Pretty.
Although it is a long journey, full of steps forward and steps back, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love this beautiful horse. I love her spunk and energy. We get to build our confidence and skill together.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

At Long Lining Last! (Oct 23)

artsy photo just cause
I've been promising a long lining post for a while now. Oops. One of the problems is that it is difficult to take photos of yourself long lining. I tried with my camera remote and tripod, but they didn't really turn out.
Can you even see me?
I may not have good pictures of the long lining in action, but I have plenty of Avalon looking cute!

I like to start out every session by trying to get Avalon into a relaxed, thinking state of mind. 

Lowered head, licking and chewing.

Here are a couple of pictures I took while long lining. The first few sessions were rough. Ava would overreact to every cue, trying to turn and face me. Until one day it clicked for her. That day we walked and trotted. I have not (purposefully) loped her while long lining yet. Now that she understands the concept, I can awkwardly long line with one hand while taking photos or videos.

I've been doing some exercises to encourage her to continue in a straight line without micromanagement. Basically, I point her in a direction, wait until she turns away on her own accord, and then turn her sharply in the opposite direction that she turned. As long as she continues straight I leave her alone. I'm only using a halter at the moment, since she is resisting the pressure a lot. I don't want to do any damage to her mouth. She seems to like contact, as much "contact" as you have in a halter. She is very forward unlike when I put a couple rides on her. She likes to march forward, with pressure on the long lines. 

I love it when she looks back at me, like she's asking, "What now?"

She even spooked for the first time (or three times) while long lining. I wasn't sure how that would go, but other than rubbernecking to avoid moving toward scary things, she was great! She didn't run through my "rein aids". It is hard to correct messy shoulders without leg aids though. 

Not food motivated at alllll. Not even a leetle. No ma'am.