Its been a while since I've posted, and I feel terrible about it!
Terrible because quite frankly, Sante and I have been making the most increadible progress, and I really should have been documenting it all. There has been so much to tell, I have kind of put off writing the blog, and now its snowballed.
There is so much to say!!!!!
Where do I start?
Probably where i left off is as good a place as any - cantering!
We did our first canter session outside the round yard on Monday. He did really really well. We are to the point where he KNOWS that I'm asking for the canter, but i have to be so careful HOW i do it, It seems he is so sensative about it, that If i ask to loudly, he freaks out - but I am really happy to say that we have been working it out and having more successes than failures. Even yesterday, I managed to get 4 laps of canter (on a 45 ft line) without him going RB.
The change in tools came about after carefully considering my options with him, I decided giving him more drift would be a savvy thing to do, and it seems to have paid off - He only went RB twice, but came back to me with an INCREADIBLE draw, to eventually figure it out and stay with me, the fact that he is so willing to come back to me is awesome, because he is starting to realize that even when things go wrong, there are no consequences - I am still the safe spot.
We have even started working on our canter under saddle - he has a tendancy to rush in the canter, and I am starting to realize its a combination of bad riding on my part, and lack of confidence on his part. I changed my saddle position again, and have spent the whole of the last 2 sessions we've done concentrating on staying on my balance point. I had no idea i was pitched so far forward - even when i thought i was sitting back - I wasn't. Everytime i asekd him for a trot, i would come forward.
I spent all yesterday sittign on my thumb, asking for the trot transition - what an increadible difference!! Canter was a little more difficult, but he began to pick it up - a fwe more sessions and we will be well on our way. I started asking him for 45ft circles under saddle, and this has done wonders in fixing his impulsiveness. I have also found that by trying to stick to Linda's fluidity concepts, trotting & cantering in my body when asking for the transitions, he actually picks up the correct LEAD. WOWEE!!!
Another major breakthrough that we have had over the last 4-5 weeks - is that we have started riding by ourselves!!!!!
I truly never thought I'd get to this point - Everytime i thought about riding out by myself, i had an immediate fear reaction - anxiety, stress, and then never did it.
I started realizing that my problem was I was saying ot myself "We are going to do a ride by ourselves" and when i thought about " a ride" I was thinking about a 10km ride through the valley by ourselves - and that 10km seemed mammoth - i was so worried that sante wouldn't be able to stay LB for the entire time.
It came as a blinding flash of the obvious when i realized that i was the only one putting pressure on me to complete the whole 10km. And that even if we only got into the valley and turned around and came back - that in itself was freaking awesome.
Having alleviated that major burden we set off - All the while i was saying to myself "You have permission to get off, you have permission to turn around and go home if either of you don't feel safe"
I cannot tell you how much of a difference that made.
My major goals on our first ride were to be calm, in control, enjoy myself, and make sure that sante did the same.
It was sooooooooooooo awesome. Sante OFFERED to head down the trail, he was so much happier to be with me - the last time we had attempted to ride alone (well over 12 months ago) i had to fight him all the way. Every time he hit a threshold we would retreat. About half way throughe the ride, it dawned on him - He WILL NOT be pushed through his barriers, I WILL give him the time it takes, he has NO REASON to be affraid. And he changed. i could ask him to stop at P1 - even when we were retreating, he would quite happily stop, wait, turn around and then reapproach.
We have done about 6 rides by ourselves now - and they have all been successful, completely Left brained the entire time - BOTH of us.
I have become a calmer more confident rider - all of my actions and requests of him are done "on valium" even when he gets panicky - I remain calm, relaxed, and its increadible how quickly it transfers through.
I finally feel like a good rider!!!!!
The other major "event" for us is that just on three weeks ago - Sante got kicked on the front leg, about 10cm above the knee. Opened him up like you wouldn't beleive!!!
Its times like these you thank Parelli for prior and proper preparation.
He stood still while i hosed his wound
He stood still while i stuck my fingers in there and cleaned it out
He learned to stand still while i sprayed Iodine on the wound
He stood still while i bandaged it.
He was moved to a "single horse" paddock, to ensure that there was no there risk of injury, and also to make it easier for me to treat him.
He has become more confident - just being isolated! AND the other major major major plus to this injury - our catching game has taken on a whole new dimension. He see's me and meets me at the gate! I never had problems catching him previously, but in a paddock with 50 other horses and lush green grass, you can't blame him for not being overly thrilled when i arrived to remove him from his paradise.
Everything is so fantastic at the moment - We are really enjoying the journey.
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