March 9, 2011
Well, I got Jackson out for a little bit. I did some in hand work on the piaffe and then some playing around at liberty.
I used the bitless bridle and followed JP’s (Giacomini) advice. He said for the training that I am doing, I need to stand next to the horse (I ended up walking backwards) hold the left rein (if on the left side of the horse) with the left hand about 6 inches from the bit and the right hand holding the right rein and the whip. I did this and we struggled a little bit. It would have helped if we had had a wall to work against and some ground that wasn’t supper squishy, but we made progress.
I would walk backwards, asking Jackson to lower his head and break at the poll. When I did this, you could see him lift the base of his neck, so I knew it was looking okay. Then I would ask for some steps of the piaffe. Since I was in a new position, for Jackson and I, it took him a little while to get what I wanted.
I mainly wanted him to do a few steps of the piaffe while lifting the base of his neck. We got a few nice steps this way. I might work in the roundpen next time, and see if that helps.
Once Jackson can do that pretty well, I will do the same thing only tap him under the girth to get a little lifting of the withers. I thought that would be too much for him today, seeing as I needed to keep the lesson short.
Then I took the bridle off and Jackson was still following me. So we went to our “play” pasture and he did really well. We just did a little circling and turning at liberty. I practiced paying attention to my body position and seeing if he would mimic me. He did!
Then when he appeared to be done, I started walking back to the barn, and he stayed with me without me even asking him to. Very cute!