September 15th, 2015: Over the Box

I was going to practice trailer loading today, but the trailer was otherwise occupied so we settled on playing with the “pedestal”—a big wooden box about 3’x3’ and a foot high—instead. We did a little bit of yielding the hind and reaching the front across to warm up, and then I asked her to walk over the pedestal. She walked right up to it, sniffed it for a second, and then just put one foot on it. Within a few seconds she calmly put both front feet on the box and got lots of pets. I asked her to back off of it and she did so without a problem. She was just as calm about stepping up on the other side. I then asked her to walk all the way over it from both directions, which she did with ease. She was slow and careful with her feet, and not bothered at all. I got a short video to prove how well she did! After that, we saddled up, worked a little more on the hindquarters from the ground, and then I hopped on. I started with some short serpentines, which are coming along very nicely—she is staying very balanced and soft throughout the majority of the exercise. We also worked on the exercise called the “two-two-two” where we walk a balanced ~15m circle, then yield the hind out of the circle two steps, go straight into backing two steps, then reach the shoulders two steps so we are facing the opposite direction. When I first started this exercise with her a few weeks ago, Jewel was extremely braced and “stuck” in her feet. We still have a lot of work to do in order to make this exercise soft and fluid, but this time was much better and she was trying really hard for me. I also had her move out at the walk, trot, and canter around the round pen. She does such a good job of following my seat—all I have to do to get her to trot is to put more energy into my seat, and to stop I just lower my energy level. We also did some changing directions at the trot across the center of the round pen and she was really following my seat position and reaching her shoulders in with just a subtle cue. She did so well with this that I decided to call it a day and end on that good note.