dancing_crow: (penny)
exercise: 3 miles (got my 5K, YAY) ran 2 of it, plus lots of arms
horses: Penny and Ruby
fabric: yes, sort of

Painful running. I have the breath for it, but it feels like my legs are going to fall off. BUT - I made it to 3 miles total, and all I have to do now is increase the running part, and decrease the legs falling off part.

Made it to see the girls, got Penny first (Ruby really worries that I won't play with her and give her peppermints and cookies) and we did a lot of bending to the right. She resists on the right and won't fill the left rein. So I tried to be lighter, and use more leg to get her OVER. With a lot of release when it went right. Some of it goes much better. We hopped over a couple small fences. I think she'll be fine in a small combined test, depending on the scary quotient of the fences. She is lumpy and disorganized. Some of it is being 5, some of it is being large and hard to move around. I had a big gelding form Canada growing up, said to be Perch/TB cross but he looked exactly like Penny, and he moved the same way, until he was really fit. So clearly I have fitting up ahead of me. Maybe that will get her some withers too.

I rode Ruby bareback, working on basics; walk, trot, whoa, less hand, more seat, think about bending, put your face in the bridle and go forward. She is squirmy and bouncy and interested in eeeeverything and stops suddenly. All of this is fixable, because she is so dang Happy! When we were done, I pulled her bridle off and we did some free stuff with the clicker.

I am stunned by how fast the clickering goes, both for Ruby and Penny with the mounting and dismounting issues. Getting a small change comes quick, and refining is seems much easier. I was thinking of how to get Ruby to step up onto something, and we couldn't get there, so I made it smaller, and easier. I found a piece of plywood, and got her two front feet onto it, three or four tries, and Bingo, she has that. We are still hammering in the ones we've been working on - picking up feet with a tap, follow the target with me on either side, walking and trotting, touch the target EVERYWHERE; up, down, at her hooves, on either flank, near her tail (pretzel pony!). We run through those every day.

and now, done. Thank you very much.

And happy April Fools, sorry I got nuthin', because I love the theory.



dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
I've been humming that line in my head for two days and only now realized it isn't right. The Who - Magic Bus; "hope I die before I get old" but really I don't, I'd prefer to live to be very old and active and then die fast and relatively painless. I do however hope the rings dries out before it gets cold or there will be ice bumps in it and I won't be able to ride til it thaws again.

I got completely sidetracked onto clicker training research because I want to make teach little Ruby some tricks. So I have ordered some books from Karen Pryor (whose book Lads Before the Wind I read looong long ago when it first came out and also read her father's book written when he was visiting her: Philip Wylie's The Spy Who Spoke Porpoise) that were written by Alexandra Kurland. I mentioned it to Leonor and she left me a copy of the book and a clicker to play with today, until my stuff comes in.

So I rode Kaboose and she seemed tight and cold for most of it. We did best when I stopped trying to practice sitting the trot and focused on getting her forward but not fast. I have decided to adopt Hannah's criteria for any particular ride; is the horse better at the end than she was at the beginning? If yes, then it has to be a net win. So we trotted a lot, and worked on longer and stretchier and bendier while trotting.

I rode Ruby for about 15 minutes bareback, trying to just whisper the things I wanted to do. I was struck by something Casa Corona said about her young horse, that was echoed in the comments. She said if she tried to Ride him for a circle or a serpentine, he couldn't seem to hear it, but if she just thought about it, and laid out the track in her mind very clearly, it worked very well. She says he is sensitive, and he over reacts to light aids. Two commenters agreed that their young horses had had similar issues, although one noted that as her horse aged he got more used to the aids and understood better the degrees of delicacy for more advanced school figures. It seems counterintuitive to use less aids for a young horse. It seems like they'd need big simple (and maybe loud) aids to begin with and then they should get refined. But I tried using much quieter aids with Ruby instead of noisier ones, and it seems to be helping a good deal. So I'll go with what works, and philosophize at leisure.

I concluded with 5 minutes of clicker training for everyone. Kaboose seemed to get it instantly, although she may have been just curious about the vetwrapped soda bottle on a stick. Penny dimly remembered something like this in her past, back when she was little (she reminds me of a 14 or 15 year old kid - very much working on adulthood). Ruby wanted to do her best trick ("Bow") and get more carrot parts for it. The soda bottle was just between her and the carrot giver.

this should be fun

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