I'm back after a short break that was mainly because of the weather and Thanksgiving. I work in retail so the entire week was spent getting ready for Black Friday and I had to be up at the awful hour of 3:30 to get ready for work that morning :( After I spent Saturday recovering I did some work with Katai on Sunday and during the rest of the week but I just haven't seemed to find the time to write about it.
Today though we made real progress! When I last sat on Katai I was able to find some major issues that I feel were caused by her being spoiled. She froze entirely when I got on, which alone would have been normal, and than turned stubborn and angry. She would move her hindquarters around but was completely unwilling to go forward and I had the feeling that if I kept pushing she was going to go up instead.
Unfortunately it meant that I had to fix it which meant going back to work on more ground work. The good part is that she showed me that issue at that point, early on, rather than out in the middle of a trail ride or at a show or other completely inconvenient place. To fix it I worked on reinforcing a huge FORWARD at just a signal or click of my tongue and than refined it to be able to cue her for the exact speed I was looking for.
Today was finally the day to put it to the test. I knew that she wouldn't immediately be cured and would revert back to her initial behavior once I was on her but the point of the ground work was to create the beginning of a language, or way of communicating with her so as to remove any confusion. The weather was also helping me out since it was in the 40s rather than the teens like it has been. To start with I reminded her of our ground work lessons and once I felt that she was really listening to me I laid over her back with the saddle on and clicked. She got just as tense as she did last time but this time she actually thought about forward. I then used the end of the leadrope and tossed it against her hips until I got a step. I relaxed, rubbed her all over and repeated. After a little while, still just laying over her back since she has had the tendency to think up or buck, she was starting to relax and realize that this was a lesson just like any other. She also seems to think that I'm going to blow up and freak out when she doesn't do something right and when I remain calm and just repeat she eventually calms down as well.
Eventually she was relaxed enough that I swung up and sat properly on her. She really relaxed then since my weight was more balanced over her and was dropping her head, chewing, soft and actually offering forward steps on her own. I worked on getting just a couple of relaxed steps in a row and actually had some steering and then called it quits.
I did have Lisa there just in case and she got a couple of pictures of us. This is where the not a DQ part comes in lol! I am really normally not this much of a mess but I was cold!! I know I also wasn't wearing a helmet and please don't beat me up about it. This is literally the first time in over three years that I have even sat on a horse without one and I realize it wasn't the time to start but I really wasn't thinking I was going to do more than lean over her and it was one of the moments that everything was just perfect and I felt safe.
It won't happen again and I assure you that if you ever see me without again in this blog you are all welcome to scold.
On to the messy and awkward pictures, I always seem to be doing something strange with my face when people take my photo :/ I can't wait to see her in actually dressage tack and I actually have a really nice bridle that I'm saving until we start to be able to add the bit to the mix :)