Oh my sweet man...I literally am in love with this handsome boy.
We worked out in the big field on the lunge and he was 100% on point and honest.
Took a stroll down the road...
Ate some tall grasses
All reward for him. He did so so well in our second part of our conversation...
Laz and I had a follow up lesson with our Parelli trainer on Tuesday evening.
We started on the ground and ended up riding it out.
The goal was to create patterns and get forward movement.
Laz (thankfully) demonstrated what I was having a hard time with; him wanting to listen to my request to move forward, away from his herd mate.
My trainer had me work on keeping his nose tipped (not yanked in) towards me on the ground. She had me ask for a forward trot and/or canter and if he didn't respond to slooowly and loosely use my stick to show him my ask, by a slow and exaggerate way of circling my arm behind me and forward, ending with the stick pointing at him. It worked. It gave him fair time to see my action and make the choice himself to go forward. I got a lot of snorting, and breathing out from him which was great.
We decided it was time to saddle up. I also rode him in my new bridle and D ring snaffle bit to make sure my trainer thought he looked calm/comfie in it for when/if I want to use it vs his bitless. I'm not giving up on bitless, just adding to my options. I'll use all in rotation as I feel I need it.
He did great in the bridle/bit.
So, when we started, he did hesitate on my ask for him to walk out of pasture and toward the grassy side of the road, and then did his complete stop and turn back, in our ride. So instead of leg/leg/leg, my trainer followed along side with my stick. Laz does not, nor should he fear my stick. It's used as guidance and for happy rubs as reward. So she lightly bumped (note--no whipping) his hind to encourage forward, as I concentrated on looking WHERE I wanted to go--focus and ask with my leg and body. When he went forward, we released any asking pressure, and when we got to our spot, we stopped and gave him rewards with rest, grazing. We worked on spot to spot riding, which was about the distance of half of his large pasture. I rode from a grassy spot to my neighbors mailbox (no mailboxes were harmed) and back. The exercise was to make the mailbox which was the spot furthest from the barn and his calling buddy, the reward. We would then trot, or allow him to canter if he kept his cool back to the grassy spot, turn right away and come right back to mailbox. Rest/reward. We did that about 5 times and then called it a day. It's all about ending on a great note. She had me dismount at the mailbox and pet/praise him and then we walked back to the barn together.
I was so pleased. I will be working on this more and more.
A funny thing, today when I drove to the barn, I approached the road mailbox that we did break...and the guy was out there fixing it. I pulled over and told him I was the girl who left him the note and how sorry I was. He was SO kind and said he totally appreciated that I was honest and he often enjoyed watching me, Laz and Mason amble down the road. He was shocked that my normally plodding pony ripped on his mailbox. I laughed and said I was as well. I offered again to pay for any new materials and he said it was an easy fix and no harm for a couple of new screws.
Hopefully no more mailbox murders in our future.