Well, who would have thought that such a cold day (hovering around -28) could be so GREAT!!?
I decided to work each horse this morning.
A very frisky Bucephalus was such a sweetie. Even with the crisp air, he was able to pay attention to me. We practiced his changes of direction in the walk and trot at liberty. My fingers “called it quits” long before he wanted to stop. Even though he was keen to keep playing he listened carefully to me, came when I called him and allowed me to take him to his paddock.
I worked with Pax in his stall. His stall is two stalls made into one so there’s plenty of room to move around in there, even with a BIG Canadian. I got a flippy, soft whip and asked him to raise a front leg. He did. Click/treat. Tried it with the other front leg. Success. Click/treat. Time to up the ante. I backed him so his rear was a foot from the wall and asked him to walk slowly forward AND raise a front leg. The super star did it. Click/treat. We continued and he was able to raise alternate legs. He did this four or five times. Wow! It was interesting to compare Pax’s effort when in the arena and when in the stall. At this stage of his Spanish Walk the stall is a better venue because he can’t get up a head of steam in the small area.
I took Zeloso to the arena. He’s offering “Pretty Face” as he trots around me at liberty. For his Spanish Walk I’m working on having him farther and farther from me when he does it.
During Zelador’s turn in the arena I worked on the piaffe at liberty. I’m using two of Allen Pogue’s wands. One has the green ball with a flippy end, the other has just the soft green ball. I use the flippy one for the hind end to encourage a rhythmic lifting of the legs and the green ball for the front end. The front wand has several roles. Sometimes it encourages the lifting of the legs, sometimes I lightly tap near his withers for the front leg lift and sometimes I place the wand horizontally in front of him to maintain minimal forward movement.
Zelador and I also worked on the Spanish Walk. My goal with him is to only use my voice and body language (no wand) to get the movement. I’m thinking that if I want to add a touch cue I can place my hand on him as I walk beside him while he’s doing the Spanish Walk. Just got to figure out where to touch. Perhaps on the side of his barrel, or below his withers or just behind the chest.
And, I forgot to mention in my earlier blog that I’ve contacted Brenda and encouraged her to start taking photos for the 2011 Horse Sport Photo Contest. She and Ciara own a gorgeous two-and-a-half-year-old black/bay Lusitano, Denali. He has an extensive wardrobe (to die for)! The category? “Dressed For Success: Show us your fashion forward horse in snappy duds; whether ready to show or in costume.” Can’t wait to see what she comes up with!