I really do try and update every week…

…but things have been hectic! The weather this past few weeks has been quite mad. High winds, heavy rain and generally storm conditions means we haven’t been doing as much as we might like. Good news: he’s put on some weight. They’ve got hay in the field now and he’s still getting a pile in his stable so that seems to have turned the corner *phew*. He’s a couple of months into the new supplements which is too early to tell really whether it’s making a difference but it’s all going into the pony which is a good start.

We have been riding a bit! Here we are in a very high wind (his mane is usually on the left of his neck…) which he didn’t much like but he seems comfortable in his feet and isn’t moving too badly.

We’ve also been doing lots of clicker and agility. Judith was in London so we had a lesson a few weeks back and started working on flags. He was so good! We were concentrating on a few things:

  • Making sure I give him the treat in front of him and not to his side
  • Treating more often! This was something I needed to work on before
  • Using multiple clicks, partly to help manage his anticipation and help prevent him getting too ‘high energy’ (he gets quite excited about clicker)
  • Reinforcing quietly standing, without waving his front legs around. This is a really ingrained habit he has and Judith thinks he almost doesn’t understand he’s doing it. It’s simply a reflex, which makes it really hard to stop. We need to focus on clicking for calm relaxation and think about whether to introduce a cue for standing with both feet on the ground. Still thinking about this!

We’re getting good at targeting flags now! I missed the second video competition deadline but I’m hopeful we’ll get something in for the March/April one.

I’ve also been continuing my own work on my riding with Sue and Douglas the simulator. We had a good session this weekend. I allowed to ride in the ‘school’ (so I could make the horse go where I wanted on the screen, rather than being in ‘training’ mode – hard to explain!). The takeaway points from this were:

  • I need to focus on not blocking the head movement with my shoulders. I need to think about them being relaxed and widened, tucking my chin in and letting the weight fall into my elbows
  • For turning I need to think about my shoulders to his shoulders, my hips to his hips (she said this several times and every time all I could think it ‘my mind to your mind’ from Star Trek) So if I turn my shoulders the rest of my body should naturally do what it needs to to turn the horse – my hips will follow and then his hips too.
  • Overall she thinks I’m improving though which is good! I wish I could have actual lessons with her on Dino!!

Hopefully the weather will be a bit more sane now, the schools will dry out and we can make some progress. I’m really looking forward to getting started with the Connection Training Groundwork Course. I’ve done the theory bit and the rest of the course is really well put together so I’m excited to get going! I shall try to update more often.

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