I've been playing with the things I learned in the workshop on liberty circles and change of direction with Jerry Williams and the new strategies are paying off! We've gone back online to fix a few things and Renegade is giving me some really nice canter circles, 4 - 5 laps worth although he's doing it with a bit of an attitude. I can just hear him thinking "fine...you want canter circles, I'll give you canter circles" while sticking his tongue out at me lol!! Right now the goal is canter circles and increasing the number of laps; we'll work on attitude later. I want to be particular without being critical so I'll accept the circles even if he's giving me attitude for now...it's all about rewarding the try for now and sticking with it long enough to make/see a change.
I've also noticed, when cantering circles, Renegade tends to change leads about every 5 strides. I'm trying to work out if he's just trying to figure out how to carry himself comfortably or is it something I'm doing that's causing the lead changes?
Backing by the tail is really getting nice and light now and we're actually getting some speed to our back up. Renegade is staying straighter as well unless I go just a little to fast for him. I need to remember to speed it up a little at a time and not try for too much too soon!!
On the weekends when I have more time and can actually ride, we've been playing with patterns and I think Renegade really likes the bow tie pattern. He is actually eager to go into the canter after coming around the barrel (or in our case, a cone). I'm trying to work on figure 8's, weaves, large and small circles, corner to corner, upward and downward transitions, and trying to get a reliable stop off my seat. I've been riding in a western saddle but recently changed the gullet in my english saddle (the wide was too wide and the saddle tipped forward). The saddle fits much better now and stays in place so I'm going to be using it more often now. It's a change for both of us but it seems to be going well so far.
I'm getting a more reliable stick to me canter now, especially when going to the left, still working on going to the right but we'll get there!! 6. It's taken us a while to get to this point but we've had fun getting here. I can't wait until we can canter together long enough to help us both get more fit!!
Even though I'm working extra hours at work, I gave up some time on Facebook and Twitter to make more horse time!! I play with Renegade when I can and make every effort to squeeze out some time every day even if it's only 15 minutes. I focus on doing simple tasks with excellence and refining everything we do. We are actually making some good progress even though most sessions are short. I had set a goal of filming and submitting my L3 Online and L3 Liberty auditions by May. I'm not sure I'll actually meet that time line but we're continuing to make progress and that's what counts. I can't wait for work to slow down a bit so I can have more horse time!!!!!
Time, time, time...is the biggest factor but I try to make the most of the time I do have. I ask for alot,
accept a little, and reward often and it seems to be working; we are making progress a little at a time
and that is what is important. Interestingly it seems, the less time I spend doing things with Renegade, the more I want to make it count, the more I pay attention to all the little things and look for "good" times to stop our sessions. It seems to be working and Renegade as he's more eager to meet me at the gate in the evenings, puts more effort into things we're working on, and is less likely to leave me if given the chance (at liberty).