Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Linda Replied To Me!!!

I mentioned before that I had asked Linda Parelli on her ParelliConnect walll about Buster's cantering issues. Well, Ms. Parelli herself replied to me! Yeah, that makes Me feel special, in a way. :) But anyway, here's my question again, and then her answer:

Hello Linda!

I've been working with Buster, my LBI, Quarter Horse gelding for a year. When we got him, he had little to no real training at all. I was just starting out with the Parelli program at the time, so we've kind of been learning together- as we go. We've both made a lot of progress since then, and we've both overcome a lot, confidence-wise. I know we're ready to pass levels 1/2 online, and level 2 Freestyle, with flying colors!- if we could just get over one more bump: circles.

Buster was perfectly fine with the circle game until we asked him to canter. He was on a 22' line, and had been doing nice, relaxed trotting circles for a few months before I asked him too, but when I did, he blew up (meaning, he started bucking and jerking the rope out of my hands). I went back to walking and trotting relaxed circles for a while, but the next time I asked him to canter, he did the same thing. He's gotten worse about it since- now, he won't even trot a circle, and he's not even completely relaxed at the walk. It doesn't help that I'm constantly worrying about what he'll do next. Our trust is completely shattered. My guess is that he's gone back into 'longeing mode', and I don't know how to bring him back out. I really don't think that what he's doing is play- it might have started out that way, but now it's progressed to something else, and I don't know how to handle it. There are no Parelli instructors in my area, and I'm getting to the end of my rope. I can tell that I'm getting frustrated with him, and I know that I can't do that. What should I do? Should I reprimand him? Mirror him? Change the subject? Any advice would be so greatly appreciated! :)

Linda's answer:

Have you done a Horsenality report Maggie? It sounds like when your horse got going and hit the end of the rope that he lost confidence and then either started avoiding it or fighting it. Using retreat and reapproach will help (trot faster, slower, then finally canter), as will being inside a round corral at least 50' diameter or bigger will help too - stop him pulling as he gets wider.
Try to see it from his point of view and that will help you do the right thing. Remember, he needs your help. Think about it and get more calm and focused... and get more knowledge as per my suggestion above. :)

I'm so happy that she replied to me- even though her answer isn't what I wanted to hear. A round pen is the one thing we don't have. And there's no way any of us could possibly afford one. I'm going to search for ideas on cheap round pens....maybe I can fish something up.

However, her words: " It sounds like when your horse got going and hit the end of the rope that he lost confidence and then either started avoiding it or fighting it."; really hit home with me. That makes total sense! That's why I didn't think it was play! He's avoiding and/or fighting the rope! I wish I could start him cantering at Liberty....another reason why we need a round pen or a fenced in arena. Gah! I'm having trouble staying motivated here!

Mrs. Miller is coming with Kat and Casey on Thursday to help me with him. Maybe we can make a breakthrough.

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