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The Bareback Assignment

The Non-Contact (Bareback) Riding assignment has been in the works for a while now. Our last couple rides have really been focused on getting Darcy’s right canter lead, having him softer and more wiling in the direct rein turns and just generally improving my bareback seat to help him out more (especially during rein positions and that canter transition). All of the elements have been coming together so we went out and filmed it 2 days ago. I was really happy with how we went, but the quality of the filming wasn’t so great. I asked my neighbour to film for me, but as he has never done it before he didn't quite understand how specific this video had to be. Basically ended up stopping the video recording accidentally midway through, ended up doing 2 minutes of canter to the left (apparently we looked like we were having lots of fun, so I wasn't given a one minute notice) and he cut off my last bend to a stop, lateral flexes and backup - whoops! I’m grateful he filmed it though - even if it totally isn’t blue-tickable. Here’s a link to the not-so-great video if you want a laugh - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH7lYOhDTMc I was planning to get out and refilm it today but Darcy was unfortunately a bit tender after getting his hooves trimmed yesterday. We ended up just walking around and playing with Darcy could follow my focus and seat without me using the reins as much as possible. By the end we had lateral flex both ways without even touching the reins (although we’ve had this for a few weeks now), but Darcy also took my offers a few times on some backups and a few direct reins just using my seat. Then when we were walking around I could open up and focus in a direction (no reins) and about 60-70% of the time Darcy would turn and follow my direction. Sometimes my seat wouldn’t be quite right and Darcy would give me opposition reflex if I tried to use my reins to guide him when my seat wasn’t right (bit of a discovery there for me), then I’d readjust my seat and Darcy would take my offer. I also tried asking Darcy to bend to a stop, but he wasn’t quite getting my ask at the beginning. So to help him out I opened up in the direction I’d like his head to flex, then shifted my position to an indirect rein ask, before shifting my weight down further and picking up the rein just slightly (pinch test style) to ask him for a lateral flex plus lowing my energy like I would to ask him to stop. After a few goes he started picking up the pattern and we finished up with me just opening up to the left, then when he flexed to turn sitting my weight down and lowering my energy, and then he flexed to a stop. It was only a half flex but once he stopped he flexed al the way around. It was a great try so I left it at that. Fingers crossed bareback and bridleless might not be too far away from us (just got to get Level 2 done). I’m hoping Darcy will be feeling ok to film the assignment sometime in the next week, so that we can get it out of the way (and hopefully get our first blue tick in what would be a little over 6 months!!) and progress further into the impulsion program. We will be attending the Contact Riding Clinic with Meredith and Fiona in November and aim to have the Bareback and Simples assignments completed by then and be working through the homework cards to prepare us for the gallop assignment. Then fingers crossed we can get the Gallop and Contact assignments completed by April next year so that we are ready for the Level 3 QSE camp. I’m so excited to see where the future takes us (especially in L3)!!!

