Monday, October 3, 2011

Starting to Ask for a Little More

This was posted on one of our youtube videos about 4 months ago:

Hey John, I have watched many of your videos and I think you have done okay with Clinton's methods, MUCH better than most people I've seen on Youtube. Some things that you could consider is asking Jessie to put forth more effort!!! Some exercises she does she looks as though she is only half trying. Remember your horses will put forth as much effort as you expect them to.


I didn't mind the "you have done okay" comment because it was followed by the "much" in all caps. What struck me was how this person could tell I wasn't asking Jessie to "put forth more effort". How did they see that? Is it that obvious? Why don't I see it?

So that message has been bouncing around my brain for awhile now. We've slowly started to bring our expectations up and I've been trying to ask more and more of her on every ride. It's not just about riding farther or loping longer, we're trying to get better. I think it was in one of the NWC journals that Clinton says basically the same thing: "Your horse is only going to be as good as you ask her to be. They are not going to be practicing the exercises in their stalls in between rides so they can show you how much they have improved since the last ride."

We worked on side-passing without the fence on Sunday. We worked on it a lot longer than we usually do, but by the end of the session she was stepping sideways with energy. One thing I need to keep working on is to use a lighter touch. When she chumps me and I roll the spur up, she'll move, but when I go back to lighter pressure, she slows down again, so I have to roll the spur again.

After loping Jessie for about ten minutes in one field we moved to another, did the side-passing session, and then Ranae and I switched horses. I loped Dusty around for about ten minutes and he was dripping wet. He is older, 16 I think, but he had quite the sheen on him. His steering is so much better than Jessie's. We'll be working on that. I worked Dusty on backing up a step after the "whoa". It was so much easier to ask a lot from him than it is from Jessie. I'm going to just have to change that mindset somehow.

Both Saturday's and Sunday's ride were really nice. The weather is cooling down, we got to work on a number of things, and the things we worked on improved noticeably.
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