Here is Bella’s 2nd lesson video…enjoy 😉
- Shelley – HorseSavvy
Here is Bella’s 2nd lesson video…enjoy 😉
We are always in the process of learning and this can be frustrating when what we want to do isn’t as easy to achieve as we thought. When working with horses (or any animal) we can ask what we want, we can get the right positioning and the right technique but the animal always has the timeline. What does that mean I hear you say?
The TIMELINE is the amount of time the animal needs to be relaxed and figure something out, whether it needs to become acclimatised to something flapping about, time to figure out something new, time to just think really. We need to allow them to do this so they have the timeline on everything, we can’t rush them or they can become frightened or shut down and can cause innate reactions of Flight, Fight, Freeze (or even shutting down or learned helplessness).
So if the horse has the timeline and you’re trying to progress and even you become worried about doing something new then this is where the word YET can help you not get frustrated. Whenever I am trying to do something but I know we have more progress to achieve then I use the word YET at the end of a sentence such as:
We can’t do that YET
We can’t figure that out YET
We haven’t tried that YET
We haven’t tried riding YET
We won’t try that just YET
By putting YET at the end of a negative sentence will change it into a positive sentence and helps you feel that you can achieve things once you’ve got more skills, techniques, bravery, trust, willingness and confidence.
So next time you think about saying ‘We can’t do that’ then just put a YET at the end of it and put yourself on your horse’s timeline.
Weds 1st Aug
Working away at the first lesson games, today we worked with poles too so that she can see what the games are for. Here is how things are going….
1. More steps happening now
2. Lighter cues
3. Games working around obstacles
4. Upping energy and noise with familiarisation of stick/string
5. Understanding ‘stay’ after backing up
6. Back up wiggle is slowly getting lighter
7. Moving forehand is getting there
8. S2M is going well and she’s slowly allowing me in her right more
Sat 4th Aug
Well today we worked on playing some games with POLES and also playing them whilst Mark rode Stormy away from us. Bella was a star, she kept an eye on where Storm went but was able to connect to me and play nicely too which is great. The pole work we have started on is:
We tried backing up over pole with back feet but she really doesn’t get this…yet 🙂
I also did a huge amount of Familiarisation with our bareback pad, girthed it up and then played some games with her wearing it….it went very well, very pleased with her progress today, here’s some pics from the bareback session….
Tues 6th Aug
I’ve been continuing with the basic HS NH games over the last few days with Bella, introduced some half circle trot with calmness and also some Feel sidepass moves L&R which I was very surprised with how well that went. She’s getting used to me being on her right more and I’ve also started asking her to lower her head with some ‘manic butterfly’ focus games building that more and more so that her face familiarisation is getting better. She can raise her head as if startled when a hand comes near her which isn’t bad but I want her to be fine with hands near her face and to learn to lower her head instead of raising it and she is learning that lowering her head is good, brings about relaxation and that the worrying thing goes away when head is down…this also helps relieve her of any unnecessary negative adrenaline (-E) being around and so she falls in love with relaxation/head down and the endorphins it produces, just like the endorphins that are produced when grazing.
Today we also did more familiarisation with things on her back…..a sweat rug and a saddle with pad. I’m not sure at all if she’s ever had these things on her or if she has whether it’s been a positive experience BUT she took to both nicely and am going to build up time with these and a bareback pad and treat her as if she’s a youngster being backed for the first time…better to be safe than sorry, for her and for me 🙂
Thurs 8th Aug
More Familiarisation for Bella today with a visit from the farrier.
She did very well but we realise she’s not had this done as often as she should have and was feeling a wee bit unstable at times, even though farrier was quick, calm and kind and gave her LOTS of scratches.
SO…our job is to put her foot up on a stand every day for longer and longer periods, to make sure she feels happy and secure with her foot in the back and forward positions ready for her next trim.
