Back in the saddle again

Hi there I'm back.
I haven't been doing much since my return from Colorado just working and spending time with Aristoitle.
I keep thinking that I need to keep a more thorough record of what I do with Aristoitle because some days we just have amazing rides where he is so tuned into me.

The last time I rode him I used my bareback pad, halter with reins clipped on to the chin loop, and one carrot stick. I attached my reins to the loop on the bareback pad and decided not to use them and only steer with my body (eyes, bellybutton, legs) .. and use the carrot stick as a reinforcement if he didn't "hear" me. Okay, that was working well this night, but we still had trouble getting together on the WHOA part of the equation. I used to ask him to change from trot to walk by not riding with my body, I would exhale, relax... Aristoitle wouldn't respond to these cues and would continue trotting. Yet sometimes he would hear me and slow down, but this was very hit and miss.
This time I decided a whole new approach was needed.

When Aristoitle is at a standstill and I want him to back up I raise my heels towards his shoulders and gently tap him until he begins to back up. I lean backwards as well when I am tapping him like this. I then lessen the tapping but keep my heels up there so that he continues to move backwards but with less of a cue from me. He has learned this pretty well, so I decided to try this while he was trotting.. and wouldn't you know it.. speedy Gonzales heard the message and came down to a walk! Now I can ask him to trot by inhaling deeply and getting my energy up, then after trotting around the arena a while, I exhale and raise my heels up to slow him down to a walk. While he is trotting I try to keep my energy up and I breathe normally. I try to be aware of my body and whether or not I am leaning one way or another or gripping with my legs. If I do need to grip with my legs I do so from my knees up-- NOT the other way around. I try to go with the flow as much as possible. Believe me it is difficult to get all the muscle memory going and doing things the right way so I don't interfere with him, but when it works out right it is MAGIC!

Okay enough of this computer stuff ... I need to go visit Aristoitle before work. Bye.. have a good day!

1 comment:

jack said...

aristotle is a beautiful horse. and what a great name.
i love this entry...its very horse whisperer without the kitsch.
i believe its magic! its communication with an animal...i imagine its very rewarding.