|Posted by Lynn Elston on April 16, 2015 at 2:50 PM|
Today, my second chance to go out and mess with the feelings and doings that I got from my weekend with Robin Gates, I took Moon down to the arena to try the "Head Down" Uberstriken exercise as well as the tap the withers and lower the head game.
These are both halter games, so I haven't done them much at all. And, with the head down game, the past attempts I had made were all very frustrating and unsuccessful.
This time, I think I GOT it. Just like my mantra with Yogi in the pasture, my intent for this exercise became "I just want your head and my hands to move together." At first he tossed his head, up or down, didn't matter, just trying to get my thumbs off of the noseband. I stayed with him, allowing the violence of those moves to rush through me and disturb the soft waves my mantra was inviting him into. But, I stayed in the softness, inviting him into the same deliciousness. By the end of maybe ten minutes (with little walk around breaks interspersed) we had "Dancing head/hands!" I would softly swing his head left, then down, then up, then right, then pause, then left, then down...all like in waves of movement. His eyes were half- closed, his neck relaxed...my eyes were wet with tears of sheer joy!!! Wow!!
For the wither "Bonk" head down game, I used a discarded Sobe bottle as a bonker. My mantra was "I just want you to put your head down when you feel me bonking your wither." I would tap his wither and he'd move a foot forward or back, or raise one foot...not sure what that signal meant, but trying what he knew. I gave his leadline a teeny tug and his head would go down...Good boy and he'd get a treat. After a while, I realized he was putting his head down to the cue of my pointed hand or the tug, not the bonking bottle. So, I figured I'd try putting a piece of carrot on the ground and tell him No when he tried to eat it. He knows this and stood still. I bonked for a few taps and then he dived down and got his treat, and stopped the bonking. This worked pretty well for a while. Then, I quit putting the treat down on the ground under his nose and just bonked, to see if he'd gotten it. Things receded a little bit, but eventually, he dropped his head and I gave him his treat from the bowl. The last four times I tried it this way, he seemed to be getting it! We'll try this a little more next time I am with him.
Then we mixed things up and I sent him away in a big way and we cantered around, charged each other, trotted together, opened the gate together and ended up at the arena's back gate, looking out at foot high luscious green grass. Figuring, what the H___, I let us both out the gate and lost him immediately to the grass orgy! "Head Up" or calling him had ZERO effect!
Quite aware of my head voices coming at me with "See, why did you do this, NOW you're not in control, everything's ruined, blah-blah-blah!" I tried some leading from behind, which kept him moveng, but didn't do much to change his respect factor. Jeez, then I remembered how he came to me on the green grass after the "Stick" run around at Robin's event!!! So I revved it up and chased him all over that pasture, got his tail up over his butt and, wonder of wonders...he turned towards me and came boldly in to me when I asked!!! Whooo-hoo! Stayed with me, so I let us graze for a bit, then asked for Head Up, got it, and back we went into the arena...no fuss, no muss!!!
Okay, Robin, I think I'm finally getting somewhere!!!! All the little pieces that you've given me, that I've copied and practiced, are now starting to come together into a beautiful poem about MY ability to have relationship with the horses!!! I am so pleased...thank you!