Recapping through the past week, has me at this new point in getting to know Reason.
The thoughts run through my head constantly. How comfortable, relaxed and always positive it is whenever I am around Reason. There are no frustrations, there are no regrets. A bowed tendon is far from a setback. His bowed tendon, as Reason’s second mom (F*, who brought Reason into my life ;)) would tell me, it will give me a chance to really get to know him and spend the time with him that will only make our relationship that much better when we do get to riding. I have/had no doubts in F*’s wise words of wisdom. But I am seeing them come near full circle.
Last night, as the sun was set and the darkness filled all around us, Reason and I “discussed” his problem of not wanting to move forward. (Am I worried about this crossing over to under saddle? No. Not just because all he knows “under saddle” is to run, but because he wants to go forward. Just not always in the way I want him to.) Part of my learning experience is to let Reason be my teacher. There is always a broad means of communication tools to teach a horse, but each horse requires sometimes, detailed differences in which “tools” and how these tools are used. That’s when the horse comes into play. For the most part I’m listening, doing, listening, doing, evaluating, observing, etc.
Last night I played on Reason’s knowledge of how to dis-engage his haunches. (Requiring little pressure, most of the time just pointing at, or in the direction of his haunches gets the job done). As I used pressure to push his haunches, I cued him forward using the lead rope, guiding him straight in the direction I desired his feet to go. If he stepped one hoof forward I stopped everything and rewarded him. And with that, he was getting the point of moving forward!! I was able to point the crop to the back of his haunch, and he’d step forward.
The Triangle Idea… I was walking in a triangle once he began to move consistently forward later on. I held the rope, which made up one large side of the triangle and positioned the crop in the direction of the haunches, making up the other half of the triangle. I of course was the point and Reason was the base. Secure, connected, direct, lines of communication!
This Reminds Me.. It made me think, the idea of the triangle. Years ago I remember hearing about the “pyramid of pressure” if you will. I can’t remember who I heard this from. Basically you always want to start with the lightest pressure possible. We want our horses to always be soft and sensitive to our requests. Slowly, we increase the pressure (from base of the triangle, the broadest point, lightest pressure, to the top, the most directed point, the highest degree of pressure) until we get the desired response.
My thought is that you should always seek the lightest, softest means of communicating. Loud, abrasive cues will only dull the horse and therefore make them almost unresponsive to cues in the end and distant to the rider/handler.
Tonight I spent a quiet, relaxed while brushing Reason and a feeling of security swept over me. A feeling of goodness. I am becoming so trusting of Reason (and he seems very trusting of me as well) that I think the possibilities will be endless. I am excited to keep going. These little (or big) rays of light are truly special and what it’s all about!!