All biologic phenomena act to adjust: there are no biologic actions other than adjustments. Adjustment is another name for Equilibrium. ~ Charles Fort

Given the cold and the rain, and the time and hassle it would be to unblanket/tack/ride/untack/reblanket wet horse, these past two days I have walked our route from arena to turnout, rather than ride. Yesterday I just led him and Salsa together from tie posts to tack trunk to lane to turnout.

Today, I left Salsa tied at his specially designed tie ring, scaled to his height, and took Rocky on the 22-foot line over to the tack trunk. I tried to drive from zone 3 or even zone 4, using the carrot stick and the line for course corrections. It’s our first time doing that, so I wasn’t too particular for either of us. I just tried hard to keep my motions less wobbly and more intense, mimicking what I learned from watching Maurice Thibault and Susan Nelson at their Bakersfield demo on Sartuday, and from Christine here at the ranch last Thursday.

In the 20 minutes or so that we practiced, I learned that I should:

  • Keep the carrot stick on my shoulder except when needing it to guide, the way I would if I were riding.
  • Let the end of the rope drag even though it’s raining and mucky.
  • Tap zone 3 if Rocky stopped, but don’t stop my feet.
  • Focus on the destination, but pick a destination that is fairly close, and give Rocky a long break once we get there.
  • Exaggerate the release; when I sank down to a squat and turned my core away from him, I could ensure a true break.

Then I pushed too hard by asking for sideways without a rail, and continuing to ask when he became tense. No horse does sullen as well as an Appy.

Most of us, however, don’t adjust when the horse adjusts – we carry on trying to accomplish a task despite the horse getting tense (losing trust) or nervous (losing calmness) or getting lazy or unwilling, and sooner or later the problem becomes impossible to ignore! ~ Linda Parelli, 2/23/2010

At least this time I figured out what I was doing wrong. I didn’t get frustrated. I did slow down and release at the weight shift, like I did in the very beginning when we were first learning sideways with a fence. I feel bad when I’m driving zone 1 or zone 4 with intent for a sideways step, while also moving the rope up and down rather vigorously to stop him from stepping forward. I’ve done this enough to know that I’m not communicating well, because he consistently attempts to walk forward. I gave him a break today and then asked again, this time ceasing all motion and sinking into a ball when he just leaned his weight as if to cross-step. After the lick-and-chew, I did the same for zone 4.

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Categories: Leadership | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “All biologic phenomena act to adjust: there are no biologic actions other than adjustments. Adjustment is another name for Equilibrium. ~ Charles Fort

  1. Nice work!

  2. Kelly Sigler (3* Instructor) had a neat way to transition from sideways on the fence to sideways off the fence. Put two barrels on the fence and use cookies to motivate the horse to find the barrel. Then just start moving the barrels off the fence. It helps the horse because he has somewhere to go and it helps the human have a clear focus and to know when the horse is leaking forward or backward. I’ve seen this used with much success. Eventually you wean off the barrels and treats but it’s a great way to get started.

    Glad to see *someone* is getting out and playing because it sure isn’t me!

    ~Lisa

  3. horsegirlonajourney

    Great strategy! I’ll give that a try!

  4. When Kelly demo’d that strategy my first thought was, “duh, how come I never thought of that!” In some ways it’s entirely too obvious.

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