Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Basic training

Ok, so some time back I attempted to start working Sati on long lines. We were both confused. I had read a couple of books that purported to discuss the how-to's but didn't so I was making it up. She of course failed to read any of her homework...

Well, when we tried to walk on the long lines poor Sati just got confused and would stop or back up. I decided to take a break and go back to a part of the training I understood better, longing. With a saddle, bridle and occasionally side reins (for contact NOT setting her head) I longed her and taught her walk, trot and whoa on voice command. Well, I taught her to do walk-trot-whoa. I apparently didn't teach her to walk-trot-walk reliably, but that will come. Anyhow, I did this to reinforce the voice commands she already knew, but not well enough.

Having gotten the longing down reasonably well we went back to long lines. This time I started by walking alongside with just my dressage whip (the longing whip is too long) and just asked her to walk and turn almost as if I were leading her. That helped a great deal. Anytime she got confused I could reinforce my commands with gestures she already knew. Turning could include me pointing in the direction I wanted her to move, walking could include me leaning forward to walk. In other words she could read my body language clearly. As she became more confident of my signals with the reins I slowly moved further away from her so she moved in a circle around me on the lines.

That worked great the first time. Until we tried trotting. Sati decided she didn't want to turn the direction I wanted and threw a jumping, bucking and running fit. I let go of the lines and she took off around the arena a few times. Head up, tail up and running full bore she is very pretty! I was of course concerned that she would hurt herself. She is still a baby enough to not have a clear idea of where her legs are at all times or when to put on the brakes. It's funny, I recall Ketah even at this age always being very balanced and aware of herself. Sati, on the other hand, has managed to fall more than once while running like a maniac. This makes me nervous...

Anyhow, I eventually got her to calm down and we tried again. This time she clearly felt that what she'd done before was a Good Thing. So she threw a fit almost immediately. We disagreed on her interpretation of Good Things, and this time I held onto the reins and...she fell. Score 1-1.

We walked a few more minutes and quit.

The following week we longed then started long lining the same way. This time when she threw a fit and I disciplined her she immediately quit. Clearly taking a fall was the necessary lesson. We have continued to work since then on turning both to the left and to the right. She may not like it, but she will do it without trying to take off.

I really hope she gets over the falling thing though. I don't look forward to those bruises.

No comments:

Post a Comment