In which there are breakthroughs, big and small, and rewards for good behavior
Excellent riding lesson today!
|reins wide, engaged rear engine, lifted back, lots of impulsion!|
|Shoulder-in. Working on flexibility, gently stretching and |
using muscles that got impacted by the surgery
However, if I actually want to motivate her to repeat the good behavior, I have to praise her and touch her at the same time. I've known that for a long time. But today, I tried something new.
|Shoulder-in, notice the hind feet crossing nicely!|
In the video, you can see typical behavior leading up to a tantrum: the swishing tail, the braced front end, and eventually, the back feet shooting off in all directions before I am able to get her moving forward again.
Notice in the video when she is finished with the badness and does move forward, she does it with a light step and perked-up ears: she threw the tantrum, and then moved out of it without a grudge.
As soon as I mounted up this morning, I could feel a lot of snarkiness under the saddle, so this time I decided to see if I could get her moving with that no-grudge attitude before she got to the plant-feet-and-buck stage.
We practiced halt-to-trot transitions, which she doesn't like.
Today, instead of correcting her for walking a stride or two before picking up the trot, I waited until she trotted the first stride or two, and then gave her copious praise and petting for moving forward into the trot. No praise for the walk, but tons of praise and petting for trot.
Hmmm. This was new. She had to think about it. Moving forward, even badly, is super-praise-worthy? Hmmmm. She started moving forward out of the halt with fewer walk-steps. Hmmmm.
We did that for about 20 minutes during the warm-up, when nobody else was around.
And you know what?
In the lesson, when I asked for something difficult, she started to brace herself to refuse, but instead of pushing her forward, I collected her and then asked for the same kind of trot departure that earned her so much praise in the warm-up...and SHE DID IT!
Okay, she still threw her feet around.
But she didn't plant the front feet at all--she pinned her ears and threw up a foot so that I would understand that she didn't like my request, BUT then she moved forward and did what I asked!
This is huge for her, and I'm so happy. I praised her copiously every time she moved forward after throwing out a back foot, and she got better and better about not getting stuck in tantrum-mode.
In other breakthrough news, Duana and Hana are working really well together now:
|Hana: soft through the bridle, using her rear engine|
But Du is learning how to establish firm boundaries with Hana Banana Wanna Cookie, and Hana is learning that Du really will enforce the rules!
|Huge improvement for both of them. Hooray!|
|Saddling up, almost ready to head out|
|Blue skies above: nothing prettier!|
|Lots of babies and green horses in the group,|
so we just strolled along and enjoyed the day.
|I never get tired of this view: blue skies seen through happy ears.|
|left side incision site: Spay Day + 29|
|right side incision site: Spay Day + 29|
Of course, we all know what Fiddle's very favorite reward is: