I managed to have a couple of sessions with Iona this week. On Monday I brought her in and groomed her tail (big job, long overdue) while Petra trimmed her horses' feet nearby. Thought I might as well do it while we had somebody to chat to. I wanted to work on building up our trot and canter laps. I've been using the roundpen to do this recently, but I don't want to get dependent on it, so we went to the playground, and it went okay. Sure, she made her usual grumpy faces and said "Make me!" a good few times, but then we got it going and I was pretty happy with things. No running off, so that was good.
I've been watching the new Levels DVDs and one thing I got reminded of was to do things in a flow. So on our way to try Sideways Toward we did some Rolling Rock and sideways. I tried doing this over a short pole, then asking for Toward, but I guess I asked wrong, cause she kept going away. Then I remembered the corner, and that worked again. So I think we need a bit more practise in the corner, then we might be able to do it somewhere else.
We finished up playing with Liberty trailer loading, and she did it really easily.
Today we started off with Figure 8s. We warmed up with a few circles then I tried to flow into the Figure 8. The pattern aspect was okay, but she was breaking gait a lot. After lots of tries we got maintainting gait at trot, and then a few canter strides each way. This wasn't easy. I tried to be easy going about it, and sometimes if she didn't canter I just kept circling her until she did, then we would change. Next time I work on the Weave pattern, I think I will try mixing it up with Figure 8 like Pat does on the new DVD and see if the variety helps.
We then went to play the 7 Games On Line in the trailer. Hmmmm. I couldn't figure out how to play the Circle game. Otherwise it went well, and she also did great when I put the rope through a ring and simulated being tied.
I decided to ride in the JW bit again, but this time I wanted to take some time putting the bridle on, so I sat on a pedestal and played with lowering her head, etc. She wasn't very willing. It wasn't just the bit, she was like that all day, and I think it's the herdbound thing again. They didn't stick around the yard area for very long, and she kept looking out to them. I obviously didn't find the right way to get and keep her attention, and I felt like I was dragging her from A to B all day. I really need to fix this!! Eventually she did lower her head and allowed me to put the bridle on. I would say there was still an element of tolerating it, though, so I'm feeling a bit bad that I didn't really take the time to do a better job. Darn!
We moved on to Follow the Rail. She did great for about 1 lap of the playground, and we were getting some nice soft backup here had there, then shd got really interested in the herd, who were way out by the grazing cell gate. So she decided that bucking and kicking up was better than trotting. This went on for awhile, and once I finally got her going agan it was time for me to stop and do some chores. So we went to X and called it a day.
Seems like I need to work on Rapport, Respect and Impulsion - no doubt in that order. How can I be more sensitive to her and cause her to enjoy spending time with me, even when this means being away from the herd? How can I build respect without picking a fight? If I can figure that out then the impulsion will probably come.