Fri 9th Aug
Well the heavens have truly opened up today and Storm and Bella were getting soaked SO it was a great opportunity to Familiarise her to a rug. She was a bit sceptical but took it well, she was ok walking around in it and still happily in it a few hours later when we took it off as the rain stopped. By winter she’ll be used to one no problem 🙂
Sun 11th Aug
Its been raining on and off for days and its been hard to try to get out with Bella and Storm for any length of time SO today when I went out to feed them their dinner at 5 o’clock and it was still drizzling I decided to put together a new Agility course and it was lovely that both of them came over to see what I was up to…a great start to a short play session I thought 🙂
First was a really nice liberty play with Storm, it is lovely for Bella to see me playing with him, he’s so confident and calm with all the obstacles that it gives her confidence. Bella’s online session was very good but it showed in our familiarisation with the stick and string over her back that I’d not done it for a while…..we need to have much more consistency doing this so really hoping the weather behaves itself soon. Here’s some pics from today…
Mon 12th Aug
Today we had some nice weather during the day so Mark and I got ourselves together and out to Storm and Bella for some fun. I started out grooming Bella and then playing with the Agility obstacles online. She did really well and is starting to really understand my cues now…and my cues are able to get lighter now too 🙂
< Foot in hulahoop
Bunting lane >
< Draw through bunting
Bunting backup >
< Over tarp
Over tarp >
< Fig 8’s
Fig 8’s >
< 2 feet easily on ped
Back feet on ped >
< Trot poles
Trot poles >
< Fig 8’s
Beginning sidepass >
It was a lovely session of Agility. We also walked in-hand up the field and hill while Mark rode Big stormy. She was calm, attentive and responsive to my breathing transitions, backing up off a light cue on the halter/rope and didn’t worry or try to catch Stormy up no matter what gait he did or where he was in the field 🙂
And in between Bella showed she can have a yeehaa when she doesn’t understand something….but what a lovely yeehaa she had, engaged in her core and not in a nasty way at all…
And last, but not least, we had a lovely calm session at the mounting block…here, most of all, I’m looking for her to find relaxation with me here. I will do this more and more and ask her to rest with me at the block…our ‘sweet spot’ 🙂
What a nice day, great that the weather allowed me to catch up on Bella’s training today
The 13th Aug
Bella and I need to do more undemanding time so thought we’d try to do more today. We went into a round pen for some ‘together time’ but I didn’t realise how bonded Storm and Bella have become because as soon as Mark started riding Stormy round and about her total attention was on him and where he was! how interesting! LOL
< distracted Bella
took 20 mins she lowered her head >
< Bella watching Storm’s every move
Mark and Storm >
I think I need to do our ‘undemanding time’ when Storm is close by next time! LOL
Weds 14th Aug
Today I thought about trying some ‘hanging out time’ with Bella as tomorrow I’m away to teach a clinic in Dumfries & Galloway for 5 days SO it’s time for some hugs 🙂 We started off at liberty in the round pen with me sitting in the centre but she just started grazing as there is quite a bit of grass in it SO…..I took her out on line and stood on the crate to give her some hugs and get her used to me being at her saddle area, on both sides. She was quiet and attentive and I loved our quiet time together today….must do more of it 🙂
The Dynamic Duo
Weds 21 Aug
I’ve been away teaching over the weekend so today was my first day back with the herd, 6 days without any contact. Bella yesterday at dinner was sceptical if me like when she first came but it only took 5 mins to be back in her ‘bubble’ so today was as if I’d not been away 🙂
We started off with a bit of play in the agility area but with a bareback pad on, I need her to get used to moving with it on her back and a girth around her ribs.
We also made sure her new 7′ rug fits well…
Both the pad and rug are familiarisation games which she took too well 🙂
Next Mark went out and rode Storm in the long grass of the field and Bella and I went and walked and played in that area too… She has not been out here yet so it was interesting to see if she was ok, which she was and we had a nice time.
Fri 23rd Aug
Today Mark played with Bella, their first official play session together. She wasn’t sure what was going on as Mark is the food man and I’m the play girl so at first, at liberty, she was a bit unsure of it all, but online she understood and they had a good, calm, quiet session which included half circles in a relaxed walk over the pole corridor, through the labyrinth, behind the flapping bunting which had a raised pole nearby, onto a pedestal and over the noisy tarp.