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

5 days at QSSC

I recently came back from 5 days completing a working student position for the Cert 1 course at QSSC. It involved working through the Cert 1 course and checklist wth Darcy and doing some groundwork with Khmari for an hour each per day. The rest of my day was spent watching Meredith, Mel and Shane horse training and chatting with everyone about our discoveries, ponderings, thoughts, etc. The working part of my position involved caring for some of the horses in for training, cleaning the kitchen area and some other odd jobs. Over the 5 days spent going through the impulsion groundwork and impulsion ridden diaries with Darcy we have come along in leaps and bounds. We have good consistent rein positions (pinch test style) and transitions (mainly walk and trot, canter is getting there) now, and our turns and rebounds are really coming along. On the circle our spirals and simple leads are getting more flow and impulsion and we even took it up to a canter for the simples. Darcy still needs some balancing coming into the spiral/simple lead as he is getting a bit heavy on his front end (although this was made worse by us trying to go sideways while pointing down the hill). My paddocks are just a bit too small and with too many trees in inconvenient places to get speed up on the pattern, so I’m looking into hiring the Pomona Show Grounds near me as much as possible over the holidays. I’ll have a huge flat space so that I can practice for and hopefully film the non-contact bareback riding and simple lead changes riding assignments over the school holidays. I was planning to film my bareback assignment a few days ago but then we had heaps of rain, so with my clay soil its not safe to canter. We have just been walking and trotting around improving our transitions, direct rein turns and Darcy’s emotional fitness with the slippery ground. I am hoping with consistent practice and work that our simples will be ready to film really soon - even if its just an attempt to get feedback. The main components to improve are getting Darcy’s correct lead to the right 100% of the time and getting more flow and self carriage in the simples. The right lead is coming along well and I had a bit of a tah-dah the other day when I played around with my position and ask for the canter with one rein. I focused more on really exaggerating opening up forward and to the right and letting Darcy just take my offer in his own time so that he could set himself up to succeed. When I tried it, I offered when we were coming around a corner and Darcy was nice and relaxed at the trot. And as a result I got a lovely soft transition up to the right lead, with no moment of counter-flex (which would usually cause the left lead) and it just felt so much smoother and nicer than usual. I will definitely be applying this more so that Darcy can find release in the right lead and then I’ll work on refining it. I haven’t been able to do any homework for the simples since I’ve gotten back, but hopefully we can get to it soon.

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

Canter Canter here we come

I have been starting to get back into riding and we went back and had a go at some level 1 programs that I thinks needed revisiting again.  From here I have had progress in my direct reins and have been getting comfortable in the saddle and moving so much more in trying to communicate with him better.  Yesterday I found myself thinking that we were ready to try the canter again.  All my ducks were lined up and away we went.  He was really trying and one way we got some nice transitions and even half a circle before stopping.  The other side he tried and tried for me but we kept getting the opposite lead.  I stopped because I wasn't at all convinced that it was him.  90% sure it was me so we finished up with the good work that we had done and I was estatic that there was not even one moment of being emotional from him which is the first time ever.  Onward and upward from here

jane_gully

jane_gully

 

Back to it (yet again)

About 3 weeks ago Darcy started getting sore again, so we brought our riding to a halt and I found a massage and red light therapist to come treat Darcy in the hope I'd be able to avoid vet bills this time. The muscle therapist came out and treated Darcy, he was sore and reactive on both sides in his chest, back, croup and hamstring region, as well as over his poll and his sacroiliac joint - he also couldn't move his head up and down from the poll. He improved a little after the first treatment and I reintroduced some basic groundwork just to keep his fitness up and his mind ticking over, as well as some stretches recommended by the muscle therapist. On Wednesday he had his second treatment and he was considerably better, he only had a tiny bit of soreness over a small section of his back and on the right side of his poll, he was also able to move his head up and down from the poll. The therapist said he should probably be ok to ride now and after doing some groundwork on Friday afternoon I could see how much more comfortable he was (no longer going around with his ears back like he had been for the last few weeks).  Today I went out and rode Darcy for the first time in about 3 weeks. We went bareback and worked through our impulsion homework cards. We did some circles, transitions, turns, rebounds, point-to-point and rein positions (pinch test style). The circles were pretty good and Darcy remembered the pattern, and our turns were better than they had been before our break! The backup in the rebound and after the point-to-point needs some more work on adding some positive reflex and impulsion though. The transitions on the circle went well and Darcy was going from walk to trot and back down mainly from my seat in a few strides, and he picked up the correct canter lead the first try on his bad side! Our lateral flex was really good and we could do with without reins at all, and the indirect and direct reins were light in a pinch test, the backup and sideways were a bit clunky though, but they'll get better once we get back into the swing of things. Darcy's trot throughout was also really bumpy, so once our fitness is up there will be many a passenger lesson in store, plus some more time spent softening him further on the circle. His trot did improve a bit throughout, so I think it won't take much to get it smooth again. Then this afternoon I went out again and did a little trail ride around my property with Darcy. It was perfect because it lengthened him and gave him some more impulsion, while also stretching his emotions and being fun and interesting at the same time. I did it like a big stopping spot, with the comfort being the track immediately around the paddocks, and then going and doing tracks further away from the paddock and coming back to do a lap around the paddock again if Darcy got emotional. We did some transitions and the occasional rebound as we went, and we got some great walk-trot and trot-walk transitions going from my seat and energy, plus the occasional rebound with much more impulsion in the back up. Towards the end we also did a 200m stretch of canter up our gallop track and all of the groundwork we've been doing showed up as Darcy maintained a slow and steady canter on a straight line and came back to a walk from my seat (although it took a few more strides than I would have liked, it was pretty darn good for Darcy). We finished up with a graze for Darcy while I lay on him. I had a great time and I think Darcy really enjoyed himself too. I'm looking forward to seeing where the rest of the year takes us, and hopefully we will be getting some Level 2 assignments in soon!      

