Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 65-72: Ground driving

Monday- after my failed attempt to ride the day before I decided I needed to expand Ravens comfort zone and increase his confidence. Up to now Raven is only confident with me in front of him and just tolerates me by his shoulder and squirts forward any time I am further back then that. Keeping in mind his huge personal space bubble, I have been having a hard time coming up with a way to increase his confidence about things behind him. I decided to introduce two line ground driving. This would put me behind the saddle but far enough out of Raven's personal space that it will hopefully not push to many of his buttons.

I started this in the round pen on Monday and Tuesday. At first I introduced the idea of the long line wrapping around his back side and having him follow a feel and untangle himself. As expected this was challenging to him because it required him to move in a way that would have me start in his left eye and end in his right eye. For a split second he would have to take one eye off of me and change me to his other eye. As I expected he was resistant to follow the feel of the rope and once he would follow it, he would squirt around until I was back in front of his nose. Once he got better with this I then got him to accept having one line on either side of him. Working in the round pen I was able to introduce the concept of going forward while standing off to his side while working a circle. Raven was unsure at first but finally got the idea. There were a couple of times he would try to escape fore ward and was caught by surprise when he got to the end of my two lines. By the second day of playing with this I started playing with changing directions. Again the act of going from his right eye to his left through his backside would instantly put Raven into flight mode for a moment. We worked until this got better, slowing it down when I needed to.

So many times so far Raven has caused me to scratch my head. He picked up on The two line driving very quickly. On Wednesday I took him out to the enchanted forest where Raven powered through the curtains, tarp, and bridge ... no problem. On Friday I walked Raven past the pedestal that he has never seen and asked him to stand on it and he hopped right up! I then went to the trailers and had Raven walking on and backing off on his third try. So I ask myself, "How can I have this level of communication with this horse and and still can't get him to understand that having me on top of him was not going to hurt him?"

By Sunday we were working in the large arena, walking, trotting, cantering, stopping and backing in the lunging cavasin. I figured if I can not ride him yet, I will ride him from the ground! He really picked up quickly on voice cues for trot, canter and stop. Steering was getting pretty good as well.

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