Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Griffin: Current Goals and Progress

On the lunge/at liberty/Fauxssoa we are focusing on:
1. Promptness with transitions and turns
2. Establishing a steady and even pace that is not rushed for each gait
3. Understanding voice commands for changes in gait and stopping

4. Properly using body (engaging hind end/lifting back) through gaits

Beginning foundations for:
1. Lateral movement
2. Giving to pressure on the bit in an acceptable way (e.g., not throwing head up, throwing head down, or going into a frustrated bucking fit)
3. Bowing/lying down

I also think it bears mentioning that when I say "I round penned him," I don't mean that I am running his ass wild around the round pen until he "submits". I use "round pen" as a verb only because I'm working within the round pen. Its a safe place for me to free lunge him. He loves at liberty work. It allows him to burn off that initial steam and then buckle down and focus. I find that working him at liberty accomplishes more in the first 15-20 minutes than if I had him on the lunge line. Once he's focused in on the fact that we're working, I can better transition him into work with the Fauxssoa, driving, or lunge work over jumps.

Additionally, while Griffin will do rapid inside turns at liberty/on the lunge for his changes in direction, when working with the Fauxssoa he knows that he is to be more proper about it all and do his halt on the outside of the circle and then do a stately turn to the inside in a controlled manner upon my request.


Last night I worked him at liberty for 10-15 minutes prior to Fauxssoa work. We were in the indoor round pen which makes for a really dusty atmosphere, but until we get lights for the outdoor one, its the best I can do with the early onset of darkness/my work schedule.

As a result of the dust, I stick to keeping Griffin at a trot unless he does something rude that merits a bit of faster footwork for a few moments. (Anecdote: I also wear a nose/mouth mask a la a construction worker in a dusty environment while I work him in here, haha.)

To get him focused and warm I had him move out at the trot and requested a LOT of changes in direction. I requested them in quick succession and without warning. He HAD to keep his focus on me. He also had to work a little harder.

Once his muscles were warm and I had his focus, I fetched the Fauxssoa and tacked him up in that.

He was a doll for the whole tack up process, which is a little tedious at best.

We did 15-20 minutes with the Fauxssoa at the walk and trot. He started really, really poorly. And I can't fault him as its been a solid month or more since we have done any work like this. His head was high, he was bracing a lot, and he was searching for all the potential answers to evade that contact on his mouth.

Within several minutes though he settled. He found the good answer and proceeded around the circle in a nice little frame and had his head either slightly in front of the vertical or dead on the vertical. I cooed at him about how good and smart he was to figure it out. (Ignore the dust. Focus on the cute grey pony. Also the bells, focus on the bells. They're attached to the girth.)

I called it quits after he'd had some very nice efforts in both directions at both the walk AND trot. I get SO excited watching him with the Fauxssoa on. I really hope to find this same horse under saddle some day!

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