Friday, May 13, 2011

L 2/3 Advancing Your Freestyle Riding Workshop w/Jerry S. Williams, 3* Parelli Professional 05/01/11

May 01, 2011

Take your freestyle riding to the next step! Learn the process of developing your partnership with your horse into one with real harmony. Advance your impulsion, lightness and connection as a rider.

As with the online workshop, again we looked nothing like the finished product of an advanced L 2/3 Freestyle partnership with real harmony, but rather looked awkward, confused, and all the other things we went through in the online workshop. I do have to say though, I had fun and I hope Renegade did too; he certainly was expressing himself throughout the workshop and I mean that in a good way, he was very relaxed.
We played with FTR at w/t/c (canter only if you felt comfortable doing so) and although we did walk and trot, Renegade was not being partner enough for me to try the canter. Also, I was riding in my English saddle and it’s pretty new to me so I’m not quite as confident a rider as I am in my western saddle. I am working on it though!! After a bit of a warm up, Jerry introduced us to a more refined direct and indirect rein and how we would use them. After some instruction, we tested our new knowledge by using a direct rein to move the fq over then an indirect rein to move the hq over. Jerry also told us the importance of using a supporting rein to help keep our horses straight and how we shouldn’t “crank” their heads around to do the hq yield. The movements of the reins are very subtle, more of a slight opening and not the huge, sweeping movement we used in L1 and L2 for turning. It’s more of a slight “opening” of the rein, just enough for your horse to feel the room to move the fq over or a slight “closing” of the rein to move the hq over. Leg position is also very important; either right in front of the girth or right behind, toes pointed out, pushing either the shoulder or the hq over. The reins are merely for support.
We also played with backing a circle by moving the fq and then the hind quarters, sort of in a “Z” pattern. I have to admit, I cheated a bit by using the outside rail of the honeycomb pen to help my horse and I both understand what we were supposed to be doing; it helped set us up for success.
I wanted to post these notes/comments/thoughts well before this but gosh I’ve been busy lately and am just now getting around to it! I’ve been busy playing with these concepts for the last several days before I forget what I learned. I’ll post more on our play sessions since the workshops later.

L 3/4 Advancing Online Workshop w/Jerry S. Williams, 3* Parelli Professional 05/01/11

May 01, 2011

Advance your online skills to the subtle elegant communication that brings out the expressiveness of your horse. Learn how to move from just Asking to Suggesting. Bring both your 22’ line and 45’ line.

As in all our learning/teaching opportunities, Renegade and I certainly did not look anything like the description (above) of this workshop. We stumbled and fumbled, we were awkward and clumsy, and generally looking anything but elegant!!! That being said, we learned a lot during this workshop and I can see the road to where we are going clearly. I want to enjoy the journey but I so want to get to that elegant and subtle communication stage in our relationship.

Some of the things we covered in the workshop were how to advance our 7 games to challenge ourselves and our horses and how to develop strategies to become more imaginative in our game playing to better engage our horses. One of my favorite things we did with our horses was play jump rope, a version of the extreme friendly game. The game takes teamwork: you, your horse, and a second person. Your horse “holds” one end of the rope and your friend holds the other end while you do the jumping of the rope. Definitely an extreme friendly game and I must have prepared Renegade well because he stood like a pro while Jerry swung the line for me to jump. The only problem we had is that I CAN’T JUMP ROPE!!! I used to do it all the time when I was a kid but somewhere on the way to adulthood, I became a giant clutz. I either jumped too early or too late; either way, I got tangled up in the line every time. Ah well…it gives me something to play with until I get good at it. Maybe I can even teach Renegade to swing the rope!!

Other ideas we played with to help us become more provocative and advance the games with our horses are: greater distances, more speed or effort, straightness, lightness, lower or more refined phases, and some strategies to help us with that. I can’t wait to play with everything I learned but I need to remember not to overwhelm Renegade with everything at once!!