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Training diary 2008-2018

January 1, 2019

Back to work in the arena with Carlotta this morning.

I can feel how everything is starting to fall into place - fan-tas-tic! Most of the time, a small shift, a minuscule twitch with a finger on the reins or change of focus - and off she goes into the desired direction, changes laterals, does turns on haunches etc.

Being the badass smartie she is, she sometimes misinterpretes my cues, especially when she doesn't want to do what I am asking for (mainly backing), she offers something else instead. Quarter turns are soo much less demanding, hahaha. But, of course, no way, Madam, we are doing this now. And suddenly she do can do it promptly and softly.

All the many changes of direction with outside rein (most of the time, still struggling a bit to the left) make things so smooth by now, it's pure pleasure.

I still have issues with lifting my hip (ouch at times!), so working on making it smaller and smaller, so we are both happy.

We did a lot of stops upon just coiling my pelvis, without reins, worked in about 80% of the cases. For the rest, a tiny additional squeeze on the long rein did the job. Will experiment a bit with an additional voice cue over the next few sessions. Problem with this is that she immediately slams on the breaks from any gait when I say psst or aaaand (whoa), but on the forehand at the moment, so not what we really want. More time for trial and error.

Anyway, a great start of the year

January 4, 2019

Got my riding session in this morning at 7, when it was only 31°C :-D

And Carlotta and I are starting a new adventure: we are part of the Intrinzen Project Proprius.

Fascinating, but at this stage still everything to learn - will be an interesting journey. Another one....

Riding went well. I took a bit of video, which is taking time to process. And lots of empty arena in it. I need to learn how to use my camera effectively on a monopod (tied to an arena post)

January 6, 2019

Cliff adjusted my seat during yesterday's lesson. He said my left hip was too much up (and not enough weight in left stirrup) and my right shoulder too. Boy, did that feel weird when I sat in that position!

So, spent this morning's ride to practice this posture. Starting to feel slightly more normal.

Carlotta was surprised, for sure, about my fumblings! But I got some nice feeling of her tuning into me. Backing came very softly, and the turns are nice too. Then I just had to be baaad and asked her for a little spanish walk. Um... from then on, she wanted to do but that for at least another 5 minutes ;-)

Then some lovely laterals (remembering this time to look into the direction of travelling for shoulder-in, duh!), including half-pass. This is still a struggle for her, especially to the right, but even Cliff had to work a bit to get it right with her.

Once unsaddled, I asked her for the "crunch" from our new Intrinzen work. The first attempt had been... well... not very successful, but this time, I suddenly felt her withers, then her back, lift under my hand. Wow! Didn't expect that to happen so soon!

January 9, 2019

This morning was really interesting.

Carlotta worked nicely under saddle, but wasn't really sure what I wanted when I asked her for crunches from up there...

I did notice that her canter has been becoming very elevated and powerful the last few times, almost like a "panther walk in canter". Not the most comfy thing to sit, but she really seems to pick up on the Intrinzen idea of autonomy. And her turns in canter became easier for her as well, so increased agility already!

But then came the Eureka moment! After unsaddling, I just stood at her side, about mid-rump, very softly resting my hand on her back, and doing nothing else. And suddenly I felt her arch up, lift her withers and back into a beautiful crunch! She got biiig praise and hugs and goodies. I walked over to the right side, put my hand on her back and again did nothing else. And there she went again: lovely crunch!

Couldn't wipe the smile from my face.

January 10, 2019

Crunches under saddle are starting to work.... as long as we do them in her "comfort spot" on the north corner of the arena. I tried one somewhere else, and she just walked on.... :-D

And she can do them (me on the ground) now with my hand held in the air above her back or withers.

Smart girl!

January 11, 2019

Another lesson with Cliff today. Boy, do I have difficulties sorting out that lifting of inside hip!!! For sidepassing at this occasion. I kept collapsing my inside hip and at times looked like Sebastian the Crab from The Little Mermaid! ;-)

One day, it will work. And I have a week to practice now. Love the way Cliff picks one thing to work on each time, so we have all the time we need to process it.