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

Murphy Meets Fly Mask

On Monday Murphy met her fly mask. She quickly decided it was not for her, after showing it to her and all was good I went to put it over her ears she quickly jumped back and it got stuck on one of her ears this freaked her out and she started to forequarter yielding so quickly her rope went air borne about a meter off the ground swinging around and whipping me in the leg, she continued this for a few more seconds before stopping, which we find a little amusing now. Murphy and I had been going well up until recently where I have felt that our connection has been fading a bit.  

maya_weston02

maya_weston02

 

QS Saddle has arrived.

I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my saddle as without one I have stalled a bit.  I have had it about 2 weeks and today I got to take it to our playday at Cooroy.  Poor Gully is a bit lacking in the muscle tone department and was feeling just a little bit fresh so we got to see the arena a bit faster than usual.  By the end we managed to get some good direct reins and change of direction.  I am slipping and sliding around in the saddle so much playing with all the movement I now have and am starting to get the hang of using my hips so much better.  After being stuck in a saddle that was way too small for me for so long it feels good to be free.  I have a lot of work to do on myself to loosen up my shoulders and be more comfortable leaning further back.  My first few rides in the saddle I practiced my rein positions and rebounds which are going so much better in the new saddle.  Gulliver is responding so much better and I can feel the improvement in our connection when riding already.  He was a bit to emotional this morning but I was really happy with how much lighter he was in the direct rein.  I will be riding again tomorrow with some homework cards to read.  

jane_gully

jane_gully

 

Purple Tick - HiM Liberty

Hi everyone, We just got our second Purple Tick, and for our HiM Liberty!  I'm so proud of Darcy and I, and I still can't believe that we actually passed this assignment! Darcy will be getting a giant carrot and lots of pats and cuddles this afternoon. Our HiM Long Range is super close now, so we have to get out there and film it again ASAP. Here is our HiM Liberty -   
 

Back at it

Hi everyone.  So I've made yet another blog! I want to keep my Level 2 stuff and HiM stuff seperate blogging wise. Darcy and I currently have 4 assignments to go until we finish our Level 2! The bareback, simple leads, non-contact and contact riding leads (so all riding). My goal is for us to complete our Level 2 by the end of the year, in time for the Level 3 QSE camp we will be attending with Shane and Meredith in Woolooga next year (so excited). Darcy and I had a bit of a break from our Level 2 while Darcy was recovering from his lameness, now we are coming back into it and we have our rocket boosters on. We have been out riding each day, and although we are quite scratchy from the time off riding, each day we are improving greatly. The goal is to film our bareback and simple leads assignments by or during the next play day in August. Just today we ran through most of the impulsion homework card and our transitions are looking awesome, our turns are slowly getting better, our rebounds are pretty solid, Darcy has found release on the circle and at the centre cone, our rein positions and pinch test are amazeballs (all yields at the pinch test, plus lateral flex and sometimes direct reins without touching the reins!) and our ridden spirals and simple lead changes are getting better each time.  The best thing of all, is because Darcy has learnt how to carry himself properly (and I have learnt how to ask him to), we were trotting along on the southern cross circle today with Darcy's head down - like long and low, engaging his back and being super relaxed kind of down. Anyone that knows Darcy will understand how big of an achievement this is for us, because he used to run around braced and counter flexed with his head straight up in the air; not to mention how bumpy this made his trot! Thanks for reading and I look forward to updating you all soon with our progress.  