Relaxed 1/2 circle over pole corridor >
Weds 28th Aug
Today we had a couple of firsts but before that we did some nice S2M, circles, fig 8’s and weave in the grassy part of our field, this is not where the horses graze regularly but our winter grazing section so Stormy is used to being out there being ridden but it’s only Bella’s 2nd time.
< Circles >
< More shape through circles >
< Fig 8’s >
< Fig 8’s >
< Fig 8’s
We also had a FIRST with the start of flag familiarisation, I’ll need to do a lot more to help her relax around it but it was a good start today 🙂
The 2nd FIRST today was teaching Bella to learn how to jump, nothing big but for her to learn how to get her weight onto her hq’s and lighten her forehand to get over it and work her fronts and back legs together.
Final try jumping which worked out nicely
AND the last FIRST we did today was for me to put my weight fully on her back 😉 So pleased with her 😉
Thurs 29th Aug
Today I played with Bella after her dinner because it had been drizzly all day up to then and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of a play session with her. We got some nice relaxed S2M over the poles with halt transitions on a breath out and the pole under her belly, we also got some nice half circles through the poles and some fig 8’s around the tyres 🙂
< Getting our Connection
Following me >
Friday 30th Aug
Today it wouldn’t stop drizzing so we decided to try to keep the consistency of a bit of daily play…the rain started becoming heavier as we were playing but I didn’t stop and ended on a good note. Today we did some regular games that she is getting used to but also put in some flag play which is new to her. I’ve helped this play by putting up a couple of flags in the field so that she can get used to their movement and noise 24/7 and as Stormy isn’t worried by them he can help her become familiarised to them….AND because it was raining we also did the beginning of umbrella familiarisation, again with Stormy showing her how to be ok with it 🙂
< Storm keeping dry
Bella learning from Storm >
< More familiarisation needed for tossing rope over head >
< Helping Bella learn familiarisation of the rope so we can do a spin later on >
< Circling to the left
Circling to the right >
< Familiarisation with flag…she isn’t sure of it on her body yet >
< slowly getting there with the flag, she’s starting to learn that it goes away when she halts >
< following the flag goes well >
< flag familiarisation and she’s finding some curiosity >
< Flag curiosity >
< Feet familiarisation with the pedestal, only 2 feet so far but working on all 4 as we go
2 feet in hulahoop >
A couple of moments of bonding between games 😉
Sat 31st Aug
LOTS of heavy rain this morning but we managed to get out and play with Bella in the afternoon between showers and I’m so glad we did, we filmed her 2nd Lesson which shows her progress nicely and the video is up on the blog category ‘Bella’s Lesson Video’s’ 😉
Here is Bella’s first lesson video, we started the basics of HS NH on the 18th of July ’19 and its been progressing nicely.
BELLA ((Isobella)- details:
Shire broodmare (we’ve been told she was ridden by a previous owner)
17.2hh and 10 yrs old.
Thursday 11th July – Bella was delivered to us today and Mark walked her the mile along tracks to our field where she will now rest up, get used to us and our routines and start to feel at home. Soon she will be in with Big Storm and we hope they will be the best if friends.
< Walking towards new home with Mark
With me in her new field >
First day: Friday 12 July
Bella was a little sceptical today but I just made sure she felt safe and not pressured to do anything at all. She was nicely curious about things like the grooming kit the halter and rope on the floor, the quad bike and me too 🙂
Allowing her curiosity will help her feel at home
She’s also enjoying her meals….starting off small and just forage it will help her settle and help us connect with her quickly.
In the afternoon we spent some time faltering her, grooming her, fly spraying her and getting the tangles out if her name and tail.
it’s a short tail at the moment but is fabulously thick and will be glorious once its grown again 🙂
Bella stretched her legs this afternoon too when Mark rode Stormy nearby in the field. She has lovely gaits and I can see why she was a broodmare for a couple of years, her babies must have been lovely.
Sat 13th July
Lovely sunny day for Mark and I to hang out with the herd. We’re taking things very slowly with Bella so that she learns to trust us and finds confidence in our routines, it must be weird for her to have been taken from all she knows to a place and people she’s never met before SO first in my mind is for her to find relaxation in the small basic’s we do, things like feeding, haltering, grooming, fly spraying etc. Once she’s used to those things then we can start with more training.