Chris had brought her Vicente for the first time today. He was a very good boy and took it all in his stride.

January 12, 2019

Am I dreaming?

Today's riding session included quite demanding elements (for me to use my inside hip correctly and for Carlotta to learn sidepassing). So, in between, I took her to her comfort spot and asked for crunches. She was very happy to perform, after one or two even with me just sitting passively and no cues!!

A bit later, I asked her in another spot, also with reins on her withers and doing nothing. She thought a sec, then walked off. But at next try, she lifted both withers and back beautifully, and each time from then on.

Suddenly, I heard rattattatttaaaaa in the distance. Yes, the local motorcycle kids were arriving, about a dozen of them. Steinar's (Intrinzen instructor) remark came into my mind to allow the horse to be the master of her own fears and tensions. So I stopped in the middle of the arena (which is about 30 m from the road), dropped the reins on her neck and did nothing (no expectations at all). When the gang came noisily thundering past, Carlotta watched for a moment with high head, then suddenly went into a beautiful crunch! This was such a wonderful moment - feels like an enormous breakthrough.

Back in the paddock, Keldan came to greet me, so I decided to just play a bit with him, walked to his side and put my hand on his back and shifted my weight a bit backwards. I could see the wheels turn in his head, and then he started to shift his weight a bit back. CT! I changed position frequently (satellite crunches) all around him. Very soon, he started to lift his withers a bit. Being Keldan, he arched his neck beautifully. And then I started to leave some air between my hands and his skin, and he could do it too! I suppose here is a candidate for becoming a superstar!

January 15, 2019

Chris came over early this morning (it was already nice and warm at 8 a.m.) with Margaret and brought Vicente, so we could have a bit of fun with him and Carlotta in my arena. Another good opportunity for him to gain experience under varied circumstances.

Carlotta was not impressed - she immediately switched to Grumpy Bum and growled: This is MY arena! A lot of flattened ears, but she did cooperate with me after all ;-)

Vicente was just a gem, very unimpressed and calm and happy to do whatever Chris asked him (remember: he is still very green), be it walking or trotting, turning, doing nice bends and some more advanced stuff already. Very impressive, this horse.

For once, Carlotta and I felt small when standing at his side. Usually we are the tall ones :-)

I practised my stuff, as usual. Still being crooked here and there and dropping my inside shoulder, hggggnnnnn....

But from time to time, it worked quite well at least.

Margaret kindly took lots of pics and a few videos. And Greg came out and took one to:

Too funny how Carlotta switched to a hint of school walk at the end of the video :-D

Thank you, Margaret and Chris.

Thank you also to our wonderful CJ, who built a rail into my tack room, so I can hang my horse rugs over it.

January 22, 2019

Oh what a beauuuutiful summer day, euh, I mean, how st*nking hot it is! And we had a riding lesson with Cliff. I was really half expecting to keel over and fall off my horse from a heat attack ;-)

Chris kindly let me ride first at 10 a.m., but I only held out some 20 minutes, then handed my steed to Cliff who gave her an intensive and impressive training session.

Even Rev was on economy mode today, so they didn't do the full hour either, but rather stopped after a couple of good performances.

Again, a lot of useful things learned and some progress made. Cliff, you are The Best!

January 23, 2019

Another Intrinzen session with Carlotta in the arena. She was happy to walk with me and offer Panther Walk from time to time. No significant improvement on PW since last time. But instead, the crunches were a lot more upward - yay! :-)

So I tried to point forward from a PW, and she did the same trick she had invented last time: going more and more forward and down with her front legs, until her chest almost touched the ground. She looked like a big dog, doing a doggie stretch, and with her front legs crossed on top. So hard not to laugh, and even harder not to reward her for such a splendid creativity!

