Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Notas de mi Corazon

Corazon is a perfect name for the paso mare I have been rehabbing with a torn suspensory. I am working with her strictly from the heart. As we have the prescription of walking 45 minutes a day and building to trot and canter sets there is alot of leeway in there to play with all kinds of things. Can you imagine wasting all this good interaction by towing this horse around for three quarters of an hour...round and makes my brain numb just to think about it!
One of the coolest things that we have been playing with is lateral movement. Something that is fun to do on the ground but also a skill under saddle that will be key in bleeding off unwanted speed with out the in your face-ness of using the brakes. Turns out brakes are somewhat of a sore spot with sweet Cora. She had previous"problems" with a Bosal per her former owner and they switched her to a snaffle bit. No worries there but since I'm working her in a cowboy/rope halter (basically a mild hackamore) she has some baggage surrounding any movement from the thing. Lots of head flipping, and general drama when I touch the lead rope. Being a stall kept coming 4 year old fino, there is some necessity of my touching the lead rope often to keep the spice out of her step. So today I had a big AHA moment. She and I struggle a bit to lead correctly on the left side( lots of previous gar-badge-EE on the left) She wants me by HER shoulder and I want her by MINE,so there's a lot of rating of speed, changes of direction and stop and go. All peppered heavily with clicker and treats to make the medicine go down easier. Well, some days it does and some days it doesn't. Today, the day after a big rain where no walk was possible, requests to slow down where not to be tolerated. In fact I got a rather pointed air nip for my efforts. Hmmmm, well we took a little break from the leading aspect of the walking and I focused more on the driving and lateral part of the walking. Here comes the AHA! Knowing that under saddle I will use lateral movement to bleed off speed, I timed my lateral requests today for when ever the jig crept into her step, and Viola, I got my walk she got her peppermint and all was right with the world. We even achieved that elusive walk by my shoulder with out one peep from me about stopping or slowing down. We threw in some pedestal posing and some fun patterns backwards and forewards between barrels and called it a very successful day. I firmly believe that every horse that crosses my path does so for a reason, this girl is a continuation of what Cuervo has been grooming me for except with out the history he and I have. It makes things more challenging and certainly faster paced( and believe you me, Cuervo does not move or think slowly, being part arab and all....)I can't wait to see what she has in store for me tomorrow.