Today it was lovely to see her curious enough to follow Mark about as he did things in her part of the field, working at liberty with these small things allows her to know she can move away if she feels she needs to and to come to us if she feels she can 🙂
< Following Mark
Watching Mark >
< Bella’s beautiful soft eye
Loving her grub >
Sunday 14th July
Today’s session started with Bella moving away when I asked to halter her….no problem as she is allowed her opinion and it allowed us to have a conversation. That conversation consisted of me following her in a ‘neutral’ way (ie. not pushing her or driving her, just following and her leading). When she got to an open area she turned her head and put her ear towards me, I stopped, lowered my eyes and rested so that she could think about her next move. She didn’t move SO I walked forward but giving her a wide berth and took my focus onto a barrel on it’s side. When I reached the barrel I sat down and thought about anything other than Bella. She stood for a while and then came over to me, this is the curiosity I want to encourage, that gives her the confidence to come to me and to know I’m okay to be around 🙂
I started off by allowing her to smell my hand, then I stood up and stroked her neck/shoulder and started walking off with my hand at her nose. She followed me in a lovely Stick 2 Me (S2M) at Liberty. I then stroked her neck again and haltered her and we managed some nice halt/walk breath transitions together 🙂
< Liberty S2M
Haltered S2M >
Next we repeated the haltering process…on/off/on/off with me asking for relaxation, head down and towards me to halter. I used +R treat training to help her know she’s doing well.
After a nice session we took one electric fence away from Storm and Bella, now they are about 8′ away from each other, can see and smell each other more. This is the start of their relationship….they were curious about each other but not prancing about nor running away. We will make sure Bella is ready to be friends with Storm before we let them loose together, it has to be on her terms, when she’s confident and happy about being with him.
Thurs 18th July
Managed to get out with Bella today. Mark did a quick flare trim on her hooves as they were quite bad. Wil do a proper trim next week but today we wanted to make sure she was ok being trimmed and ok putting each for up on the stand. She did really well. After the trim I decided to just start with a couple of basic HS moved to see how she reacts/responds to things.
Here is what I did:
1) Familiarisation: hands all over, patting and moving around her with some energy (much better than when she first arrived)
2) Feel: moved her hq’s and fh away (good on hq’s, sticky on fh but only because she didn’t understand the first time, second time much easier…learns quickly)
3) Focus: moved hq’s 180′ (easy and fluid-nice)
I look forward to having more play sessions but have to remind myself that she is a real beginner so slow and gentle is the way ahead and to not do too much at once. Mark talked to the original breeder of Bella this morning, be owned her from birth to about 7yrs old. She was bred with and gave him 2-3 foals. The last owner, who we purchased her from, also took 2 foals from her so I am treating her like a youngster to keep her confidence and earn her trust.
Mon 22nd July
Mark moved the horses fences closer today so that instead of being 8′ apart they are now only a couple of feet apart 🙂
Tues 23rd July
Today our two Shires went in together. They’ve had enough time to get used to each other and recently touch noses and they’re both wanting to be in together SO we opened up Bella’s fencing and let them get to know each other more.
At first Bella went and checked out Storm’s bachelor pad and Storm checked out Bella’s area which was very interesting, then slowly they started interacting and it was really nice to watch. They respected each other’s space, no pushing or rushing, no biting, kicking, running, bolting or legs in the air…phew 😉
Wed 24th July
Today was our 2nd small play session. Keeping all of the games short and sweet so she has time to understand things and is happy to come back and do more next time. we did the same as on the 18th but managed to do 2 steps on each if the games this time and added the beginnings of wiggling the rope for a backup and a soft draw towards.
Moving hq’s >
< Move forehand
Move forehand >
< Move fh towards
Wiggle to halt/backup >
< Move hq’s
Head down >
Fri 26th July
3rd session today, all going well and building up the time we play now.
Mark is also riding Stormy daily (when he can) to get him fit and Bella is keeping him company which is great to see.
