Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Catlow's turn

I rode Catlow this evening after working on physics most of the day. I took her down to the arena for her first saddled ride of the season. First I let her run around without a leadrope and get used to it, then I tried to get her to pay attention to me, so I spent time putting pressure on her when she was evading me and trying to draw her to me when she'd face up. It worked, but the slightest provocation and she'd be off flying around again. I think I should work with her a lot more. She definitely would rather not be with me, which is so different than working with Chico. I think Catlow is with me because she has to, but generally, Chico is with me because he wants to. She does find relief when she does finally get with me, but I think she doesn't completely understand differences in my body language. I'll have to work to be more clear with her. She doesn't always get when I'm asking her to just stand and relax while I do something stressful (like swinging the rope while looking away or ignoring her) versus when I am actually asking her to move off (direct energy toward her by facing her head on an advancing while swinging the rope). I think she focuses more on the rope stuff than on me.

I let her air up for a bit then rode her around at a walk, trot and canter. While trotting, I tried to get her to make nice circles in the corners of the arena. This is only the second time I've worked with her in an arena, so of course, her circles were not great, and she was distracted because she could see her herdmates on the opposite hill.

Here are pictures of us trotting (my dad was watching). Catlow looks nice, but please don't make fun of my riding form! I know it's no where near perfect, but it works!

While cantering, I just let her go wherever, but I wanted her to keep up a steady cadenced canter. She did get a large circle going on after a while and quit trying to change direction in odd places. By then she was pretty tired because we had been at it for a while, so I walked around, did backing and sidepassing, then took off and rode her around our property on the trails in the woods. She was nervous out there by herself, but she wasn't too bad. We trotted and cantered and she was a bit more relaxed toward the end. She always obeys my requests when she's nervous, but sometimes I have to ask twice or redirect her attention because she gets so concerned with which way is back toward the barn.

After I got back, I put her cooler on and hand grazed her in the field for quite a while. Then my dad and I talked about where to string the fence to extend their pasture. We'll probably get to it in a few weeks. I might wait until the grass has grown in long before I turn them onto the pasture. And I'll probably have to do it slowly. Once the weather warms up a bit more, the grass in their pasture will really start to grow and they won't be able to crop it down so short. Right now, they are eating it as fast as it grows.


Linda said...

Is that your outdoor arena? Is that sand as footing? I want to build one here.

It seems like she sure is doing good for you! Your training sounds very solid.

And your form looks great! What are you talking about?!?

Kara said...

That is the arena that my neighbors built right next door. The footing is sand, and what he did was just leveled out the ground over a natural sandy he didn't truck any of that in, it was already there. Then put up his fence around it. Because it's all natural footing, we do pick rocks out of there occasionally, and there is one corner that is super boggy and another corner that is firmer than the rest. But it works great! And it is so nice to have an enclosed area to practice circles. I've done it in fields before but the tendancy to leak out toward home is so strong there! Here you can use the fence as a guide.

I don't lessons I've been yelled at for dropping my shoulder when I signal a turn and it appears that I'm grabbing with my heels to keep her trotting in the one picture making my heels come way up out of position...shouldn't I be able to cue without doing that? I guess I'm just critical without really knowing what I should be critical about. I'd love to take more lessons, but I'm not sure there is anyone I'd like near us. We're kinda rural and most of the trainers are down near Madison.