I also used Easyboots for the first time today, on all 4, and he went a lot better than he did yesterday. He was toe-stepping for the first time in his life. I think having shoes on set us back. Unfortunately he's right between sizes for Easyboots - 2's are too big and 1's are too small. Irritating. But for our purposes today the 2's worked.
We had the opportunity to go to another one of the group lessons, and it was a lot of fun. I think I really need this. I hope we can make our schedules match at least some of the time.
My notes for today:
Groundwork at liberty:
- Need to be able to turn to the outside or inside (I've taught him to only turn to the inside). Need to make my cues for each type of turn more obviously different. It's kinda hard working in a round pen that's bigger than what I'm used to. (Excuses, excuses)
- SPANK HIM when he's bad. He kicked out at me today as I was sending him off in the round pen. The trainer said, "He'd love to kick you right now" and I disagree with that. If he wanted to kick me, he has plenty of opportunity every day to do that. He's flipping me off, not punching me in the face. But either way, it's rude and not the kind of relationship I want to build. So I need to REALLY get after him when he shows attitude, every time. This could lead to more of a can-do attitude instead of the "Jeez, this is boring and I hate it," look.
- Speed it up, expect more, and expect it NOW. (Same theme as last time)
- On the line, we did some prep work for our later riding work - turns on the haunches. We were working on our "send." We'd back the horse, and if we're sending to the left (my left, Scout's right) we'd lift the lead (direct rein) as the horse's right foot was leaving the ground, making it easier for them to move in that direction. Both ways, of course. He did it, but we need to do more homework on this one. He's so lazy, I need to get some life in him to make it go better. (Same theme as always)
- Walk, trot, turn on haunches into the fence (this is where the liberty work turning into the fence will pay off). Leave the turn at the same gait you went into it (hah! - again, more homework). To turn on the haunches into the fence to the right, direct rein with the right rein, follow with an indirect left rein and a push of the left leg. Trot off in the new direction. I'm not totally sure about that indirect rein though... Maybe I made that part up.
- We did some serpentines, way more complicated than I've done before. All my appendages are attached to Scout's appendages and my legs got tired and I'm not sure we got anywhere... The idea was to have all 4 legs equally reaching through the turns. My direct rein moved his inside front leg, indirect rein lightly and my outside leg pushing at the front of the girth to drive his outside front , and my inside leg back, pushing his hind end out. Something like that, anyway. That's not much to remember is it? And then to feel whether it's going right? Gah! They worked on this last week so didn't spend much time on it today. That's what I get for being behind.
- Turn on the haunches starts by backing, and I need to get Scout backing with his face vertical, not behind the bit. Basically it's the same as what we did on the ground - back, then direct rein to the side as that leg is leaving the ground. Then, building on that, push the outside leg to push his outside leg over. Then, building on that, take another step back and repeat. Eventually we would be just rocking back between steps rather than backing again.
Tonight I got Tonka out and did some of the groundwork with him. It was really nice to see that his muscles aren't all bound up and he's moving pretty freely right now. He's a good boy. I wouldn't mind taking him for a ride, even if it's only for a few minutes. I'll see how he feels over the next couple days.