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About this blog

This blog is to record the progress Darcy and I make as we work our way through the HiM program.

Entries in this blog

 

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 -   

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

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. 

LunaMorrow

LunaMorrow

 

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

 

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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