Yesterday was not particularly interesting, but I caught Lady (with savvy, I hope!) and took her out for a walk. After lots of thinking and studying, I've decided to focus on improving my leadership, and *especially* my consistency as a leader, because that is where I'm falling short. At least, that is how I see it. ;)
So, all we did yesterday was work on some ground manners, namely leading and staying together. Lady tends to mostly lag behind, so I want to get her to stay at my shoulder, no matter what pace or speed I decide on. I tried a few different techniques to get her motivated, but I think what works best is bumping the lead rope when she starts to lag, and/or flicking the stick and string at her hindquarters. In general, she is pretty good about staying out of my space, but I'll need to keep an eye on that too so that she stays good about it. She's also pretty good about starting and stopping if I give clear signals. <ramble alert>
I think that a lot of the issues I've been having and been frustrated with lately are due to me not setting Lady up for success, but rather for failure. I insist too much on an instantaneous response when its basically impossible for her to give it to me. If I don't warn her that I want to start walking, how is she supposed to start immediately with me? Yes, I can think of some circumstances where she might need to respond faster, but overall I think if I am more careful and set her up to do the right thing, we will have a whole lot more success.
She was licking and chewing and seemed a lot more relaxed when I put her away yesterday, so I think it made a bit of difference already, even though I only worked with her for maybe fifteen minutes total.
I also decided to start being consistent about feeding time and insisting on good behavior. This works a whole lot better when I separate them, although eventually I would like to have them both in the same pen and line up and wait for my signal to start eating. That would be cool! :) Anyways, what I'm looking for is "friendly" ears and preferably a question before I allow them to eat. Lady was pretty good, but then, I've been sort of working on that with her. Tempest was a bit more crazy - running circles and throwing a little fit before calming down. She isn't as experienced as Lady, so I was happy with her calmly approaching the bucket without a bossy face on and waiting for me to bow before eating.
Blog Challenge Day 5 - What is your ultimate equestrian goal?
Ummm.... I was thinking about this one last night and I'm really not sure, but I think I would like to have the confidence and knowledge to deal with any horse, no matter what their problem. It would be immensely cool to be able to take any horse whatsoever, work through their problems and bring them far enough for a basic level of competition. :D