Oh summer pony...love this picture from the summer where he's happy, calm and stretchy.
Anyway, lately I've been wanting to meet our new challenges of growth head on. I don't want to ignore or let the 'scary' parts of where we lack, intimidate me. Last week, we had some great rides and some that he showed lack of confidence and spooked and feared things. That in turn of course, rocks my confidence and then I feel I'm failing my boy.
So, on Tuesday, I was talking to my BO and was telling her my frustration in where we are. I feel and know there is a disconnect in our training sometimes where we are stuck and Laz is showing me his concern and frustration because I've reached certain limits with him. So, she offered to help us. It was nice to have her watch us ride and give us pointers and things for me to fix (support, proper leg, rein, etc) and wouldn't you know it...Laz started calming down and working better. Good boy! It was a HUGE relief for me, knowing it's me and not him. Still lots to work on, which we'll continue but we love constantly learning and it will build our trust together, and skill!
Today, we had our first Parelli lesson which went great. The instructor was around my age, very sweet and had a strong yet calming demeanor about her. Laz was mouthing her and she said she too loves mouthy geldings...shows confidence and play, yea! :)
She walked us through the beginning games, which like many other natural horsemanship training is all about small askings, and rewarding, your safety and communication with your horse as a partner.
It was cool. I wanted help with Laz was he's being defiant, or scared in which he RUNS/bolts, space respect, etc. She helped me tweak some body language and how to ask for certain things properly. There were issues with me (see a trend) acting too much like a predator and/or in his face too much. Ha, and I'm the one always coddling him...or so I thought.
She also told me that I can ask for his crazy behavior (referred to when he's being a right brain extrovert) to be much more controlled and over time he will be less aggressive and big with that behavior, and the time frame he may need to be frantic will lessen as well. We worked on that, and when I asked for him (on the ground) to lead in figure 8's, he immediately went to this panicky, scared state and started bucking and throwing out his front legs, and started racing racing racing racing. So I said to her..."Ok, here's where i get scared of him." and she gently encouraged me with literally telling me what to do instead of just taking over. She had me match his energy which was a "right..DUH" moment for me. Why I never thought of that is beyond me...but it makes sense. When he got big, fast and crazy it caused me to shrink back. Now, when I matched his energy and stood up and moved my feet faster and asked stronger, Laz was like "OH you are still here...ok, THANK YOU..where were you when I needed you!!?" and it took about 10 turns for him to calm down. During that exercise, he was sweaty and it was a surge of anxiety in him. After, he was licking and calm. She said those figure 8's are our homework and will eventually be what I can ask him to do, the next time he panics...ie the day that foal walked by, or any certain issue that may arise. It will help him focus when he's scared and be his cue to calm down. Hopefully ;)
Overall, it was a great two hours...I learned a lot and look forward to the next time, in a couple of months. In the meantime, I'll practice what I learned and see how it hopefully helps us....and me, because it's not him. His acting up is his way of saying "what the hell are you asking me?" Laz is awesome. Even the Parelli trainer said, he'll be so fun to learn with because he's a fast learner and eager.
And...a HAPPY 27th Bday to my beautiful, talented, soul connected SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She was born on 11/11/83 (which you add up 8+3 to get what...yes, 11)
Next year will be 11/11/11...COOL right!!!!
She's the best..I love you!
Kisses and Hugs from Detroit to Cape town......xo