Pulled Tina, Gem and Zarah out for some time tonight.
Tina: I spent time yesterday reading up and remembering all the interesting things about RBI horses. One thing I want to make sure I'm doing well is waiting! Do I always wait until she's ready for the next step? Are there times she's telling me she's not ready by not giving me 2 eyes and I'm not seeing it? Do I need to slow down more often? RBI's can be difficult horses and the beginning of something new is typically very hard for them. I went out with a renewed vision tonight and really studied her behavior and tried to listen to her intently. With the hanging obstacle, I asked her through and then I waited. She went through fairly calmly. A few more sends and she was as calm as she'll ever be. With the clippers, I turned them on and I waited. I waited for her to ask me a question or show me a new level of calmness. I tried to turn them off at precisely the right time (Timing is EVERYTHING!). Finally, she looked to me with the clippers turned on and I released by turning them off. We did it twice and I felt like that was enough. Tina teaches me to hone my skills and pay close attention.
My goal: make sure I arm her owner with as much information as possible. The beautiful thing about RBI's is that they excel in dressage! They thrive on the consistency of the patterns and they are ultra-obedient, making them fun to work with. RBI's make the best dressage horses. I'll be printing off flyers and info for her owner to take home and no doubt they'll have much success.
Gem - darn, he's so handsome in english tack! His winter coat is coming in, which is super black. He just looked so nice tacked up and he was ready to go for me. I only rode him for 20 mins or so and we played with leg yields and backing. We rocked on the teeter totter (I swear, he loves that obstacle!) and we worked on headset with different directions of hind movement. I tried to play with the 8-bends, a super useful technique for teaching isolation of the ends from the saddle. We did it all in a hack, the first time I've used a hack with him in a long time. I was surprised how soft he was with it. We are building some great things together and I'm so, so happy with him.
Z - I'm taking her to a trail competition on Sunday and I really wanted to hop on and see how she's feeling about being particular with/for me. I'm trying to do something with her about once/week, just to keep her handy. She feels the same whenever I hope on - like an old comfortable shoe. So, we just did some easy things - figure 8, over the pedestal, moving the fore and hind. Eventually Kris showed up for some Rio coaching and Z was the perfect horse to have help with that session.
Rio - we wanted to continue to evolve his relationship with Kris by exposing him to more separation from Z and leardership from Kris. It was getting dark, so she stayed on the ground for tonight and we went to the front pasture. She had her plan of taking over his feet if/when he got upset or fearful and tense when Z and I left. The first time we left, he got a little tense and she decided to back him. The second time, she didn't need to - he was fine with staying there with Kris even when Z and I were out of sight. Huge changes and I know Kris is loving the metamorphosis that's occurring in their relationship. She seems astonished most of the time. This stuff really, really works!
After it became obvious that Rio was ok with this, we decided to start building the turn on the haunches. This is one thing that Rio has seemed to struggle with. He came here with some decent ground work knowledge and I was impressed by what he knew. But the turning on the haunches has been tough for him for some reason. Tonight we worked on one step at a time and he was great. He was so relaxed, he kept dropping his head to graze. For some horses, this would be annoying. For Rio, it meant the world (to me, at least). Kris and Rio are making huge strides.