We did most of our current programme under saddle. Her leg yields are becoming pretty fluent and straight, with very little help from her human friend. Seems I am starting to get my act together on this now.

I asked Cliff yesterday whether it would make sense to do the turns towards the fence from a standstill at first, as we both struggle with this. But today, when I followed Cliff's suggestion to put her into a slight travers position, then ask for the turn, it worked very well and fluently.

It is such a rewarding feeling when you notice that suddenly your aids are becoming so precise that your horse has no problem to react to them correctly! All of Cliff's explanations I can now feel - amazing when I twitch this muscle in my upper thigh, or lift my inner hip and keep my focus straight ahead, or put my knee in just the right spot, and everything suddenly is so easy for my horse and comes so naturally. Wow and wow and wow.

Wish I had known such an instructor some 40 or 50 years earlier - I bet I would be just brilliant by now!

January 24, 2019

Much too hot for whatever outdoor activity. Even the horses are hiding in the deep shadow.

But this morning at 8, it was just perfect, nice and cool and a little breeze. Was fun to play with Carlotta - we enjoyed our interaction, first on the ground, then with a quiet riding session.

Working on improving the crunches, and some of them are starting to look quite nice. She was less keen about the PW, so maybe I have taken the poolnoodle away and out of knee reach too early.

Towards the end of the session, she again offered a deep doggie stretch with crossed front legs and chest going far down towards the ground - caught it on video :-) But maybe not something to encourage her to develop and put into her tool box ;-)

Later nice leg yields, with only small cues, and turns towards the fence and other goodies. I sometimes did some stupid things with my inside hip again, but I was forgiven.

Thank you, Carlotta, you are just lovely!

2 videos (not ideal, as camera too far away) on my youtube channel. When I look at her in the riding video, I hardly can believe her transformation - she looks so incredibly beautiful and noble.

January 27, 2019

Nice progress with our Intrinzen work. There seems to be quite a mind shift in her (and me!). When I come into the paddock to halter her, she has now started to walk towards me! That from Carlotta!!!

And when she needs a break and a good stare into the distance during our sessions, I walk away and do something else, but now she almost immediately turns around and follows me. Each time. Wow!

Today I decided to do something new and put the saddle on her while we did our exercises. And she was a different horse. Much prouder posture. Tentatively, I started to speed up myself and, after a bit of hesitation, she copied me. Went into a slow corto and then, suddenly, she offered two (very low) steps on Panther Walk. But PW it was, definitely!

Jubilees from me, and big praise and cuddles, and goodies.

January 28, 2019

Interesting yet again today. I tried to combine the crunch with forward into the PW for the first time. Lots of puzzles to solve for Carlotta, but she tried so hard, the dear girl.

My attempts to animate her into "crunched forward" went a bit over the top, like hopping around like Bugs Bunny, haha. When she managed her first little tölt/trot ending with a creative hop forward and up, she needed a big break for processing. 3 and a half minutes, before she was ready to interact again.

I was very happy with her cooperation and tries and good will. I have made a number of mistakes, like too far forward at her side and target held too low, putting mental pressure on yet again, but she figured things out nevertheless :-)

The riding session afterwards was just delightful. She was overbubbling with energy and proud posture. Wanted to go into piaffe, but I just said thanks and asked for a walk. Very nice turns and leg yields to both sides upon just lifting my corresponding hip. And yes, I finally remembered to look in front of us for leg yields and shoulder-ins ;-)

She is now offering shoulder-in in corto on her own! After 10 minutes or so I asked for canter and slightly turned my body while she was cantering, and here she went, right into a shoulder-in. Wow! Dismounted immediately and ended the session on this highlight.

Carlotta Super Girl!

January 29, 2019

Backed off from the inadvertantly demanding stuff I had done yesterday and opened my mind to the desirable approach.

Waited for Carlotta to come to me. Tried to run around when she did, but she wasn't ready to follow me yet. No worries.