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

Today - 20/07/2018

Hi everybody, Darcy and I reattempted the Long Range HiM the other day. Today we got feedback saying we were super close and I just need to give Darcy some more room in the COD's to allow him to maintain his trot and then we will be ready for that Purple Tick. Hopefully we can get out this weekend and film our long range and our liberty, and maybe pass them both too.  Today I went out with a goal to practice and improve some of the elements from both assignments and when I first went down Darcy was laying down so I sat with him for about 5 minutes and gave him some carrots and pats which he appreciated. Then we did some transitions and COD's with the neck rope and managed to get some awesome transitions with just body life and a few COD's at a trot. Then we went to liberty and Darcy took my offers on short range circles, transitions, COD's and barrel jumps - it was really nice!   Darcy even went over the barrels from a stop, at a walk and at a trot with the barrels away from the fence (so he could have gone around them if he wanted to, and he did once, but after he didn't find release on that but on a jump instead he kept taking my offers over the jump). He often tries to go around them - even online - but I think he truly found the release today.

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

Our First Purple Tick!

Hi everyone! Darcy and I received our first purple tick for our Short Range HiM about 3 weeks ago. Our Long Range is getting better each time and our Liberty is so close to a purple tick now. Purple ticks are coming!   Here is the link to our Short Range HiM -   

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

2018 part 1

Unfortunately not much to report.  One exciting aspect is that I have ordered Gulliver a QS saddle on the 2nd January.  In the mean time we have just been practicing on the ground.  I know my saddle should be here soon I am hoping before the end of July.  He just seemed to grow out of his other saddle so I have hardly ridden in the past 6 months.  Look out next 6 months because I am having severe withdrawls.  Poor Gully has also lost all his herd in the past couple of weeks.  The only two horses that he has known since he was twelve months old had to be put down and we had to build up his family again.  So now he has Buddy the Clydie and Henry the pony adjusting here indefinitely and Maya has bought herself her first horse Murphy who will live here now and will start QS with her.  So you could say that Gully has had a bit of an interesting start to the year.  In spite of that I was so proud of how hard he tried for me in QSports and we came away with a First in the Level 2 Challenge and a Second in our Liberty.  We also gave some level 3 events a go.  That was a great experience.

So close to a purple tick for short range HiM

I just got feedback from Meredith today on Darcy and I's first trot attempt of the short range HiM, and its so close now. We just have to improve on the flow, Darcy's self carriage and my rope skills (no using the rope for forward). This was filmed about a week and a half ago, but now its looking about a million times better. Darcy is offering amazing self carriage (his back is close to being as flat as a table), I'm not lifting my rope hand for the offer for trot (Darcy's just going off of my energy and intent) and the general flow is much nicer. We just have to improve in on a smaller circle with the stick on Darcy's back, because I feel like the stick is blocking the raising of Darcy's back, which essentially stops the drive forwards into the trot. I will have experiment with this one a little more. Here are some screenshots and a quick video of how we are looking now     IMG_1473.MOV

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

What we've been up to - 14/05/2018

I haven't posted in over a month (whoops). Darcy and I have been super busy though. He pulled up lame and after 2 vet visits and some x-rays was diagnosed as being calcium deficient. He is now being treated for that, and as part of it he has to have time off from anything major. All we are allowed to do is small amounts of walk groundwork (which we can be quite creative with). So we have ben doing tons of HiM, and have been practicing short range, long range and liberty all at a walk. I have submitted some short range assignments and my second one is awaiting feedback now. I have just been doing it at a walk with focus of Darcy's lateral drift, self carriage and softness throughout.  I hope to film the long range and liberty soon just at a walk as they are coming along nicely. Darcy is quite happy with COD's and spirals HiM style, but the lateral drift at long range still needs some work from both of us. Our liberty however is going amazingly! Darcy has made the choice to stay with me and for the past week of doing Liberty nearly every afternoon he hasn't left me once. It feels so great and I can tell how much he wants to connect because after our sessions he walks beside me for a while. Yesterday we were at the Noosa Hinterland practice day and the whole time we just worked with the neck rope, then we did some liberty in the huge grass area of the grounds. He didn't leave me even though there was lots of grass and the draw of other horses, although our circles ended up getting pretty large at times!   I can't wait to see where Darcy's next month of walk restrictions takes us as its really getting me to fine-tune myself and my communication with him. Sometimes I think about sending Darcy on a circle and he will start doing it, so I have to be careful about what I consider asking Darcy to do because its like he can read my mind! He happily goes sideways, forward and backwards now with just my intent and body life. 
 

