Well, I liked your part about stretching him and feeling him move under you. The more you ride the more you really feel the horse's body move under you and start to be able to imagine what it's like to move as a quadraped moves. I mean, there's a huge fundamental difference between the way we move and the way quadrapeds, like horses, dogs, deer, elephants, cows, . . . . Move. But for them, being four legged is the norm. We have to learn to think and feel that way, so that , for example, when we ask a horse to turn, we are very aware of how that translates into moving the four legs, in what order they must move and how the animal must weight each or unweight them in order to be able to move sideways, vs, forward.
I was working briefly with Zulu today on line. I just wanted to work on him being more in touch with is back feet. So, I had him step over a cavaletti with his front feet only, ask him to pause, then see if he could move sideways down the cavaletti. But he felt stuck, and a bit panicked . He then would barge forward fully over the cavaletti. I realized that he worries about being able to back up over the bar, and so he feels he must come forward all the way.
So, I lowered the bar to the ground so it's just a ground pole, had him step front feet over, the ask him to stand, reward with a a niblet of carrot, then ask him to step backward over that pole, bringing his two front feet back over it. This was hard for him but he got better at it. When I got him ok with that, I tried the sidways movement and got a wee bit, but he still worries and wants to come all the way over the log.
So, I went back to backing him over the ground pole and asking him to back his whole body, all four legs over, one at a time. It was amazignnly hard for him.
After we did this, I trotted off to see if he'd follow the line forward, and sure enough, he had gotten tight and sticky with this small work, so I asked him to move out when I trot, stop when I trot, etc.
Then sent him around a few barrels, asking him to go in a semicircle around, bend, disengage, and change direction to a semicircle going the other way.
Then sent him over the cavaletti at a trot a few times. Then quit.
25 minutes. The problem is that he has to much of the cuteness factor, which can make me too softhearted.
I didnt' mean to hyjack your thread. Just using the same kind of writing to look back and remember each step that we did together.
No it's fine haha, you're welcome in my journal! :)
Yep, it's great to recall what happened and analyze it.. figure out why you did things, what could help.
I know when Sky was struggling with leg yields at first.. it was because I was blocking his shoulder so OF COURSE he couldn't move his front end over and thus made it hard to get his hind end in order.
Going back and thinking about things has made us progress a lot more steadily.
I can picture you and Zulu and how he must have felt.. but you did the right thing by breaking it up into sections. Maybe 25 minutes was all he needed! Less is more, unless you're looking to end with wet saddle pads and burn some fat.
Even when I'm riding and he's struggling with something, like reaching into a corner.. I break down everything I'm doing or I NEED to be doing in order to ask and we work through it.
He'll get it eventually! Backing up over poles or even backing up full stop is very hard. It's not a natural movement as horses that are trapped want to move forward forward forward.
But it's great for them :)
Sky used to have suuuch issues even walking over poles. He thought they were going to grab his legs and gobble him right up, so he'd stop a foot away, spring forward as high as he could, and then continue on. Now he doesn't miss a step.. I haven't tried backing up over poles though.. hmm...