Stood at her side, asked for crunch with my body language (doing a crunch myself and slightly lifting one hand, palm up) and also introducing a verbal cue: "lift". She got the idea very quickly. So we proceeded to start walking in PW out of the crunch. She is becoming very willing to do this, i.e. go into PW right away.

I have to pay attention to use external focus when we are about to start walking, which means that I point forward with the poolnoodle (or my arm) and take my look off her and look ahead instead. And Crunch and PW myself. Which is pretty hard, especially trying to throw my legs forward. Working on it... but it definitely has a positive influence on the way Carlotta moves. Duh!

There was half an hour left before the hoof trimmer was due, so threw the saddle on her and we worked a bit. As the days before, she was overbubbling with energy, wanted to offer all sorts of fancy things and had lots of power and enthusiasm. I really love the way I can influence direction, bend etc. with just a tiny bit of "knee on", and she stays straight and on track a lot better by now. And when I get carried away, then suddenly realise to readjust my seat, I can see her ears play vividly.

January 30, 2019

My faithful friends and readers here on FB might wonder why I am doing this "weird Intrinzen stuff", so it might be time for an explanation what it is all about. Intrinzen is based on functional human movement (which is scientifically based) which opens new pathways in the brain (not only the horse's!!), in order to create new ways of learning and achieving things.

The goal is to help our horse become autonomous which will in normal cases, along with special work we do with motivation, empower our horse to make his own decisions during training. This does of course not mean that he will from now on be allowed to walk all over us and do only as he pleases. Via well sought-out exercises, the horse learns to use his body and mind in a very efficient way. Insecurities (as well physical as mental), lack of balance and agility are addressed in various ways, always giving the horse time and space to figure out the solutions himself. And allow him to decide when he wants to apply what he is learning. Especially in the beginning, he will very often appear "switched off", i.e. will stare into the distance and seem to ignore his human partner. This is a sign that he is processing (it is not a break, as his nervous system is working overtime) - it may look like a break, but it is not - also staring at something in the distance is not taking his mind off things, but also is processing Once this is done, he will turn towards his human and be ready to continue.

There is a great variety of exercises, which go from doing a "crunch", which is a lifting-up of his withers and his back, while coiling his loins. Then it is combined what is called a "panther walk" (PW), which is a collected way of walking, incorporating the proud posture of the crunch. It can vary in how it is carried out, but we want to see the noble, collected, upright posture, with front legs reaching out far in front, making room behind the elbow. And hind feet following, of course. PW can be done at the walk, but also become much more spectacular, showing very vivid movement, like going up into the air and forward, doing it at the trot, at the toelt (maybe even at the canter).

Once the basics are solid, there is a huge number of things we do with saddle weights, acqua bags and passenger lessons before we ride our horse AND the test is can our horse crunch (like an expert) with our weight - if not we get off and work more on the ground - this is something Steinar is very particular about.

The end goal is a horse that readily makes the decision to be proud and collected in any circumstances. Which means that he will stay sound for a very long time, as he has learned to carry himself in a very effective way. And he has learned a mindset and self-confidence which make him a very safe horse to ride.

You can see some videos here:

One word of warning about the addressed "bad ass" behaviour. Bad ass can be running around free and proud BUT is more about being proud and having the proper core structure in place and capacity to do movement well - this takes the time it takes and a lot of people just go and do what they see and then their horse falls apart or they get hurt as they dont do the work they need to do first - and if a horse crunches and nickers THAT IS bad ass.

February 7, 2019

After 4 ride-free days, back in the saddle again today for a brief ride. But before, we did our Intrinzen session. I am trying to introduce the gymnastic mat, but Carlotta is still too worried to step on it. So, I am now trying to just put a feed bucket on it and let her eat from it, and decide herself when she will be ready. Which is what Intrinzen is about, of course.

Played with a bit of PW and crunches, which are improving a bit, but still too far back instead of up - ah well, takes the time it takes...

