My biggest hang-up to passing L3 is cantering with carrot sticks. The only way to get through that is to actually start riding with sticks. Duh!
I don't often ride with a stick. I have a couple of reasons:
- Cricket bites at the sticks.
- I have a difficult time maneuvering the stick with my left hand due to an old injury.
- Using the sticks brings up fear and control issues.
Cricket bites the sticks. I think this is a mixture of dominance and OR. I probably released her at the wrong time and may have taught her that biting makes the sticks go away. The few times I've ridden with sticks recently, I've played friendly game at a halt and in motion. When she bites, I get more energetic and when she relaxes, so do I.
Maneuverability. Almost six years ago I broke my left arm and I have some limitations in the mobility in my wrist. It can be a little awkward and a little painful to hold and use two sticks for an extended period of time. I do, however, have two "little sticks." They may be similar to the "kid's stick" Parelli is now selling and they are lighter weight, a little shorter and easier to manage. This may be an option - at least in the beginning.
Fear and control. I have a hard time letting go. I'm sure you've noticed this theme if you've been reading my posts for any length of time. I'm sure this ties back to why Cricket bites the sticks. I get nervous, she feels the void and takes over, she pushes back on the stick and I get afraid and too quick with the sticks. Cricket biting at the sticks just reinforces my fear.
What I've discovered in my last few CS rides is that if I direct more energy to her shoulder, rather than her head, she responds with a yield rather than turning to bite. She is less reactive even if I have to touch her. I'm sure this is tied to the LBI "don't touch my face" thing. Something to keep in mind.
So that's the plan. Stick in hand EVERY ride - no excuses!
Oh, and isn't it funny that I have no issues riding Bleu with a carrot stick. None. Hmm, how interesting.