Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Missing Pieces

I've just returned from my first "trail obstacle" group lesson at a friend's natural horsemanship (non PNH) training stable.

Guinness and I had a good time, even though it was pretty hot. There were LOTS of different obstacles and we didn't have a chance to try them all.

Here are my thoughts about the evening:
  • Guinness is unflappable and will pick up *anything* if he thinks that there may be a reward for it - even rubber snakes and bags of "trash."
  • His mounted HQ yields and sideways need work. Going to the left is better than the right.
  • He backed nicely mounted many times, but when he was "on stage" he froze. Perhaps because I felt on the spot and got direct-line with him? I know that I was sure pulling on his face a lot.
  • He worked many gates successfully, but not very efficiently. This relates to our sideways and backing issues, I'm sure.
  • He managed to stand with all 4 feet on a pedestal for the first time! And he went down on both front knees (bowing) for the first time.
  • He jumped a 2' pole jump several times with almost no prompting, and he did a good Figure 8 pattern on a 12' line.
  • He was much more willing to offer an intermediate gait (both "gaiting" and trotting) while mounted but it really isn't consistent so it was difficult to ride gracefully.. I need some pointers with this!
Tomorrow morning, Guinness and I are going to meet a friend where she boards her horses. We are going to try to get some of her levels taping done. Plus, I've talked her into participating in this weekend's ACTHA ride, so we'd like to practice.

My goals for tomorrow will be to have her watch me ride Guinness at something faster than a walk & perhaps video it for critique. I'd also like her to help me with sideways and backing with a soft feel. And G. and I need to practice plain old trotting 4-5 laps on the 22'!

We are getting there. I just have to remember that he has only really been ridden since the beginning of April - only about 3 months ago. It sure feels longer. :-)

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