Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Friday, May 14, 2010

Licking and Chewing

So much to think about! I am still ruminating over my camp experience. I have a few pages of notes, mostly things I on which I need to focus in my journey with Cricket.

One thing that has finally hit home is that advancing through the levels is simply about addressing Level 1 with more precision and focus. Sure, there is a lot of fancy stuff in Level 3 and 4 but it's really nothing more than Level 1 with excellence. Something to seriously consider!

So here are some notes and themes from this camp:
  • Leg Yields - does your horse yield from your leg or does leg simply mean "go forward"?
  • Playing with your horse means getting out there and moving with him; keeping your feet still establishes dominance but that's not play.
  • There is a difference between riding the canter and sitting the canter.
  • Do you, at all times, hold your carrot stick as an extension of your body or do you hold it as a weapon? The horse knows the difference.
  • The "rubber band game" - equalizing drive and draw
  • Are you riding for relaxation or precision? Make a decision and use the appropriate strategies/tools.
  • When using two sticks for ground play, the idea is to make your arms longer - both sticks should be the same so there is no need to switch tools.
  • Make a pattern out of asking for the canter from a relaxed walk to help the horse understand the difference between a gait transition and simply going faster.
  • In anything you do, if you don't see an improvement after a few repetitions, you need to change your strategy
  • Don't block forward motion - if you're asking for a yield and the horse walks off, try to be persistent and release when he yields rather than falling into the trap of shutting him down and then getting the yield. Let it be a puzzle your horse solves. This way he learns to not go forward on his own.
This is just a small part of what we touched on. As with everything, my notes are what matters to me and my horse and are filtered through our very unique relationship. Nothing is meant to be a "how to" and everything is my interpretation of what happened.


Naturally Gaited said...

Thanks, Lisa! You noted some things that I neglected to pick up on - or re-phrased them in a way that helps.

I'm currently experiencing "jet lag" from my 4 days in Bristol. So much info to process!

I got that too: the higher levels are merely Level 1 with focus & precision (no flailing or ineffectiveness). The biggest BFO for me may have been "own it and do it" instead of getting trapped in my brain and worrying about rules..

I will blog in bits and pieces over the next few days. :-)

Lisa said...

So I take it you had a good clinic? I think my friend Lyn was in that clinic (if I interpreted her FB status correctly!)

I'm glad everything went well!