I had a short play session with Dolce yesterday.
I haven’t ridden her for a few weeks.. but that’s ok. I want to get our ground games better before I do much more riding.
Yesterday I think I had a breakthrough with the circling game. I usually use the 22′ line because I feel she needs some drift.. especially when asking for the canter. But before we get to that.. I just wanted her to walk and trot with confidence.
I’m learning more and more about her horsenality. On the circle, she has trouble just walking. She’ll walk half a lap and then start to trot. I’m not being very particular as to what gait she’s in right now. I just want her to go the direction I send her and to be relaxed.
It started out the usual way. She used up all 22 feet and she started pulling on me (I hate being pulled on by a horse or dog.. so this needs to be remedied). Each time she’d pull on me while also bending her body sideways.. I’d “wake up”, back her up, switch directions a few times and then start over. Even though I had to get after her, I did this as softly as I could. I’ve discovered that Dolce is a VERY sensitive horse. More than you realize when you first see her. I do not want to loose any of that sensitivity, but I also want to make my point. So the last few sessions, I feel that I’ve learned where her boundaries are.
Yesterday it all came together. After I got a few laps on a loose leadline, I’d stop her bring her in for a rub and let her soak for about 5 minutes. She’d lick and chew, blink, lower her head. I would start again and each time it got better.. pretty soon, she was circling much better, still trotting, but staying on the circle. I asked her to walk on the circle and she still has some trouble with that, but eventually gave me a lap or two. She also started to lick and chew on the circle. At that point, I decided to ask her to canter. I would pick up the leadline, lift the stick and off she went (I only let her go a half circle and then brought her in for a rub and soak). She took each lead three times while staying somewhat relaxed.. the best she’s done so far. After that I put her up on the rail and called it a day.
For an example as to how soft she is, when I’d ask for a canter all I’d have to do was put a little pressure on her hindquarters and they’d disengage enough to slow her to a trot while staying on the circle. Then I’d ask for a canter again and so on. Pretty sweet.
Update: Here’s Dolce’s Horsenality profile:
And just for fun here’s Charm’s:
Click here to compare Charm’s profile to previous years.. I see that she’s becoming more centered. 🙂