Saturday, September 18, 2010

WOW!!! What A Fun Day!!!

I'm so proud of my "pony boy" Renegade!! We did an obstacle challenge today that was a benefit for an equine rescue and had a super day. This was our first attempt at an obstacle challenge and I think we did really well; we scored 49 out of 70 points. The thing I'm most proud of is that I didn't sacrifice principles for purpose. When Renegade had difficulty with the first two obstacles because of the sprinklers involved, I patiently worked him through his thresholds until we could complete the obstacle. Of course, that meant we took longer than the alloted time but I didn't blow my horse up and we completed the obstacle with confidence which set us up for success for the rest of the course. Our confidence increased, our communication got better, and our scores increased as we completed each obstacle.

I am pondering what a judge at one of the sprinkler obstacles told me: that Renegade was outright refusing, he wasn't scared, and I needed to "put more leg on him" to make him go. I believe that would have been the absolutely wrong thing to was our first obstacle, he was having doubts, his head was up, I could feel tension in his body, he was trying to look at everything with "both sides of his brain", and he was backing up very quickly - that speaks unconfidence to me. I allowed him the time to look (from a distance he deemed safe), feel confident, and proceed when he was relaxed. Had I pushed him at that point to force him through the obstacle, I believe the remainder of our course would have been a repeat of the first obstacle - having to force him through each one. The one thing I want to avoid with my horse is a battle of any kind or to force him to do something...neither one of us wins that way.

The other thing I need to mention is it was a very busy day at the venue: new place, lots of traffic, lots of horses, lots of activity, ATV's, and of course all the obstacles with all the "strange" stuff. I gave Renegade the benefit of the doubt since we'd never been in such a "active" environment. I think he handled himself very well!!!

I put principles to purpose today but didn't throw out the principles just to get a job done. I'm proud of myself for that and my horse came away being relaxed, confident, and willing!! I'd call that a very successful day!!!!!!!!!!!!

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