Rosie’s had a couple of weeks off while her owner unfortunately broke one of her fingers in 2 places (ouch – speedy healing, Jamie!) and I was away on my ST training course. So I was keen to ‘get stuck in’ again on our 9th session last Saturday afternoon. Rosie was doing great, the lunging now felt really natural and relaxed on both reins – the mare responded well to my changing energy levels guiding her through up & downwards transitions with much improved focus. And she also synchronised really well with me at liberty, changing direction, speed, backing up…I couldn’t have asked for more and the consistency and repetition in our training is really bearing fruit now.
As Rosie is a worrier and therefore tends to get very easily distracted by her environment, my focus was to get her more inward thinking, searching for participation with willingness and contentment. So I also introduced ST exercises: LFS (L=lateral bending, F=forward-down tendency of the head/neck, S=stepping under with the inside hind leg towards the point of weight). Initially, Rosie was absolutely resisting the lowering of her head, going into the pressure rather than yielding. So timing was absolutely crucial in teaching her the desired response and I eventually succeeded with patience, lots of praise and rewards.
This little mare always amazes me because she’s such a quick learner. So once she’d learned to lower her head in a forward-down tendency & shifting her point of mass backwards, it was much easier for me to keep her focus on me and I could tell from the chewing and licking that Rosie was beginning to really think about the questions I was asking her. And as we took the LFS into walk on small circles, she was also asking questions back, like ‘how fast?’, ‘how much?’ etc. I was soooo pleased. Rosie’s state of mind had really changed, along with her emotions and therefore physical responses.
So for the last part of the session we worked on bringing weight back into the saddle. Giving me a leg-up, I lent across the saddle again from both sides and this time Jamie lead Rosie around, first a few steps only, stopping and starting, then eventually walking little circles. Rosie was a star, walking relaxed and confidently while I was patting and touching her all over the girth, stomach and back area. Jamie was also very relaxed and loved being ‘hands-on’ in this part of the training process. This little mare has come such a long way in such a short space of time! What a great horse/rider combo to work with…I am inspired – what about you?
Have a great week!