Sunday, November 20, 2016

Down the Long Side

I have been reaching to books for ideas and exercises to do as the weather has suddenly plunged into winter mode and I am trapped in the indoor arena for the next six months more or less.

One exercise that I believe I pulled from Reiner Klimke's Training the Young Horse book is letting the horse learn to extend/move the trot into a lengthened trot on the long side while on the lunge.

I decided to go ahead and modify this by putting down ground poles to make a long "chute" to guide her straight along the rail, so I could cheat a little and not have to worry about her only going into "auto circle" mode while in the lines.

Chili at times gets tight and ends up doing this little pony trot, so I wanted to have her enjoy the chance to go straight and feel like she could move out without my interference, as long as she behaved and wasn't running off her feet.

She seemed to enjoy herself, but it did bring up another thing that I need to work on and that is her butt phobia.

She doesn't like things on her back legs and while intimidated, immediately clamps down and worries, runs forward, or some variation thereof.   I don't know if this is directly tied into the dog attack that she sustained about a year ago that ended up injuring a back leg, but it has been recently come to my attention as something I need to adjust her response and fear.

This is why in the above photo, I'm lining more like the gaited horses with the line up and over her back instead of behind the hamstrings like many people like to classically do.

As this is called the Semi Feral Equestrian blog, I do tend to pick and choose what I do in my semi feral style, as long as the horse is responding.  :)

At the end of the session, it was an excellent time to go back to basics with just running the lines along the ground, up her pasterns and along her hamstrings.  If she worried, I didn't punish her by pulling on her face, although she was still in the lunging cavesson. 
The goal was to wait for a positive reaction in which she didn't clamp her tail, tuck her butt, move forward, and so forth.  Positive response meant I removed the stimulus (rope) and let her relax for a moment. 

Rinse and repeat.

This was a few days ago and I'm happy to say that I worked again for about five minutes tonight on the lines and while she initially worried, it took less than thirty seconds before she relaxed into licking and chewing with the lines in her "worry zones".

I think it will be a point to check in for the next few weeks and months until hopefully, we've moved on past that. 

Funny how small experiences, as in her accident with the dog, can leave deep impressions.

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