Stories from the past week - 05/04/2018

I have been a bit slack with posting, so here is our progress from the past week or so. 25/03/2018 -  Darcy and I went to the Sunshine Coast Practice Group for the World's Biggest Play Day. In some of the games like the races he went a bit emotional and braced up, and I am happy to say that I was able to use the skills I have gained from Him to bring back the thinking Darcy. He was also concerned by a giant horse statue and the ball when it came flying at him during soccer. I was able to show him that they really weren't trying to eat him and he calmed down.   26/03/2018 - 04/04/2018 Over this week we had a few tahdah's. Darcy did the first totally unbraced jump I have ever seen him do. He walked in and out of it and his legs all took off and landed at different times, which he has never been able to do. I have been a bit slack with posting, so here is our progress from the past week or so. 25/03/2018 -  Darcy and I went to the Sunshine Coast Practice Group for the World's Biggest Play Day. In some of the games like the races he went a bit emotional and braced up, and I am happy to say that I was able to use the skills I have gained from Him to bring back the thinking Darcy. He was also concerned by a giant horse statue and the ball when it came flying at him during soccer. I was able to show him that they really weren't trying to eat him and he calmed down.   26/03/2018 - 04/04/2018 Over this week we had a few tahdah's. Darcy did the first totally unbraced jump I have ever seen him do. I had a feeling he was carrying a lot of brace over the jump, so I did some no yield in motion over the jump and it released all of the emotion. After a few laps Darcy relaxed to a walk and gave the try I was looking for. He walked in and out of it, and his legs all took off and landed at different times, which he has never been able to do.  I also think Darcy finally made the choice to stay with me, because when I gave him the chance to leave at liberty he did and very fast I may add. I moved him in circles maintaining the trot he left with and allowing him to walk when he connected again. After a few minutes he came in and stayed with me doing circles in the open paddock.   05/04/2018 -  Today was one of those days where everything goes well and falls into place with heaps of tries. To warm up, Darcy and I did some short and long range HiM with the halter and the neck rope. With the halter Darcy's walk was beautiful and we were getting transitions and lateral drift with just energy and body language. So seeing the the ducks were being very good, I asked Darcy up to a trot and we got some lateral drift. It wasn't as smooth as I'd like but its a start. We moved onto the neck rope and just did some walk, lateral drift at walk and some transitions. Throughout I was getting tries of vertical flex and I could visibly see Darcy's back raising.  I then asked Darcy over some barrel jumps and Darcy had some really nice jumps. To both sides he was walking in and out of the jump and was lifting off and landing with which leg separated at different times. He was also landing with his hind legs nicely spread and sequential (not landing at the same time like usual). I stopped when it was good.  Then I left Darcy with just his halter (no lead rope), while I put some things away. Then he started walking off from where I left him which left me a bit disappointed but he walked straight over to the centre of the southern cross pattern and stopped there super relaxed. I must have been doing something right the last few days doing some of the find the centre if he choose to walk over and stand there.  We then did some bareback and our rein positions were so light and lovely. Although I do have to thank my chiropractor because he fixed my hips up after they had been crooked for a couple of months. We did some walk and trot approximately on the pattern and then I offered a canter on Darcy's bad side and he picked up the right lead straight away. He was struggling with this for a while and I haven't tried it for over a month, but its there now (thank you HiM). I was going to film my bareback but my iPod ran out of charge, so hopefully we can film it tomorrow.    

