Monday, April 27, 2015

four horse gate

One of my favorite things, on the mornings when I am there by myself, is getting two horses at a time in from the four horse PM turnout field.  The second two are obviously no problem, but the first two have to be gotten out of the field without the other two getting out, opening and shutting the gate, everyone calm.  I love doing this with a sense of quality, softness, ease.  When Ray Hunt or Buck Brannaman say, "I don't train horses, I just ride them with quality," well, I know I'm not up to that.  I try.  I aspire.  I try some more.  But on this one thing, probably also because there is no one ever looking and no one to compare myself to, I have some quality.  Just me and the horses.

There are so many things.  Hey guys, I'm coming.  Do the two I need first know it.  If ONLY they know it, it is easier.  That almost never happens, but sometimes.  The big marmaduke cannot come first but has to be told daily that he doesn't own the gate, or anything else in this field either.  The big old one-eyed man owns the gate, gets his halter first.   Then the red gelding, who really doesn't appreciate the big marmaduke but mostly because marmaduke is the only horse he can push around any at all.

It doesn't matter if it is raining or freezing or anything else, get the halters, open the gate in, shut the gate, latch the gate.  Ideally they put their own halters on.  Wait until they do that.  Without anyone getting in any trouble.  Wait.  Back off any troublemakers, often with just a mare look.  Acknowledge I'm the leader here, push your own nose into your own halter, get your pet and smile from me.  There can never ever ever be any hurry, any rush.   Wait.  Back off any trouble makers, arrange leads.  Open the gate in.  First horse walks out, walks out far enough, I ask for hindquarter yield with lead timed up with the stepping under hind leg.  I go out.  Second horse comes out, ask for hq yield timed up with reaching under hind foot as soon as haunches clear the gate.  Shut and latch gate.  Turn pair however required to get on one eyed horse's eyed side.  Walk in.

Seems simple. I love it easy and quiet.  Sure, there are times when one must get effective, but I love easy and quiet.

Monday, April 13, 2015

if I had a question

Well, the next time I rode her out, by herself, she was broke again, and I don't mean that in the good horse way.  Actually what she was was balky.  Not too, and it didn't take too long to work through it, but it didn't take less than last time either.  I probably did more pressure release and less approach retreat because 1) I wasn't scared and 2) I wasn't patient.  In the end it was a good ride, a fun ride, and what I mean by that is that we went everywhere, did everything.  I did go into the arena to canter but we did do that and did it quite nicely and quite a bit with more than several and less than numerous transitions on each side.

Now, lots of things go into this for Jin.  Hormones #1.  If it were all the same to me, she'd either get pregnant or get regumate.  But it isn't all the same to me.  We've brought her in this week to be turned out with the horse who, it turns out, is the love of her life, another mare who I guess at least isn't mean to her.  Jin is in love with her. So our choices there aren't helping.  I just don't think they are hurting it either tho -- that it is an issue that is going to be there to deal with anyway.

On the good side, I've been ponying.  Which has been interesting and productive.  On the bad side, it is these two mares I've ponied so far.  But others are coming in the mix.  But it'll be next week before I can get to that.

One of the thoughts I've had is that working with her and her being a better horse has NOT made her easier to ride.  Which is interesting.

Also, the more confident she gets, the more "left brained" she gets --  "make me" & "what's in it for me".

And when she's unconfident, she accepts me as leader but as she gets more confident, well, maybe there's something missing from my leadership there?  I think of Blaze.  I think of Zip who I am actively working with now.  So far so good with him but I can already tell that at some point he is going to say to me, "Are you my leader or am I yours?"

Now, the absolutely "I control your feet" thing has been VERY important.  As Buck puts it, they need to understand (and deeply understand) three things: 1) I can move your feet; 2) you cannot move my feet; 3) you can move your feet without being troubled.  I have (perhaps ironically) used this a good bit or standing still.  Obviously I need to use it more moving.

If I had a teacher right now I'd ask:  How do I do that leadership thing?  In the round pen?  On the lead rope?  Riding?