I experienced a great learning moment with Charm today.
Today started when she was hard to catch, well not really hard.. She just didn’t walk to me like she normally does and actually turned to go the other way! Eventually she followed me up to the barn. Once we got in the arena she decided to play the same game and walk away… Hmm. So I asked her to move a bit until we restored our connection.
After things were clicking, I snapped on the 45′ line and we played around with transitions and draw. Then I made long reins and we did a little driving. She did great, although because I get out of breath so easily, it was mostly waking and then trotting circles around me.
Now I’m just getting to the cool part…
After that, I took off the halter to see if her attitude had changed about being with me. Would she decide to walk off and do her own thing again? She did great and we had some good liberty going.
One thing I’ve always struggled with.. Well struggle probably isn’t the right word. Let’s say ‘asked for but haven’t gotten’ is close range circling at the trot without drawing Charm in from way outside the arena. It’s always very much on her terms when she offers it. And I respect that. I can’t make her do it after all.
I’ve been able to get close range circling at the walk.. Asking her to go around me without a lead rope to guide her. But, if I ask for a trot, it’s too much for her and she’ll leave me. I couldn’t ever figure out why or what I was doing that was sending her away and what caused too much pressure.
Today, I really thought about it and tried a different approach.. It all just kinda happened! I sat on a barrel and asked her to circle me at the walk. She did great. Then instead of asking for a trot, I broke it down simply and just asked for a faster walk. It wasn’t the best circle, but I didn’t loose her. After going between a fast and slow walk, I directed a little more energy to her outside hind leg and she started into this beautiful slow jog. She then circled me while I was still seated on the barrel 4 or 5 times with wonderful rhythm, flexion and relaxation until I asked her to stop in front of me. At that point I shoved all the treats I had waiting in my pocket in her mouth and just let her relax and soak in the moment. It was awesome!! Our session ended there.
What I learned?
It’s so much more simple than we make it out to be.
I need to break things down more and go slow.
I was communicating clearly to her. She knew what I wanted and acted like a partner!
Now I just hope we can build on this and start doing some really cool things. Yay for progress and learning!