Today, for the first time, she responded to my body language suggestion to increase speed a bit: staightened herself up at the walk and increased energy into an almost corto. Click and treat.

She was full of enthusiasm for the ride, did lovely laterals and prompt, very soft walk-canter transitions, wherever I asked for them.

During one of the breaks (standing calmly with reins on withers and breathing out), there was a Eureka moment: she suddenly walked off in PW. Lots of praise (dang, I didn't have my treatbag with me!), then a bit of walking, and - bang - she decided to do it again! Felt heavenly. Biiig preaise and hugs and end of session.

February 8, 2019

Nele kindly brought Hanna here, so she could pick up her painting. And have a little ride on Carlotta. :-)

Nele's kids, Nelson and Ellie, provided some nice distractions, so we had a slightly modified environment to work in. We started with taking a video (thank you, Hanna) of some Intrinzen work, then Hanna was happy to give it a go.

Quite a challenge, as this was a horse she didn't know at all (and vice versa), in an unknown environment and the horse at liberty, not even a halter on. She did great, and Carlotta really seemed to like Hanna, as she affectionaltely licked her and gave her kisses.

And worked very nicely for her. Then riding time. I hopped on briefly, just to show Hanna the way she is ridden, then it was Hanna's turn. Very good rider with lots of feel and great seat, so they both clicked immediately. At the first corto, Hanna giggled in delight and said to Nele: I am taking this one home!

And she loved Carlotta's level of education and cooperation. But the absolute highlight was that Carlotta started to offer us (first to me, then to Hanna) Panther Walks under the rider! Once she even did a little hop, wanting to speed up, but wasn't quite sure whether this was desirable. I loved her display of raised energy! Julie saw the video and spotted a crunch (which I hadn't noticed!) while doing PW.

From then on, she kept doing PW, and we both laughed with delight when she did. It was SOOO much fun! Thank you, Carlotta, you are an absolute Star!

Took Carlotta back to the paddock and asked her to lie down on hand signal, which she did. Hanna was amused :-D

Video of Carlotta's PW:

Notes form Julie:

going well and it is nice to see her moving- I think you need to click less for the most part - we need to let her go a little longer and wait for effort before we click - this is especially so in the crunches as she needs to poof up allot more and not use her neck - when you ask her to focus externally in the crunch - we need the stick long and we need her to crunch while she is doing it (so dont click if there is no crunch) - I am hoping we get some film of this from Steinar this weekend while he is in Denmark - it is linked up for him so fingers crossed. Also watch you are not chasing her - a couple of times you were way behind the 'riding' position so when this happens - do some turns - so mix it up and vary the direction allot and that should help maintain the riding position as it is easier for us to drop back than to catch up.

the reason we struggle here is because we want to click all the time - wait for more effort before you click but her neck needs to get out of the way - so no we dont want to bend yet - just askj her to look forward towards the pointer

a secondary reinforcer should not be a compromise it is the same as a primary so it is the same as a click when a click is not really deserved - she will have days where she does not want to do much so a couple of crunches where effort is clicked for and then stop will work wonders for her

February 12, 2019

Carlotta really surprised me today. Upon Julie's urgent suggestions, I finally gave in and decided to allow 2 weeks without riding and "only" doing Intrinzen. We played a bit with walking together, a few PWs (she wasn't overly keen on that today), and some crunches, trying to improve them. Got two really nice upright ones with chin slightly tucked in. Good I had some jackpots in my treatbag!

Then suddenly, while I ran at her side, she took off at a playful canter and then joyfully put in a kick - at good distance from me. Who would have thought that she had it in herself to play?! Wonderful!

February 15, 2019

Early in the morning, I had the first ride after 2 weeks off riding (for Intrinzen purposes). Princess was pretty hot and goey, no walk or stop possible for about 5 minutes ;-)

But did she look pretty (even from above) with her arched neck and collected posture. The laterals and the leg yields came fluently at the corto. She hasn't forgotten a thing :-D

When she offered me a very calm series of walks and transitions, we called it a day.

