Friday, June 13, 2008

Swiss Cheese Training

There are obviously going to be holes in our training. Finding them and figuring a way to correct them are what interests me.

Last night Ranae wanted to work in the garden and I took Jessie out on her own. I knew we would probably have a bit of an impulsion problem leaving and I wondered about the best way to handle it.

Ideally, an evening ride would be down the canal bank for about a mile and down the other side with some trotting and loping going on. I knew, based on the last time we tried this that it would probably be a fight the whole way down the canal. So, I decided that as soon as she started showing resistance I would work her.

We hadn't got 50 feet down the canal and Jessie was looking all over the place. I tried trotting her, but the extra speed just made her harder to control. I stopped to flex her. It was like her head was tied to a post. Normally she's pretty soft at flexing in our training area. Out here she was having nothing of it. I tried bumping her off it but, like the trotting, it just seemed to bring her energy level higher.

After sitting there for a moment and collecting my thoughts I decided we would just stay out there as long as necessary and every time I picked up a rein to flex and she didn't immediately give, I would put my heel in her and make her yield her hindquarters.

After about ten minutes of that she was giving okay so we tried forward movement and she would take a couple of steps and veer off to the right. I put my right calf on her to push her back. When she didn't respond to that, I picked up the left rein. If there was any braceyness(sp) in her head and neck I put my heel in her and we yielded hindquarters again. After about twenty minutes of this she began to get the idea that it was just better to go down the canal. I continued to work right there until I thought I had most of her attention. I thought that was a good place to stop and we were losing our light, though I tried to let her know the moonlight would be enough for me if she thought she need more work at this.

All in all we got to ride for about an hour. I wonder how much of this will stick with her.
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