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

Keep Calm - 24/03/2018

Today I went out and gave Darcy a little clean up because he had been rolling in the mud! Once he was looking handsome again I did some of the short range HiM to warm up and then went through the saddling procedure.  I asked Darcy through the different rein positions and paid extra attention on making sure he didn't step forward or finish with his weight forward after the forequarter yields. They were looking really good and I could feel him using and raising him back a little, so we did some circles focusing on Darcy maintaining lateral softness. Darcy gave me some great tries (including a bit of vertical flex in the pinch test back up) and I could feel him softening a little more when I asked for the lateral drift. Darcy got a bit spooked when the neighbours dogs were chasing the kangaroos, but I was able to help him through it by focusing on the circle and asking him to keep laterally soft. I finished when he was calm, thinking and laterally soft. I'm proud of our progress so far in just a week 

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

Trying some riding yesterday - 23/03/2018

Yesterdays play with Darcy went really well. I went through the mounting procedure HiM style and Darcy went really well and was ok with trot at a longer range and over the barrels.  When I got on, I ran through our rein positions for a while and focused on having them nice and flowing. At one point when I was asking Darcy to back with one rein it felt like he had picked himself up and his back rose, but I'm not sure as I haven't felt it before, I released on it regardless because it was a nice backup too . It'll be something to keep a feel for and make sure I release on. Then I asked Darcy out on some walk circles and whenever I felt him straighten I asked him laterally and then forward again nice he softened. To mix it up on some of the laterals we would finish and others we would go forward to. After about 10 - 15 minutes Darcy was really light on the reins and I could just lift the inside one a little bit and shift my weight a bit and Darcy would respond with lateral drift. I left it on a good try and hopefully we can progress on it today    

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

Totally Brought a New Horse to Do Skills Checks With!

Yep, it had been bugging me for a while that I wasn't getting my Skills Checks filmed.  I needed help,  I needed another horse. So, I went out and brought one. WELL, I didn't 'go out' to do it, because I brought him off eBay. For about $8.00                 He's so awsome! He likes apples, but holds my Samsung just fine! Even in QS colours! Pop him on the fence, stand him up and he doesn't move... Filmed and sent away SC2 so looking forward to some feed back  

_helen_

_helen_

 

Taking it slow - 22/03/2018

I gave Darcy the day off yesterday which he made the most of and enjoyed, maybe a little too much because today he saw the halter and decided he would rather eat grass than do something with me. He trotted out into the paddock and I followed him and then I got him doing a serpentine from using my bellybutton energy on his shoulders. Then I got him out onto a circle and used his hindquarter to keep him on the same circle. I gradually made the circle smaller and when Darcy tried to walk I asked him up again to trot and kept making the circle smaller. Then I asked him to yield his hind and after about a circle he did and then I drew him in and he had a bit of a lick and a chew. I walked off towards where I'd left my stick and string and Darcy came with me. Lesson learned for both of us - I learnt that I've made him work too hard a few times in the past week and Darcy learnt that sticking with me is much nicer than going out on his own. After that we did some of the short range HiM things just at a walk, practicing sends, stops, lateral drift and just moving nicely with lateral flexion on the circle - first with the halter and then with the neck rope. Darcy gave me some great tries and was really picking himself up and he managed to lower his head by just a fraction compared to last time. Then we went on with the neck rope and while he wasn't quite as flexed, I could tell he was still trying hard.  I had a lightbulb moment with the lateral drift. When I was turning against Darcy to point my belly button at him to ask for the lateral drift he was bracing up and his head would come up a bit and he would stiffen through the ribs, then when I asked him to move laterally his hindquarter was lagging. Then I tried curving a bit and pointing my hip at his pocket and he picked up and moved laterally without the bit of brace. So I think my bellybutton lightsaber must be too intense and Darcy thinks I'm yelling at him, or me turning against him is pausing his forward for just a moment and thats causing the brace in him when I then ask his to go laterally when I've just blocked him. I have some pondering to do!

