I devoured My Horses, My Teachers and Centered Riding immediately. I need to give Riding Logic another try - it was way over my head at the time. Today Val and I cracked open 101 Exercises.
|A hundred and one?!!!!!|
We dove right in. Before I knew it we had ridden for well over an hour. Why the heck didn't I do this sooner? This book gave me the structure and focus that I had been struggling to find working without my trainer, and relying on my imagination.
We tried three exercises. Large oval with big and little trot, go and whoa, and turns and forward movement. Basically focusing on getting on the aids. Coincidentally, our contact was excellent today. I found it much easier to concentrate on accuracy, my aids and Val's movement, when I didn't also have to plan / decide on our school figure at the same time. The book is designed to be brought to the arena, with large print and simple, well explained diagrams. A fun session - and a great tool for riders who often have to work on their own like we do.
Over the weekend we also did quite a bit of groundwork. Ground tying is something I've been wanting to accomplish with Val since I got him. We had two extended grooming sessions where he was ground tied the entire time. Initially he tried to walk off. Each time I stopped grooming, (patiently) moved him back, and then continued working.
I got some good insight into Val's coping behaviors during this session. First he tries to walk off. Then he tries what I like to call "hammer-heading". (His head met my elbow several times) Next comes lippy grooming which can turn into nippy clothes grabbing. More elbow. Finally there is extreme head tossing. I had seen this behavior when I met him at his old barn. Once he ran the gamut, which took about fifteen minutes or so, he finally stood calmly, eyes closed and bottom lip dangling. The second session he just stayed put from the get go... what a good boy!
We also did more trailer loading practice. Val self-loaded numerous times, so I think that's confirmed now. I couldn't be happier. I should elaborate - I'm sure that Val self-loaded before I bought him. I haven't taught him anything. A few bad loading experiences when we first got together unfortunately set us back. So really, I'm the one that needed the trailer loading work. I think I've got it down now ;)
Finally, we had an amateur massage session. I worked on Val's poll and neck. He has some very tight places on either side of his poll, and further down his neck as well. I guess it was okay because Val stayed put, and did a lot of stretching and yawning. We have booked a real massage session with someone who practices the Masterson Method. She is located on the other side of the state from us, but happens to be vacationing here in early October. Lucky Val!