Thursday, December 22, 2011
Playing at Liberty
I have been having a problem with Cricket's liberty play. Though she'll do most anything, when it comes to circle game, she bolts. We've had this issue before but it's never been localized to the circle game.
One of my goals for the winter is to work on magnetism - increasing Cricket's desire to be with me. It goes beyond physical draw; it's a mental connection.
Last night I played with "look at me; never mind." I followed Zone 5 until Cricket turned her attention to me and then I would turn and walk away, ignoring her. Cricket hates to be ignored. Pretty soon she was in stride with me, asking questions about what was going on.
I wanted to experiment with the circle not to see if she would circle but to see if I could find what wasn't working. It was so interesting to see every horsenality show up in this simple exercise.
The first time I offered the send, she braced against me by looking in the opposite direction. Totally LBI. I held the send without offering any additional pressure and she switched to her right brain, very unsure and even a little worried. I changed the game and she wasn't ready for it.
I even saw flashes of RBE when she would bolt, though she quickly flipped LBE.
We finished when, after a soft send with soft support, she thought through the bolt and disengaged the moment I asked. I think she went back to her right brain to process it all through.
Thinking through the bolt was pretty significant. She's not scared, she just doesn't want to deal with the pressure. I loved seeing her make a conscious choice to stay and see what might happen. It was hard to quit on that note. To see her really offering the connection that has been elusive in our liberty.
I remember something Carol told us about exuberance: until your horse greets you with exuberance, you quit when you get it. The same for this magnetism. Until Cricket is locking onto me from the start, we quit when we get it.
I think my decision to end the session came as a huge relief to Cricket. I cannot explain it. I think liberty worries her just a little. She showed way more right brain than I'm used to seeing in her. I need to let her know that she's right, no matter what. Even when she bolted, I kept in mind the idea of "send, allow, bring back" and just kept my focus without criticizing how she executed any one part. I just kept asking until she could offer something I liked better.
We finished with wonderful connection. Again, it's hard to explain. The energy from Cricket just felt like "yes ma'am." When I opened the arena gate and indicated she should go to her stall, she did so with purpose.