Sat 27th July
Another nice session with Bella, after dinner time today 🙂 We did same as before, more steps and more lightness which is fab, I also added her first 1/2 circle through a gateway. We also managed to film our ‘Lesson 1’ which I have put up on the Category to the right called “Bella’s Lesson Video’s” 🙂
Storm and Bella are really starting to enjoy each other more now with lots of mutual grooming going on….
Sun 28th July
Well we’ve had Bella 2 1/2 weeks now… Such a short time but it feels like she’s been a part of our lives for a long time she’s fitted in so well.
SO…Today was our 5th session and we practised our basics on our FIRST Agility session. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see Bella understanding what we were doing and it was helped by us watching Storm do his session first…. He learned by watching our horses Holly and Tara at the time and now it’s his turn to teach.
Here are some pics of her first Agility session….
< squeeze through narrow gap
Walk over large tube >
< walk under arch
Walk over tarpaulin >
< Fig 8
Fig 8 >
< 2 feet on pedestal
Walk over poles >
< Feet on/in hulahoop
Weave through cones >
< End where we began at the narrow gap 🙂
Me with our 2 beauties Bella and Storm >
Progressing our ridden work slowly so that all the basic’s are becoming second nature and it was nice to add some new bits today to expand on our riding.
Spirit and I have been getting our online communication better and better by working on the 3F basics (Familiarisation, Feel, Focus techniques of HorseSavvy) for 3 1/2 months he’s been with us now. I love it when the ABC’s we started with become more sentences and then paragraphs of connection through communication. Today we started getting more of that connection by using the 3F techniques with more fluidity and using obstacles which helps in using the ‘games’ for a ‘purpose’.
Today was riding session 7 of 7 from our video lesson 6. It was SO worth taking the time to set this 2nd lot of basic techniques down with Spirit. He started off bracy and very stiff on his right, a bit unbalanced and not sure about going forward but he is now getting lighter and lighter every time we ride, his right side is starting to yield nicely as long as I take the time to help him not brace, he’s moving into the open/direct rein from my focus/energy/seat/leg aids and is starting to be softer with the dhq/indirect reins too now. His back up is so light and we have started to think about transitioning up into trot. I’m so pleased with his progress and it’s helping to teach me all over again the understanding of where lightness and connection with riding comes from 🙂
< Spirit doing well with his Liberty Ground Tying exercise.
Riding coming along well and another video lesson coming soon >
Lovely online session with Spirit today in the newly set up agility area. I used a 22′ line and he did reply well on this length of rope, his circles were nicer in trot and also some nice canter on both reins which was great to see. He also did some good 1/2 circles over poles, between tight squeezes of a barrel and the fence in trot and over a jump. He also did some nice sidepassing along a fenceline 🙂
Continuing our NH journey Spirit is doing well with all the ground work and getting used to bitless riding now quite well, he’s certainly turning from my focus/outside leg and weight aids with more clarity now.
Today Spirit and I did some long reining in some bitless bridles. I wanted to see how well he went in them and to see if he’d long rein ok. He did really well 😉
Longreining in bitless bridles:
2) Light Rider
3) Dr Cooks
Long reined really nicely, rode for a short time trying out the Transcend which has no moving parts and is an easy Sidecue type of bitless bridle 😉
Another good play session with some Agility obstacles then riding in slightly bigger, different arena space.
Slowly getting more ‘engagement and first time for some canter circles.
Trying out the Transcend Double Bitless Bridle with Spirit, mostly using the Sidecue, upper reins today.
Then some more riding with just the rope halter/reins that he’s used to. To ride in a ‘bitless bridle’ needs great lightness of communication through good cues. The ones I use are ‘focus/breathing/seat weight/leg aids’ and he’s getting there but not enough connection to change from rope halter…yet 😉
Doing so well with placing his feet on things like pedestals, tarps, mats and hula hoops. I extended that with asking for individual feet over and back with a pole 😉
Really listening to my energy/breathing cues to draw and drive over the pole today.
Connecting but not bonding as I would like, I feel I’m training someone else’s horse and with that in mind and that he wants to GO and I want to HALT often I have put him up for sale to a genuine home so that I can help him find his forever home with someone that wants to ride him as fast as he wants to go and give him a job to do which he deserves.
