Things are going slower with Z then I had anticipated. She is still quick to use her hindlegs as attack weapons so getting her comfortable with me being close to her is still a high priority. This is essential so I can start to do the driving I want to get done as well as the in-hand work.
Over the holiday weekend, I started with this gameplan: free lunging in the roundpen until she starts connecting with me. This allows her some freedom to work out her high spirits. If we use the big arena, there is too much chance for her to get distracted. However, on days I can “play” longer then we can use it for a change of pace and for driving lessons.
Using the longer dressage whip along her body, I start asking her to shape her bends better. Because she likes to angle her hips towards me, to dominate and intimidate, it’s important for her to learn that this is not acceptable.
I think this next photo is so cute – look at her hind leg position and my legs. 🙂
The whip can be used as a cue to move forward from behind or to ask her to give me more space – such as moving her hindquarters further away from me when she wants to edge in aggressively.
Being behind Z can be a test of fortitude and faith in your God. This is her favorite position to kick you so before we move on with driving and much more in-hand work she has to be comfortable with me being there, not only with a line, but also with a whip (which will be used for cues).
Her favorite place to get rubbed is in the center of her belly on the midline. I am now using this after a good job and decreasing food rewards.
Mutual grooming really is far more desireable to her even then treats! I allow some grooming if she uses nose only and I limit how long she can do it. As it is I am taking a chance that she will get too happy and bite me by mistake! I am not sure I would recommend it… 😛
Here she nuzzles my hair as I scratch her neck.