Recently Aimee spoke about author Mark Rashid which prompted me to look him up. I've since read two of his books and really enjoyed them. The second one I read was titled Whole Heart, Whole Horse. In his words, "If we understand that horses can't separate the way they feel from the way they act, then we can start to see that unwanted behavior isn't bad behavior at all. More times than not, it's just the horse expressing the way he feels at that particular moment in time. . . .How we perceive that information dictates how we respond to it."
Yesterday I was tempted to be a little frustrated that she was so worried about everything outside of the arena. She has decided that one corner in particular is quite scary even though I can lead and lunge her down there with out an issue. As soon as I get on her back it's a totally different story. When I felt myself getting irritated I switched my thought process from "she's being bad" to "she's providing me with information."
I gave her projects to work on and continued to tell her what a good girl she was as we worked our way around the arena. When it was time for a break I let her stand rather than walking. This is something JW recommended as a good way to offer a break when walking on a loose rein may not be the best plan. Emi does like to whoa so she was pretty happy to stand for a couple minutes. She started with her head high but slowly relaxed, dropping her head while I scratched her neck and talked to her. What could have turned in to a bad ride didn't, because of a change in thought process.
Realistically this spunky, forward and slightly spooky pony is going to make a better dressage horse than the lazy pony I started this summer....it's just going to take a little getting used to. It's also a little bit harder with where we are at in our training because I don't have a lot of extra tools to get her working with me, she's just too green. That being said, the connection is getting better almost every time I ride her. I was excited to notice that I had moments of really nice outside rein contact since she was happily moving forward. Slowly but surely we are making progress and I know that this too shall pass.
|Let's face it, it's hard to be too irritated when you are looking at a face like that.|