I am very sad but know this is the best thing for him.
RIding going better today.
After really thinking things through and searching my heart I have decided that Spirit should go to a home where he will be ridden out and used more. He really is a lovely boy but our ‘vibes’ don’t match and I realised that what I actually need is an easy-peasy no worries kinda horse that can plod out with Stormy and Mark on a happy hack as I’ve not done that for years and miss it a lot. So, with that decision made I have been searching for a lovely new owner for Spirit to take him further in his education and give him some fun things to do 😉
Today a really nice lady called Gracey came to see/ride Spirit with a view to buying him. All went very well so am waiting to hear if she wants to take him on and work him on her farm and to do some XC and flat hunting with him in the Borders here in Scotland. If she does take him we will hopefully keep in touch and I’ll be able to go and see him when I visit the area when I travel with my teaching clinics. Very excited for Spirit, she looks a much nicer height and weight for him too 😉
Spirit and Gracey
She easily rode bitless but also took on my instruction as to how I’ve been riding him really well.
Spirit did some nice trotting around the arenas, 20m circles and a lovely back up too.
Today Gracey put a deposit on Spirit and he should be moving on 14th June. I am sad and will miss him but know in my heart that this is the right thing for HIM 🙂
Even though Spirit is in the process of moving homes I am continuing his ground work because it is good for him mentally, emotionally and physically.
Trot poles . Narrow gap . Back through gap . Trot over tarpaulin . Engaged circling . Jump .
Friday 14th June
Today wee Spirit went off to his new home with Gracey near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. I teach very close to where he is going so hopefully I’ll see him soon and every time I teach I will make some time to go and see how he’s getting along 😉
We took Stormy to lead and escort Spirit to the road where we met up with the Gillies lorry. Both horses did very well, calm, listening and leading well. Here’s some pics of the walk.
Spirit has started his bitless journey with the lessons on saddling, squaring up and sidling to the mounting block. He has also done the first bitless lesson which was LF (Lateral Flexion) and he’s getting nice and soft doing that. To progress his skills I am now adding more moves to his repetoire, these are: DHQ (disengage hindquarters / indirect rein), FH (forhand move / direct or open rein) and BKup (Backing up). These moves allow me to talk to each individual foot with just the two reins. I am also teaching him to work with a loose rein, to uphold his responsibilities (don’t change gait, don’t change direction and look where you’re going) which we’ve started applying in the ground work game of circles.
Here is today’s lesson video…
April already and Spirit has been with us for 10 weeks now. His mane and tail are growing out and getting longer and he has really settled into our herd beautifully. His training has been coming along and he remembers it all when I’m often away teaching for me to come back and get back into it all without a hiccup which is great news.
Local Equine Osteo ‘Emily Cuthill’ came by to give Spirit a check over today. I wanted to make sure he was ready to be ridden more and giving him a therapy session really helped. He was pretty good but some mild stiffness in his shoulders, sacrum, sacralilliac and diaphragm was worked on and sorted so that I have no worries about getting on with the ridden work now.
Today I decided to put the techniques Spirit and I have already learned to a purpose with some ‘game challenges’ with Mark and Stormy. It’s a lot of fun and helps us start to have longer conversations around the obstacles we use.
Its lovely having Stormy showing Spirit how to do things, it was like he was showing off how clever he is… It also gives Spirit confidence to try everything.
We also practised squaring up and siding to the mounting block which went very well 🙂
Was away for a week teaching and was worried that Spirit and my relationship was going to suffer but as often happens the break was ok, he had time to rest and think and came into today’s session happy, relaxed and ready to play 🙂
I decided to do some Agility tasks to again put the games to a real purpose and Spirit did SO well with them all… It was alot of fun and he’s really impressed me with his curiosity, calmness, willingness and connection. Here’s some pics from the session….
