04 November 2011

Building Bellaria's Toolbox - - -

Most of the time, Bellaria is a kind, gentle soul. But when she gets out of her element, she utilizes very little brain power and relies strictly on emotions.

 It gets a bit tricky to get her back under control, so having a well stocked toolbox is certainly to my benefit. I have been building my toolbox for Bellaria since the day she arrived, so that when I ride her out of the pasture and she drops off the planet into her emotional La-La-Land, I will have some good, solid, well made tools that I can rely on to get her back under control.

My goal is to take her out of her element and teach her to remain calm. I want her to experience comfort in this new location, where she can think through what she is experiencing, instead of emoting her way out of it. The difficulty is, the switch between mental acuity and emotional meltdown is a matter of seconds with Bellaria, so the tools must be rock solid - where she has experienced them repeatedly and therefore, she will not question them.

Here are some of the tools I've been building into Bellaria:

1.  Bending

2.  Separating the front end from the hindquarters

3.  Moving laterally

4.  Rapid gait transitions

5.  Backing smoothly

I have slowly built these tools into Bellaria, so when I ask for them, she obeys without hesitation or concern. I built the tools so I don't have to use any force in my aids. Instead, they are light, like her feet are my feet. I utilize the tools at all speeds - from the halt all the way up to the gallop - which is where I potentially may be using them when she mentally disappears. There can be no question in Bellaria when the tools are presented, she must respond habitually.

With all of that in mind, take a look at the tools and participate if you wish.

Q:  What does each tool help to accomplish when things are going haywire? (Picture galloping at Mach5 under low hanging branches...)

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