Friday Feb 3 we had a great ground session. I turned him loose in the arena when no one was in there. This was the second time doing that and he is starting to go in the scary back corners by himself. He even followed me back there with no lead on.
We then worked a little with the 12' rope and rope halter, doing some circles, change of directions, squeeze game, sideways, figure 8's. I worked with him a lot in January and forgot to post some of it, and it is starting to pay off finally.
I found myself getting frightened a lot and had to try to stop myself from doing that. When I stood up tall and walked straight for things while trying not to worry too much, we got better. I have been watching and following a few of the Clinton Anderson methods. He is not much different than ones I already follow, but is a little more aggressive. After a few sessions of trying this way I found that I don't have to be so assertive. Cooper is very sensitive and was getting too jumpy so had to tone it down a lot.
I was having a hard time with the giving to the bit as Cooper would just race around me like a wild horse. His brain wasn't getting anything, he was going so fast. I would just raise the dressage whip and off he would go. One of the other boarders there who has gone through the Lyons training saw this and told me to try doing it at a walk with less whip. It was hard at first to get him to slow down but when he did he finally started to think, and I was getting less dizzy. It is working though, he is slowing down, listening more, and is more relaxed.
On Saturday Feb 4 after a few minutes of running around free in the arena we did some more ground work. He was very relaxed and did really well. We worked with the 12' rope and rope halter first, doing the usual exercises. I have been flexing him too, before I take him out of his stall and at the end of the each session.
After this work I tacked him all up and did some giving to the bit work. We walked all around the whole arena, he was very good in the spooky corners. He did snort and try to back away a few times but we both handled it very well. I got him to go right up to the scary things and relax his head and stand there for awhile.
He was doing so well that I decided to try riding him. He was great, we walked quietly all around the arena while another person was riding and cantering past us. I asked for a jog and he was very good. A few times he veered away from the corners and I circled him and went right past them again. I was aware not to look at him too much and at the spooky doors and corners. When I looked ahead to where we were going things went better.
I am taking today off, I'm so sore from riding and walking so much.
I have still been doing exercises through the week at work during my lunch time. I've been struggling a lot to get the last 10 minutes done of a 30 minute treadmill routine. I have to keep it up and get stronger. Looking forward to the next ride on Cooper, of course if he is ready. What's the saying? work/play with the horse that shows up.