Foot in hoop
Walk calmly over tarp
Start of jumping
Touch cone from a distance and then flapping flag
Pedestals 🙂 🙂
Mark just put together a fabulous ‘scratching post’ for the herd with a very long post in the ground and some great long brush heads on the sides and top…..today I spent some time familiarising the herd to this new fun piece of equipment and am hoping to see them using it soon 🙂
Familiarisation with Stormy and the scratching post
Tara and the scratching post, she likes a rump scratch so hoping she finds this useful 🙂
Spirit was the most curious about the scratch post
Today Mark and I went out to play with Storm and Spirit together in the Agility area. Working on our connection and putting our techniques to a purpose more and more it was a lot of fun. Stormy first worked with Mark online and then with me at liberty but he was constantly there whilst I was playing with Spirit which was lovely.
Spirit did well with:
1) Learn to take some trot energy and put in a jump with a half circle then take that jump half circle and make it a circle and then after that we tried our 2nd circle/jump/change of direction to go back to a circle and do the jump the other way 🙂 impressed with his understanding of my body language and cues so quickly now.
2) Put just ONE foot on the medium sized tyre pedestal….he got this cue straight away.
3) Weaving through cones and understanding my body cues again so quickly….upright and towards him means forehand move/go away and slumped a bit and turn away means draw towards on the side/forehand towards 🙂
4) Following behind me slowly through the labyrinth obstacle…he didn’t touch the poles once.
5) Trotting over the trot poles, firstly using a circle game which helped him get into gait easier and then with the half circle game which required him to go up into trot straight away to be able to trot the poles. He did the poles very nicely without touching them and also was stretching nicely with his legs and raising his withers and back more than before. Osteo did a good job 😉
6) Going through the shelter/tunnel at liberty a few times without rushing it, facing it afterwards and also transitioning in it 🙂
Lovely weather today so out with the horses and Mark for some fun and filming next lesson with Spirit. We had a nice online training session first which had us practising some techniques and starting new ones. Here’s some pics…
Placing a foot on something has been learned well as now I can ask him to put his foot in/on most things.
Am slowly asking him to think about bringing 3-4 feet onto the big pedestal, he doesn’t understand this cue yet so I helped him learn it by placing a hind foot up on the ped with my hands 🙂
More circling, this time we’ve got it to 4 laps in trot on both sides and am slowly bringing in a change of direction (COD) to build for our fig 8’s.
I put this drain pipe up inside the tyres today to make it a slightly higher jump. He walked over it several times and then when we matched our energy he jumped it nicely 🙂
First time with focus/sidepassing, using the big deer fence along the field boundary helped a lot.
After a nice play which helped us connect through relaxation and the techniques for each game/task I saddled him and took him to a roundpen for some ridden work. We have started his bitless journey with a halt/lateral flexion (LF) and now I want to expand on that with some disengagement to lateral flexion (DHQ – LF) and some forehand move (FH) to DHQ and LF….this all builds to where I can move all four of his feet in all four directions (forward/back/left/right). He did SO well today, all the basics went well, we moved his forehand with our outside leg and direct rein, we moved his hindquarters with an inside leg and an indirect rein and his LF was light and easy, he’s stopping on a big breath out beautifully in walk and we also added his backup which was a bit sticky at first but his second time was so nice.
Mounting from the off side today…his idea.
Standing still whilst mounting and waiting to be asked to move off all in place nicely.
Walking is better this time after having the equine osteo out, no swishing of his tail and very positive walking off. Working on DHQ and FH moves with COD’s and circles using both forehand and hindquarter moves.
Standing still for dismounting too is fab 🙂
More practise sessions while the weather is being kind to us.
Familiarisation: the flag is a hard one, he is a bit worried by it by his sides and behind hips but okay at the front or standing on it so more work to be done with flapping things, tarps etc.
Circles: He is doing very well with the amount of circuits he does, up to 4 in walk/trot now and I’m just starting to ask for a draw to finish as well as the disengage, the draw is to set up the Change of Direction (Cod) for more games later on such as fig 8’s. What I need to address soon is his high head/hollow back with the circles, I will first try the game on a longer, 22′, length rope and in our next lesson session I will be asking for leg yields off a circle which I hope will help him get his balance dynamics better for arcing the circles 🙂
Riding: Did very well with squaring up and sidling to the mounting block today and a nice ride. We’re doing more bitless techniques (LF, DHQ, FH, BKup) but his right side is stiffer so we need lots of short sessions to try to unbrace his neck/mind with the DHQ (disengage hindquarters) but as he’s never done anything like this before it will take time and patience to help him get it.
