Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Learning is not linear

Princess Fancy Pants has been making great progress in our lessons with the trainer. I try to combine all sorts of other lessons when I work with her on my own - trailering, bathing, standing tied, being good for trims, etc. - in addition to my homework from the trainer. The last time I did my homework I saddled PFP and did some trot poles and some light lunging, but I didn't do too much in the way of long-lining.

We had a lesson on Sunday and I asked trainer if we could long-line PFP on the trails on my property. I've hand-walked her back there many times so she knows the area, but I thought it would be good to have a "lead" person and a long-lining person just to be safe. So I was the lead and trainer did the long-lining. After one pass on the long straightaway, we took her off the lead but I continued to walk with her. Then I fell behind and pony was in the lead all by herself. She did great! She was so brave and marched right on forward. We did a lap of the loop in each direction and then went to the outside arena. Trainer did some serpentines and turns down centerline and pony was perfect. So she handed the reins to me.


Ok, well not total disaster, just not good. I couldn't steer worth a damn and poor pony was probably getting really confused. It was all I could do to go straight! We finally went in a couple straight lines and halted and called it quits. Her quarter was running out and I was worried that I was just making matters worse.

Over the weekend I worked on the footing in the indoor so it is much more even and less deep and I think pony will like it much better.

Today I did my homework. Ugh. I decided to attach the long lines to the lunging cavesson instead of the bit because if I sucked at it today then I don't want to be in her mouth confusing her. We did a very nice warm up - just two baby shoulder-fores in each direction for a few steps down the long side, then a light lunge doing some straight-aways and then circling so that we used the whole arena, then some with me standing in one spot and doing transitions. It was lovely and soft and nice and easy.

Then I attached the other line so we could do some double-lunging and long-lining. I started off double-lunging to the left. It was really good! Just a few big circles and we stopped and then did some long-lining. Ugh. Again I can't steer for shit! WTH? I think I'm over-doing it on the turns so instead of a turn down centerline, she'd do a circle. We just got all discombobulated and it wasn't pretty. So then we went back to double-lunging in the other direction and it was great again!

I had been afraid of double-lunging because it seems so, well, complicated with two lines and keeping them untangled and using them properly, etc. But today the double-lunging was the easy part and the long-lining (which I had been feeling good about) was the hard part!

So true that learning isn't linear. I thought I had been doing well in one thing and not another and when I went to practice, the thing I thought I was doing well totally sucked and the thing I thought I'd suck at I did well! Go figure!

Pony seemed to like the footing improvements better. She is doing really well when the trainer works with her, so I'm glad I got a pro on board to help me!

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