In further working on Little Girls’ picking up her feet, I noticed this: on her right fore, instead of lightening the foot and taking weight on the other three, she puts more weight on it before lifting. This sabotages her effort, because naturally when the foot she is leaning on, lifts, she is off balance!
Back to Square One: Asking her to shift her weight off the right before before the lift. As I did this exercise she got agitated and angry, switching her tail, and turning to show her displeasure — so does this bending and taking weight on the opposite, lateral hoof (in this case the left hind) hurt? Or is it more about being peeved because I asked her to do something she doesn’t want to do? Time will tell.
How this is interesting (from an academic viewpoint) is that if she leans into, instead of lightening, it will translate into her other work such as turns and lateral being difficult. Without any riding experience, she is already developing bracing. This isn’t surprising because horses’ push, shove, and don’t always move the graceful ways we envision; in her youth and growth she is still trying to figure out how her body works.
Not only will bracing just make her job harder to perform, but it will also shape and train the wrong set of muscles, starting a cycle of poor performance. The harder I try to force her into a shape, the harder she will resist. This human shoving into a shape/form is why riders then have problems much later down the road; their shortcut to success (an artificial frame) presents later in ways that actually prevents the horse from advancing in his training.
I knew this would happen but I guess I was surprised at how quickly it has presented itself. And a bit surprised and pleased that I recognized it. That is why I’ve been interested in the Peggy Cummings Connected Riding and Groundwork as I want to apply some of her bodywork to ZZ’s situation.
Right now I am asking her to lighten the right fore AND to see a shift of weight to the other side of her body. This action receives a Click/Treat. It will be interesting to see how quickly she catches on and how willing she is to give it.