I also put the sidling to the mounting block to a different use today to help him understand this more, I sat on the mounting block and he had to sidle over, both sides, to help me take his saddle off. Always love putting a purpose to the games I teach to help them become more understandable 😉
A bit windy today but out for a bitless riding practise session (this was 3 of 7 since videoing Lesson 6). Some things are moving on nicely, finding lightness with our forehand move (direct rein) and back up but a bit of brace with the hindquarter move (disengage/indirect rein) so we tried using a bitless bridle today as the reins work from the sides rather than underneath as with the rope halter but although regular moves still nice and light the DHQ is still stiff SO back to working slowly through it with the rope halter makes more sense and I know given the time he needs to understand it he will get it okay.
Pics of the four bridles I tried on him today…
The Transcend Double bitless bridle. Reins are just on the ‘sidecue’ part of it and the ‘curb’ is free at the moment in this pic,
The Dr Cook’s bitless bridle (or cross under as some call it). Have used this one regularly with last horse Solly as it hugged him and made him feel safe, but it will be up to Spirit which one he prefers using.
The Karen Rohlf Bitless Halter. A lovely bridle that was used by our old horse Holly, she loved this one as it allowed her face to be freer than the others and she stopped on a big breath out, we’ll see how well Spirit goes along as this and/or the Transcend will be the first ones I try as they are the least intrusive and rely on a good relationship connection.
Light Rider Bitless bridle from Cynthia Cooper in Australia. Nice that all these bridles fit him nicely, once we have a focus/seat/leg connection I will try each bridle out to see which he prefers 😉
Here he is set up to do a bit of riding today. Karen Rohlf bitless halter with reins and rope halter with reins over the top so I can use/try both individually 😉
Riding with one set of reins and the other set knotted and secured to the saddle with a leather, poppered, strap.
Good session with ground work today, started working on circling COD (change of direction) to get more communication with his direction and my body language 😉
Riding session 4 of 7 (from video lesson 6).
LF going well, finding some lightness but he’s still stiff to the right so just taking it slowly until he ‘gets it’ 😉
Session 5 of 7 (from video lesson 6).
Riding coming along now, we’re finding lightness now with the LF and DHQ on both sides now, allowing him the time to figure things out has really helped him learn and become confident with all the ridden changes. He is turning with the open/direct rein almost from my weight/outside leg aid and I’m only using a light rein if needed. The DHQ is light as long as I take the time to put my weight on the inside and inside leg on before the rein and we had our first trot today, just a few strides but a nice start to transitions. I will work on lowering his head/relaxation with our ground work more to help him do that when ridden 🙂
I moved our Agility area from the corner of the field into the middle of the track today, mainly because the old agility area where the scratching post and shelter are has now become Tara’s paddock as she is getting older and needed separating from Spirit who was pushing her around a bit and she was tired and too old for that SO I moved some obstacles into an area where we can play with the boys without disturbing Tara. Spirit watched me doing it all but was still a bit ‘shocked’ to see the obstacles in that area so we went and played with them all to familiarise him to them again in the new environment 🙂
I then took him into the new 20×40 area I’ve sectioned off for an arena and played/rode him. This ridden session is #6 of 7 from the video lesson #6.
With our ground work I’m looking to help him lower his head/relax when in trot. He’s started to do it when going over poles and when he blows out and lowers his head I dhq/halt him and reward/praise to help him realise this is what I’m looking for. Pic on left shows him lowering his head over the pole, pic on right he has just blown out and lowered his head 😉
Ground tying is coming along nicely now too 😉 🙂 🙂
I tried a Light Rider rope halter/bridle with rein rings on the side to see if side rings made communication easier at this stage, it didn’t and he’s becoming light from the regular horsemanship rope halter so I’ll stick with that for now. We have plenty of time to see what suits him but for now the basic’s are important to learn for us to connect with our riding 😉
Lightness for LF on both the right and the left now 🙂