Pittsboro, NC

Lena – Straightness Training Asymmetry Report

FINALLY, after signing up for the Straightness Training Mastery online course in early November 2018 I am doing my asymmetry report on my TB mare, LenaΒ 

πŸ˜€ . I did start it as soon as it came in the email coaching, but I felt like I didn’t have a thorough enough report, and never completed it. I kept working with my horse, but then I got busy for about 2 months and didn’t work my horse much. SOOOO, here it is. It isn’t fully filled out, but that is a life lesson for me! I suffer from extreme paralysis – by – analysis so I’m posting it here not completely filled out. And I’m going to deal with it! 

Lena – TRT Method, Challenge One

This is from the TRT Method website. It’s their first challenge for their members / online participants. This is the Facebook post. I’ve already been using the TRT Method with Lena for a few months to work on her trailer claustrophobia.

It’s amazing how you THINK you are using yourself, then you see yourself on video and go “OMG! I’m nannying my horse!”.  HAHA.  I need to let her make the mistake and THEN correct her.  I see I’m trying to prevent her from making the mistake of getting too close.  But I’m going to post it here because 1. It’s good to owe up to your imperfections and 2. I think I should get brownie points for training the Karuma (the cat), too.  πŸ˜‰ 



Lena – 05/16/2019

I wanted to do something with her in the last bit of daylight I had left, so I put her cavesson on and we went into the arena to do some ground work and light lunging.

I focused on getting crisp halts from a walk first. And if they were not crisp we did some crisp backing up. Watching the flies bother her reminded me that if she can feel a fly then she can feel my light hand pressure on the cavesson. When she wasn’t being responsive to a light pressure then I used a tap of the whip on her chest. Soon she was giving me very responsive halts from a walk to a light pressure (and not my body language) on the cavesson. And when she gave a prompt halt from a clear, light signal I gave her a soft verbal ‘good, Lena’, a touch on the forehand and a rest.

Lena is fairly sensitive and in the wrong program I could see her being a bit dangerous due to over reacting. I experienced it over her trailer loading issue when I first got her (she was very panicked when it came to the trailer and hurt herself a few times and behaved in a way that could injury a person) as well as her reaction to pull back and panic when being tied. All you have to do is ‘grrrrrr’ at her she she gets wide-eyed.

Just as she is prone to overreact to discipline actions, or overly strong requests to do something, she also does not like overly animated praise. A loud voice, strong patting or even vigorous stroking sort of spazzes her out. For her praise seems to be well received in the form of rest, a firm placement of your hand on her neck or forehead (no scratching or vigorous rubbing, please) and a quiet verbal reward.

So that is what we did tonight (since we haven’t been doing much at all for the past 2 months). About 20 minutes of in-hand type work and a little big of lunging in the walk and trot over ground poles. But the focus was just on the volume of pressure to get that walk – halt transition from a light pressure on the cavesson and an acknowledgement (that she appreciates) for her correct response.

She did a few great halts that were square. πŸ™‚

Lena – 05/08/2019

In-hand / cavesson work and lunging at walk / trot / canter and trot cavaletti. She is starting to get the ‘seeking’ posture more than a dropping and flattening of her neck with her nose poking out to the front.

I tried the haunches-in a few times and I think we were both tired and annoyed by the bugs. I was starting to have feelings of “ugh, why did I stop working with her? Why have I let 2 months go by?” and am sure she was thinking “Ugh, why can’t I just be a pasture puff?”. So I was cycling through a few minutes of in-hand work, going to the larger circle on the lunge and trotting a few minutes, coming back to in-hand work so neither of us got too frustrated. We did manage to pull off about 3 steps that looked and felt good, with her being bent to the inside, haunches off the wall making 3 tracks and I’m pretty sure I saw the outside hind leg tracking and landing about where her naval would be, with none of her other legs going side ways (toes moving forward). So YAY! That is where I ended our session.

I did ask her to canter about 3 circles each way, and she got her sticky lead to the left fine. She wasn’t rushing, falling in badly or pulling but she was struggling. I just wanted to give her a little ‘break’ from the mental ground work.

Lena – 05/07/2019

It has been a while since I’ve worked with Lena, about 2 months if I’m correct. We’ve been getting our farm ready for sale and building the new place. We still have not moved (have about 3 weeks to go) but I’ve decided to start doing something with the horses, however many minutes and however many days of the week I can.

I started Lena today working on ground work in the cavesson. We were both rusty, considering we had only started Straightness Training in October and then have taken about 2 months off.

We did some in-hand work at walk, working on me getting my line, whip and thoughts (as well as my timing and the aids) clear, and working on her remembering what the heck this is all about. Then we alternated between the close-up work and some lunging at walk and trot.

In-hand we did walking down the long walls, stops and backing up on the wall, and 10m circles. On the circles she was counter bending and coming in on the shoulder, and on the long wall she was too reactive to my hand on the cavesson with her nose coming in and her shoulder falling to the wall.

I was trying to review the Straightness Training ‘asymmetry report’ document in my head but couldn’t remember the details. I do remember some of the basic things when I went through it for Lena back in October.

Tonight I notice that when I was on her left, even on a straight line, her hindquarters would swing out to the right whenever I requested a halt. I changed sides & direction and her hindquarters wouldn’t drift but she’d fall out on the shoulder. The other side of the same coin I suppose.

She did offer some good ‘gesturing / seeking’ posture. Her poll wasn’t too far below her wither with her muzzle gesturing down towards where her front hooves would land VS her nose poking out forward. She did more of this in trot than walk.

She was calm, even when I got on her bareback. I didn’t stay on too long, her wither and backbone. Yikes! We did some walk, circles, halts and a few trot circles both ways. I decided to dismount when she didn’t spook when Karuma (the cat) bolted up the tree on the side of the arena. πŸ˜‰