I hope this gives you a new perspective and empowers you to up the anti on the Figure 8 Pattern with your horse!
LATE NIGHT REFLECTIONS OF AN AWESOME DAY:
I just returned from a “launch party” for dressage rider and Para-Olympian, Lauren Barwick.
I first met Lauren in 2009 while studying with Pat Parelli in Pagosa Springs, CO. This was just one year after Lauren won gold & silver in Beijing with her beautiful mare, Maile. There was no time wasted for Lauren! She had hitched herself to Pat and was gearing up for the next Olympic games.
For over a decade Valhalla Farm and Herwig Radnetter, of the Spanish Riding School, have been in cahoots. I never got the exact story of how the two came together, however, it was reasoned that this distinguished teacher has been making his way across the Atlantic to Wellborn, FL for the past sixteen years!
For today, let me tell you about three super star babies who have turned into “real horses”!
I have been having so much fun with Lana! If I could assign her a Valhalla team award it would be “most improved player”. She has come such a long way since I started with her in December and has shown the biggest shift from extreme to centered.
When I first started with her she had the least handling, and, due to her extroverted nature, was very pushy/impulsive. Now, she is grounded, thoughtful and so connected.
We have been beginning to play at liberty and I had Jerome document our initial introduction.
It has been too long since I sent updates on the “babies” here at Valhalla Farm, so forgive me for the gap! The lull in cyberspace is not a reflection of our real life happenings. The babies are all doing great and working hard to become big fancy dressage horses:)
DAY 20: Lana has had five days off…
We started back in the round pen and revisited her hindquarter and forequarter yields, as well as her ability to transition between gaits on the circling game. The past couple of rides she has shown opposition in both the halt and back up. This is completely understandable as she is an EXTROVERT and those aids can cause her to feel trapped. With this awareness I have been finding creative ways to use the squeeze game where pressure is added in front of her (zone 1).
Lamarck is doing really well! Like the others, I can see him maturing and becoming more and more confident as a learner each and every session. He is much less reactive and feels like he is settling into my leadership and the dynamics of our relationship.
DAY 20: Lamarck has had four days off. Regardless, we went right back to it and proceeded with our grooming and saddling in the barn. It was glorious outside so we played in the sunny pasture on the 22’ line. This is not a field we have played in before. So, I began with the touch it game and allowed him to become accustomed to the new place. Once he was calm we played with our sideways game along he fence and then I used the trees to reinforce his ability to “follow a feel”. The biggest hole I feel with Lamarck is his brace in Zone 1 (hi nose/mouth) and thoughts to have opposition reflex when pressure is applied here.
Once we picked up the trot he began to blow out immediately and was more connected to the pattern. This is day 3! His halts where dead on in the center and I really felt like he connected to the sweet spot. There was one time that he blew past the center but instead of pulling on his face I just backed him up the 10 or so feet until we were in the center of the cones.
BELOW YOU CAN SEE DASHING AND I RIDING THE CLOVERLEAF PATTERN
Week four was a total fudge on my part and I did not journal AT ALL! So, I am going to give you an overview instead of a step by step on each of the horse’s progress all in one post. Like I said before, I am hoping and planning to do more videos each week! As you can imagine, this takes a lot of time and effort, not just from me but from my amazing husband/camera man/web designer & supporter in all things.