Doing Less, Slower

Aw.. I had such a nice lesson with Charmer last night. I escaped out to the barn after work and found Charmer sleeping in the barn with the “big dogs” – Banner, Schatzi and Dutch. She must be moving up.. because they tolerated her in the barn with them. In fact, she doesn’t have nearly the amount of scars and scrapes as she did.

Since the last 2 times I had a lesson, (they both fell apart) I’ve decided to take a different approach. When I get too task minded and goal driven.. Charm goes very introverted and sulls up. Before, I would assume that she was being stubborn and kept asking for the task, so she wouldn’t get away with whatever she was doing. Plus sometimes I am impatient. I know she can do the task, she’s done it before, so why isn’t she doing it?! Now I realize I was wrong. Sometimes she is being stubborn, but most of the time she is introverted and a little freaked out. The more I would push, the more introverted and RBI she would go. Now I see that there is a very fine line between the two. Hmm..

I have been doing less, slower.

Lately I have been taking it quite slow with her. I find that she is VERY obedient when I take this approach. She is quiet, asks questions, she’s accurate and willing. I like all those words. 🙂

In my lesson, I saddled her up and played on the 12′ line. I asked her for a few things: A couple circles (walk, trot, canter), back up from me and side pass barrels while facing me, side pass toward me, that’s really about it. I was looking to see how obedient she was. How much I had to ask in order for her to accomplish the task successfully. She was very light and willing, so i didn’t go any further. When she is obedient and consistent.. unless I am teaching her something new, wouldn’t she feel like I am drilling her when she is ALREADY responding? hmm…

Our riding session went great. I just started playing with all the stuff we had been working on and Charmer was right with me. I didn’t drill her and gave her plenty of breaks. We did transitions, stopping without reins at the walk, trot and canter. We got some awesome simple lead changes – hope to get flying one of these days. Shirl says we are SO close. We talked about the possibility of showing Charmer in the Stock Horse Show. I know she could do it.. it’s me I worry about. I am also interested in some reining shows. I will have to work on our spins and roll backs.. after that, it’s a possibility. I told Shirl that she would have to come with me (I am a big chicken) and she said that she should get Dutch going.

After my lesson, we joined Randy and Banner for a trail ride in the woods. It was nice to get out on a beautiful afternoon. I am very excited about our progress over the past couple months, I think I am finally really understanding Charm and she really appreciates it.

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3 thoughts on “Doing Less, Slower

  1. this reminds me when I was training Jazz and we were working on more advanced stuff, she started shutting down and getting sloppy. My trainer suggested going back to basics and solidifying the foundation. It worked really well, Jazz got more confident and excited-I think working on all the advanced training made her feel a little unsure of herself, a bit overloaded.Having her do something that she knows how to do helped her refocus. All of the advanced work is built off the basics so going back and showing them the black and white to clear the gray they are seeing is atremendous help. If that makes sense 🙂

  2. Yeah, funny isn’t it. I know I do way too much sometimes.. it’s the perfectionist in me that comes out. I think for us, just looking for obedience was key. She is always obedient, yet I would keep drilling her *head desk* Now, I think I know better.. she likes to learn new things and figure out puzzles.. but not be drilled to death!

    Since the changes over the past few months, I have not done a Horsenality chart on her.. maybe I will do one and post it. It would be interesting to see what has changed.

    It’s funny how we can relate the horses to the dogs so often.

    I love the pictures of Charm too! 🙂

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