February 17, 2019

Have the feeling that she had bee trying too fast and too hard to please me over the last six weeks, since we started this journey.

She is going through a phase now, as I suppose, where she needs time to process. Today again, she didn't want to do PW and only hesitatingly some crunches. So I just asked for 3 or 4 crunches, but those with poofing up, which worked quite nicely.

Then briefly to the mat, and she put her front foot on a few times. Still worried it might move and eat her... . Never mind how long it takes. Will see if I can bring myself to just WAIT now and let her decide (at liberty) when she can approach it and walk on. Even if it takes forever. When I took some hay to the paddock a bit later, Carlotta stood at the gate, then went into a deep dog bow!

From Julie:

there is going to come a time when the mat is going to be poisoned - you need her to have the autonomy - I would recommend that you stop asking her to come to the mat - if she goes to the mat or even thinks of going to the mat click and treat BUT walk away do not take her to it. Often when our horses don't really seem to 'want' to engage it is autonomy at work and this is crucial that you respect this - I see it allot and we need to do exactly as you did BUT you dont ask for anything - see what she offers - give her a massage - then if she does something click and treat for it - this is the hardest part but it is really worth it and once we honour it - it will be done, but if we dont, it is going to happen again and again and with each time it will be harder as our horse will not have the confidence that we are listening. If we respect it straight off the bat and when we find a clickable moment we make a huge fuss and finish up, that process will go very quickly and it does not really come back again unless we start telling our horse what we want. There will be days when they say na not today and thats fine - it is their day of massage

it is hard and intrinzen is harder for us than it is for our horses! it is not really a demanding personality it is more about habits that we form when training - dont look at any of this as training, just look at it as releasing emotional and physical parking brakes.

OK hahahaha - no what she is showing you now is a test of autonomy - so she is asking you to put your money where your mouth is

- you see this is autonomy and 6 months ago you would not have thought she had this in her - so hang in there and trust me with this - I have been through it with Star and I have had contact with so many people with this same pattern

just my views and someone else would probably tell you something different - but it really works well this way - I think it was about the 7th month mark with Star because we were in the first next steps way back when this stuff was not really spoken about - hahahahahaha what have you got to loose...a couple of days of really checking ourselves will tell us for sure

February 17, 2019

Difficult day today, very hard not to feel frustrated.

She was packed with autonomy for the brief Intrinzen session, most of the time wanted to graze. Turned to me once or twice and was willing to walk along my side for a lap, then off again. Gave me one good crunch, so I left it at that.

Looks like my calm, relaxed riding horse has gone out of the window. Carlotta was pretty tense yesterday (first ride after 2 weeks) and tense she was today again. Stopping (which works on coiling my loin and no reins normally) was only possible in her comfort spots, and standing still was soo hard. Took me a lot of work to allow her to simmer down to panics, as Chris calls it jokingly. When she finally managed to give me a good stop and breathed out, I dismounted and called it a day. Oh my, poor girl, this is so hard for her, as it seems.

I know that there is a lot of stuff going on underneath, but I am not (yet) zen enough to allow it without feeling worried and somewhat frustrated.

So, I hear you, and I hope she will be OK and not hold a grudge against me.

From Julie:

these days happen and there is no need to feel frustrated - you respected her choice she gave you a good crunch and you left it at that - it is these days that will really make a difference - embrace them - when you come out the other end you will understand

Ok so you rode her as well - the stuff with Cliff is important to you so you need to weigh up what is best for you and her as I am quite sure riding her with Cliff is not providing any autonomy and the difficulty for her is that one day she has it and the next she is under control - even Steinar with a fully autonomous horse would get off if he had any hint that the horse was not happy - so you need to make the best of the situation and accept that she cannot be provided with autonomy - see the problem is that she was starting to feel empowered but it is not fair to her for her emotions to be up and down like this. You probably have to think about what the trade off can be - I will give it some thought and when I next speak with Steinar I will see what he can suggest (other than what I know he will LOL).

