Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Power steering

Tonight I expanded the round pen, using the panels to enclose a little less than half the arena. This gave me a little more room to lunge Sage, and this time I used a lunge line and everything. She was very good! It's a little distracting because Chinook gets upset when I lunge her, even if it's only for two laps each way--which is, I assure you, the most she ever really does. That's because I don't like to have her going in circles for too long, but I do find it quite useful to let her move out on a lunge line and really learn verbal commands.

I rode her for about 15 minutes, trying to combine forward motion (which is still hard to find) with a little bit of steering. What would be best is if someone could lunge her while I ride, but since we don't have that, I think we're doing pretty well. She still does have trouble moving forward, but she's about twice as responsive as she used to be. And she did kind of steer, though it was a little complicated for her to put together two different commands, such as "go forward AND go right." I quit once I got her to walk away from the other horses and stand quietly at the far end of the arena.

I'm going to try to keep riding almost every day, and I'm going to try to add some time to our rides. We're moving slowly, but I think that is okay. When you look at horse training as a whole, the idea is very overwhelming. How do I get this horse from never having seen a saddle to striding out confidently on the trail with a rider? One step at a time. Each time you add one more new thing, and all the old things you repeat over and over again just get so much easier. I no longer hesitate when I swing up into the saddle, and I definitely did last week! It may take a while, but we'll get there...slowly!

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