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Acceptable pressure?

Re: Acceptable pressure?

Postby nicxf » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:31 pm

Well, much better this evening.
In conjunction with Helen reminding me that if Coral has nothing to brace AGAINST then she won't be able to brace, I remembered something from some lessons I had last year....that LESS is MORE. So I did a little bit of work on the ground before mounting this evening, to see how tiny a cue on the rein I could use, to get Coral to move her feet. And it was interesting - if she's focussing on you, she really can respond to the lightest lift of the rein. But she's so easily distracted it's hard to keep that softness consistently.

I found the same under saddle too. Although I still needed to boot her a bit, I found that it was probably only about 50% of the time. She was far more responsive to the voice and lighter rein cues than she has been before - in fact I'd say the only times she got stuck and I had to resort to a kick, were when she lost focus and started worrying about what the other horses were doing rather than paying attention to the fact she had someone on her back. When she WAS paying attention, she went off a lift of the rein or a voice cue.

After the ridden session (I was doing my entry for the BHAA walk postal match, and she was great), my sharer Vince did some lovely liberty work with her, working on getting her to respond to the vocal cue "terr-rot!" for trot. He had her following him up and down the archery runs in both directions and stopping when he stopped. He's very novice but I saw a real improvement in his use of body language this evening, and in Coral's response to it. I think making it fun for her like that, and using vocal cues definitely seems to be the way to go.

And I think the more she starts to focus on her rider, and less on what's going on around her, the less she'll get 'stuck' too. Great fun. Actually felt like I ride better this evening and had a more responsive pony as a result. There's still work to do, but we're getting there. :thumbup:
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Re: Acceptable pressure?

Postby Trudi » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:33 am

I fully agree with you wanting to get her light and listening- great work so far :thumbup:
Somebody on FB the other day had an analogy for even relatively gentle pressure and release- she suggested it was like a pair of uncomfortable shoes that you'd rather not put on, eventually there is a reluctance to wear them until they eventually languish at the back of the wardrobe.
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Re: Acceptable pressure?

Postby nicxf » Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:54 pm

Good analogy!
Some nice soft leading work today - although she clearly wasn't too happy about being taken down to the yard away from her friends, and the tractor passing to and fro with big bales of hay, she managed to keep her brave pants in place and held it together. I was careful to keep the contact on the rope halter as light as possible, using my voice to help calm her. And treats when the tractor went past. She was very good and although she thought about barging past me a couple of times she changed her mind and did well, mostly leading very softly as I tried to make sure the rope stayed slack. I wasn't entirely sure it was a positive experience for her but I was impressed at the level of self control she had given that she was clearly not too happy.
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Re: Acceptable pressure?

Postby Trudi » Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:44 pm

Sounds like she's doing really well!
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Re: Acceptable pressure?

Postby littlewhitehorse » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:09 pm

Sounds like you are making good steady progress, and exactly what I was suggesting, building up the relationship :-D Like the Less is More, and you're taking the time it takes :thumbup: and sometimes you have to wait much longer for a response, something to play with (setting it up, what you want, and just waiting until they find the answer) :-D
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Re: Acceptable pressure?

Postby nicxf » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:48 pm

Good lesson with Ellen Cochrane, my instructor today. Although I wasn't riding - put sharer Vince up as I wasn't feeling great - it was interesting to watch, and to see Ellen take over from Vince and do some work from on board. She's given us some exercises to work on so I'm hoping I'll be riding fit tomorrow! :)
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