So, I had some thoughts about this:

Cliff is a brilliant rider with perfect timing and very good hands, but there is zero autonomy for the horse when he rides.

It didn't seem a problem for Carlotta to switch between autonomy and being ridden before she had that break. I used to do Intrinzen, then let her graze a bit while I got my gear out, then rode her for 20 to 30 minutes, and she seemed fine with it, all soft and happy to go. Now it all seems changed.

Yes, I will have to weigh what to do, and yes, I understand she must feel betrayed by switching between autonomy and obedience. I wonder whether this is not too much for her and maybe I should postpone Intrinzen until I can give her really several months of break from being ridden, i.e. when I have her bred toChris' Morgan stallion and she gets around 5 or 6 months pregnant until the time the foal is ready for weaning.

I would really love to continue, as in general she seems to love it and showed a lot of enthusiasm in the beginning. Thank you for asking Steinar what he thinks.

When I ride her, I can give her some autonomy and I am soft wherever I can, but there is a programme I am working on, and I just cannot let her "off the leash" while riding her. I do put in frequent breaks, allow her to stand on reins on withers, take deep breaths etc., apply minimal cues and let her think about things for a couple of minutes. But in between, we are doing work. I am absolutely passionate about becoming a really good rider, and this takes hard work at times, and my horse is asked to cooperate, even though asked gently, wherever possible. And it was starting to become very possible very often.

Here is an example of a riding session from end of January (just before the break):

February 18, 2019

After feeling so miserable all yesterday about the whole thing, I decided to change things today. Asked for a crunch before saddling, then had about 5 minutes of practising our stuff, then stopped in her favourite corner and did nothing. She sighed and then did a crunch (her own decision). Biig praise and goodies (have now your little bag hanging over my shoulder, which works well). Then did nothing again, and she walked off purposfully, then started doing PW!!!

Another big praise, then I let her decide what she wanted to do and where she wanted to go. She happily wandered around, then started to unroll her repertoire (shoulder-in, travers, corto, canter, and even a shoulder-in in canter). When she decided she wanted to finish and walked towards the gate (I ride with the gate open), I just let her and she went and lined up at the MB for me to dismount. After unsaddling, I took her to the arena, brought the mat (folded) and placed the bucket with her supplements on it, where she happily ate it while I took the hay to the paddock.


dont feel bad about things - I know it is hard not to and we all go through these things - it is a very hard commitment to be 'all in' and it does not suit everyone and their dreams and goals. What your experience shows today is that autonomy is very important for her and when you give this to her she gives you all of her repertoire by choice - and that is the best feeling for us and for our horse - I think your approach is great - aside from a little bit of a parking brake in her left hind area (and the fact that I do not believe she has the capacity I now believe to be true after all these years with Steinar) her parking brakes are more emotional AND the only way these can be released is through autonomy - I think it sounds like you had a wonderful morning


Yes, I did, and Carlotta did as well, which is even more important. So I will let her decide what she wants to do during our rides most of the time and not ask for anything from the ground for now, apart from a few crunches here and there.

I can't be "all in", was already very hard for me not to ride these 2 weeks! But I can try to work around and give her as much autonomy as possible. Maybe we can meet on this ground.


crunches need more effort so you do need to ask for these on the ground if she shows you she wants to do them - so more effort will give her more capacity and go with it in the PW if she offers this as well, but remember again to ask for more effort - you only have to get 1 or 2 good ones. yes I think that it is a good compromise

February 24, 2019

All going well with Carlotta. I have dropped the liberty work for now and decided to incorporate Intrinzen/autonomy into our riding sessions, so she can have a say and not become frustrated by "obedience all the time".

