Friday, June 10, 2016

Clinic report - day 2

While I had many goals for the clinic, my main goal was to get over the tarp issue, so on day two I asked for more help with the tarp. We did a little more of the same from day one, but still no walking over it.

The clinician actually did the same work with another horse in the round pen and I watched his approach so that I could practice it later. Of course I've always heard "make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult" but it always helps to watch a master in person to study his or her technique and find the nuances of how to make that happen. What he did with some other horses was to make the tarp the "safe place" or resting place - otherwise, the horse had to go to work. The horses he worked with didn't seem to have such an aversion to the tarp as Pony does, but it was still helpful to watch the progress in person.

The clinician was in the round pen on his horse and had the other horse loose. The tarp was on one side of the round pen next to the wall. The clinician flagged the horse on the ground, only putting pressure on in the area that was NOT near the tarp. Once the horse got near the tarp, he took the pressure off. If the horse wanted to leave the tarp area that was fine, but he would get flagged and asked to move around and work. Again, the tarp was the resting place. The more the horse got comfortable near the tarp, the clinician asked him to consider going closer to the tarp . . . first standing squarely in front of it, then getting closer, then putting his head down to look at it and/or sniff it, then to walk over it. Eventually, the horse would stand on it to find relief. I kept that imagery and session in my head for the next day's work.

Before anyone rode today, the clinician had the horses all run around together in the arena. I've seen this done before and actually never thought I'd have my horse do it because it looks scary and potentially dangerous. But I did it. And nothing bad happened. Having said that, though, I don't think I'll ever do it again.

In the afternoon I did a little more riding, this time working on figure 8s around other horses in the arena at the walk and trot. Pony was very good with all the stuff going on around her. I didn't ride for too long, and when I got off I continued work with my flag, getting the tarp pieces around her feet and rewarding her for considering it and not stepping away. Got lots of "mental releases" where she'd lower her head and yawn, so I considered that progress. We also worked on walking over the bridge and she decided she was very brave about that. I think she enjoyed being a bit taller, as she'd get on and stand there and look around. She seemed quite pleased with herself!

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