Thursday, March 8, 2012
Now That's More Like It
I had a plan of playing "that's enough" - setting up some different tasks and just getting a better try before moving on. I shifted my plan when I arrived at the barn. Things went so poorly on Monday that I wanted to give Cricket big incentive to follow my requests. I took about 2/3 of her grain (it's not really grain . . .) ration and divided it amongst several buckets around the arena.
And then I had a jumbled, mixed up, free-form, loosey-goosey session. Totally channeled my RB. And had a little FUN. I really didn't care too much what Cricket did except that I wanted enthusiasm and "yes ma'am." At first she was completely focused on the buckets. I expected this and so was not frustrated. As we continued to play, I got more specific about when she could stop for a nibble (or a cookie when the grain was gone). And she started asking questions, "Is it okay if I check for a smackerel?"
We did a little with "more energy/maintain canter" on the circle. I decided to use change of direction to encourage maintain gait. This is not my favorite strategy but it worked for what I wanted. Each time she slowed to the trot, I had an OH BOY moment with the change. As soon as she put in more effort, I allowed her to stop and that was it on canter circles.
After a little more play - and finding some holes that need to be addressed - I decided the connection was strong enough and I slipped her halter off. As soon as we moved forward, she headed for a (now empty) bucket. I smacked the ground to disengage her with an "I didn't say you could leave" attitude and she whipped around to face me. No argument, no bolt. I brought her to me. And gave her a cookie.
She was fantastic. Lots of stick to me, a jump, some COD and she even offered some canter around me. I brought her to the mounting block and she was happy to let me get on. We had a very short, very slow walk around the arena - bareback and bridle-less.
Throughout the session, I had my spotlight music playing on my iPhone in my back pocket. I really like the music I've chosen and I felt good playing to it. I'm going to re-order the songs, moving the Jason Mraz tune to the front and the Joshua Radin song to the end. If I can connect to that sense of play and connection, the spotlight is going to be just fine.