Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ground work Lessons 1&2

As I mentioned yesterday, I am learning to improve the rider I am now. That rider is not all that right now unfortunately. I am wanting to ask more of Corrie and yet at the same time still not really confident enough if push comes to shove.

So I got a shove, from Sensei, to do more ground work. I have been avoiding ground work because, well, I finally got back in the saddle. I want to ride. Unfortunately I still have issues in the saddle. So while I want to do more, it is really hard. Not that I am not riding, I am. It is just that I tend to find myself nagging. I am not confident enough to get to "command," if "suggest" and "ask" don't work. That is a huge issue. This is where a trainer comes in handy. I could very easily make Corrie even more dull, so Sensei really wants me to do a lot of work on the ground.

Suggest, ask, command: this is a common Ray Huntism. First you "suggest" what you would like a horse do to do, for example move their front over to the left. The "suggest" is just what ever cue you give to that behavior. I raise my energy and left hand. If the horse doesn't respond to a "suggest" we move the "ask." I raise my right hand, which hold the other end of the rope. "Ask" is sort of like telling the horse, if you don't follow the "suggest," I am going to have to "command" you. If the horse still does not heed your warning, you have to "command." In my example that is twirl the rope a few time and finally smack in the butt. The horse should have no choice at that point. The idea is that we always return to a "suggest." We want horses to move off the suggestion. Ever watch Ray Hunt, he is the most harmonious horse person I have ever seen. The alternative is to nag. Right now, in the saddle I nag, and I hate that and don't think it is very kind.

"If you can't do it on the ground, you shouldn't be asking for it in the saddle." Sensei has a point, not just in general but also specifically for me. I am as more assertive on the ground, not as assertive as he would like me to be, but I am much more able to get to "command" than in the saddle. Especially with a mare like Corrie. As much as I adore her, she will do as little as possible and try to push (or pull) her weight around, typical mare attitude.

My other issue is not taking my time. I like to just do it. I want to move. Sensei asks me to have Corrie side pass. So I jump into it. He puts the brakes on; tells me to stop, regroup, and think about what I want. Make sure I am ready to ask, finally ask. I am learning to just chill. It is SO hard. Sensei is so zen sometimes that it drive me crazy. I do tend to want to do, he tends to wait and then do. Although he is all about setting the horse and I up to succeed so really it is all for the good.

So that is a basic summary of the past two lesson. I am hoping that next week we can drive again. I have to practice ground work, of course, but I think I have enough to practice now.


  1. Your Sensei sounds like a real prize and just what you need. Good stuff - thanks!

  2. Sounds like you have found a great teacher and are willing to change. Good for you!

  3. I like the sounds of your Sensei. Sounds like a person I could work with.

    I was always told: Ask subtly. Ask again a bit more strongly. Make it happen. It's always worked for me.

  4. I'm like you! No zen for me haha. It does sound like a good idea though to pause and think about what you want and how you're asking before leaping into it lol. Sensei sounds like a good trainer. I'm glad you found him. :)


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