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

Was it a try or not?? 20/03/2018

Well today was interesting. I had a feeling that Darcy hadn't been truly softening through the ribs because his head level was still above his wither at the end of the lateral drift. I went out with the goal to get a better try with his head lower and even after many attempts and trying lots of different positions, I wasn't getting any better tries. He was quite obviously trying to pick himself up and try for me, as I could see him flexing around me and his stomach tucking up and his back rising, and when I offered the release forward again I got an few offers of vertical flex for the first few steps.  His head was at an acceptable height (only about 10-15cm in total above the level of his wither) and he seemed to be relaxed, so I'm beginning to think that his head level is ok as it is. As an Arabian he has a naturally high head carriage, so his head is pretty low considering. We did have some good progress with the lateral drift, especially on the right. His hind had been lagging going to the right and Darcy gave me a few tries of bringing his hind end under him in the lateral drift which I released forward on.  I'll keep working on it and releasing with the tries I'm getting, and hopefully we will be ready to try a nice lateral drift at the trot soon.

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

Discoveries from today - 19/03/2018

Today Darcy and I went out to practice some of our HiM again. The short range with the halter on was going beautifully and Darcy was really trying in his upwards transitions to trot (which are looking considerably better than they did yesterday!). I switched the alerts for the ring rope around the neck and Darcy gave me some great tries with his flex and was feeling even better than yesterday. Then I asked him for some lateral drift at the trot and it all went a bit haywire. His hindquarter was lagging so I checked my position which didn't help, so I pushed some extra energy at his hindquarter and Darcy braced a little, then when I flicked my string a bit at his hindquarter to try to get his hind under him he lost it. He went really braced with his head up and was running through the rope, and he went totally right brained. I managed to disengage his hind and he stopped and looked a bit confused. Then I asked him out short range and did some no-yeild in motion with the stick and string and he went all right brained again. He calmed down after about a minute and I repeated on the other side. I finished on a good note with some nice walk circles with lateral flex. This was a first for Darcy to react like this to the trotting or lateral drift. I'm not sure if its because the halter has been hiding it or if Darcy has been containing it this whole time. I'm just glad that its out so we can work through it now. Looking back on it, I think I was trying to be 'more round' to try to help Darcy in the trot circles and was consequently pushing my hip at Darcy without intending to and basically asking him into lateral rift. but he would then hit the feel of the rope and basically phase himself. So when I asked for the drift it was too much for him.

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

Todays Play - 18/03/2018

Today I went out with yesterdays successes and lessons learned in mind. Darcy and I had a play with some short range with the halter on to warm up and he was really offering the flex. We did some nice sends, stops and lateral drift, and our transitions up to a trot had improved. I made sure to reward all of his tries by stopping frequently. After 10 minutes I swapped Darcy’s halter for the 22” rope around his neck. We repeated the short range and he offered flex again really nicely. Then I sent him out on just over half of the rope and he struggled a bit with the flex but I helped him through it by making sure I was in the pocket and using my belly button to ask him for lateral drift and I got a few nice tries from him. I brought him back in short range and asked for a really nice flexed circles each way and finished with that. I was very happy with what we had done so Darcy got a big pat and some grazing time on the nice grass. Hopefully we can film at attempt of the short range this week and long range soon too

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

Yesterdays Progress

Yesterday I finished watching all of the HiM videos on my Level 2 modules.  I decided to go out and practice some short and long range things from the videos. I made sure all of my ducks were lined up and Darcy gave me some awesome tries. After about half an hour or so, I wanted to finish up with just a few short range circles and then I found an escaping duck. Darcy had stopped offering flex going to the right and would only do it when I asked and stop as soon as I offered the release forward. I ended up spending way too much time trying to work through it and got Darcy a bit annoyed. Eventually we finished on a nice flex. Looking back on it now I shouldn't have even tried to finish off with some short range circles, I should have just finished with the good tries I was getting because Darcy was getting tired from all of the hard work. Lesson learned. After we wrapped up I assessed Darcy to see where he was sweating and he had some sweat along his back and some between his hindquarters, but none around his shoulders, yay! I must have been getting some form of flex from him, even though its hard to tell from the pocket. Another lesson learned that he was probably lightly flexed the whole time and I couldn't tell!  I'm going to go over the same things again today but try to finish our session quickly before Darcy gets tired out.

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

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