Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Today's Lesson With Pat Prince

Our lesson was AWESOME! Dazzle had a lot of energy, but wasn't too naughty. I'm getting a lot better and riding through her head-snaking and using the whip and driving her forward when she does that instead of freezing up and pulling her back, which was rewarding her.

We worked on our trot, keeping her on a circle which means pushing her in or out with my leg depending on which side of the circle we're on. She likes to aim for the trailer. haha.

Then, we worked on our upward transitions, which she was wanting to toss her head about because she'd rather NOT transition up, thank you.

Lastly, we worked on our leg-yields, which are not too bad, if I do say so. She needs more forward in them (you don't say?!), she would prefer to just go side-passing to the wall. So what we did was leg-yield a little, then trot forward to the wall in front of us and walk. It only took maybe 2 or three times of that and when we tried a normal leg yield she had WAY more forward and didn't try to just dive to the wall.

Pat said she had a hard time believing this was the same horse she met only 3 lessons ago. She said that Dazzle was showing us how smart she is and how much potential she has. She learns SO fast. So, we are once again, very much encouraged and had a nice time.

One of the big things for me is that when she does something naughty I discipline (drive forward with leg and whip, say, Uh Uh, whatever I need to do) and we're done. Before, I was arguing with her for 10 minutes and still wasn't sure I had won. She is SO much easier to deal with.

Since Pat had me use the whip more deliberately, it actually MEANS something now instead of being a nagging pest to her. My leg works, my whip is not a forward, pick up your hind end, aid. It's amasing. She listens to my legs for helping support her turn in the arena, move in or out of the circle, flex at the poll, bend on the circle, etc. It's...liberating.

I was so afraid that I was being mean or abusing her if I used the whip too much that I had made it so I had to whip and whip and whip or spur and kick, etc. WAY too much for any reaction. 2 lessons and 2 schooling sessions of at-walk-whip-means-trot and at-trot-whip-means-trot-FAST and using legs only once before the whip and she is no longer ignoring me. I don't have to use either much and when I do, it's one squeeze, firm tap, etc. I only had to be "mean" 4 days and now she understands what I want and is wanting to "play the game" as Patricia puts it. Instead of fighting me she is trying to understand. I'm not annoying anymore and now she's willing to play.

I won't be able to have another lesson for probably 2 weeks, so we'll see if we can keep progressing schooling alone!

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