This seems to work very well. After a few laps on long rein, we do a bit of work. At the moment, Cliff is teaching us counter-bend work, i.e. how to use my hips effectively and smoothly. Carlotta was starting to respond very nicely this morning, was a real pleasure.

Then reins on withers, do nothing, and let her decide. Usually, she now does a crunch or two then walks off and wanders around in the arena, sometimes adding some PW.

An interesting moment was when she suddenly decided to walk through the scary bottleneck between the pedestal and the labyrinth. :-)

Then pick up reins again and continue with some more work. Her general tasks have improved a lot, I feel. Much more suppleness and agility in her movement.

And I think I have improved myself, also for my posture. It can still be hard at times, but there has been a biiiig leap forward. Great feeling!

Thank you so much, Cliff!

The canter can still be sticky at times, especially her tendency to drop the right shoulder. Cliff showed me what to do in this case and it works nicely.... IF I do it correctly! ;-)

She still loves to come to me in the paddock, nickering or whinnying. Sweet! :-) And she is starting to nicker while doing crunches. I can see the connection between us - wonderful feeling.

Love my proud, noble horsie!

February 25, 2019

This about the dogs:

Something extraordinary happened today.

While I was clipping Leo's toe nails (with clicks and liver treats in between), Niko came into my office. He is the one who used to be terrified beyond belief by the idea of having any of his nails even touched by the clippers, and it took a lot of patience to get him over it.

He stood close to me for a while, but I was busy with Leo, so didn't pay attention to Niko. Suddenly I heard a "plop" behind me, as Niko lay down on his bed and waited for his turn to have his nails done!!!!

This was so suprising that I could hardly believe it. But I turned around and did Niko's nails, while he enjoyed his liver treats after each nail.

Turned out that Greg had sneaked up from behind and taken some photos.

February 27, 2019

Very pleasant lesson with Cliff yesterday. We worked more on counter bends, adding some canter too. Carlotta was very cooperative and is now gliding into the movements very gracefully. No photos or videos from it unfortunately.

Got some high fives from Cliff about what we achieved together. Yayyyyy! When I ran out of steam, Cliff took over and did a few minutes of canter work with her. And - tadaaaaa - she once (very calmly and beautifully) gave him a flying change! The first one right at the beginning of the video, and there was another one a bit later too. Wow!

For the warmup, Chris grabbed my umbrella (which I had taken for sun protection) and did some elegant moves with Rev.

Then Renae was having her baptism as a jouster on Paco, teamed up with Chris on Rev. Cliff coached from the ground. All did very well and had a ball on top. Great job, girls and horses!

This morning, Carlotta and I practised at home, adding cortos and canters, as well as switching from counter-bend to half-pass. Once she got the idea, she very happily performed for me.

She was so engaged in the process and hyped up that she couldn't stop at times, especially when we had worked on some collected (school) walk. I didn't force her, but instead gave her the reins and let her show initiative. Which mostly quickly turned into Panther Walk and some crunches. This seems to be a concept that really suits her.

March 2, 2019

Anyway, had my extra-lovely b'day ride this morning at 8. Inaugurated my new air vest (a Two Point Softshell). Boy, sits it tight (or am I just fat?!). I hope it will stretch a bit over time. But I like it a lot better than the Hunter. I think that one will be up for sale soon...

Princess Carlotta was at her best, just one stare-freeze-growing-in-withers moment when neighbour's cat had the audance to walk around their lawn, haha.

Our combos of counter-bends, half-passes, shoulder-ins, travers etc. came fluently and softly - much fun for both of us.

I often see the benefits of our Intrinzen work (even though it wasn't much yet), as she is willing to be brave and walk through the scary bottleneck between pedestal and labyrinth, all by her own choice. Or the repeated crunches she did today and some nice little PWs as well.

It seems to me that her posture has become a lot stronger already - I feel so much more "elevated". And it is easy for her now to respond to my request to lift her inside shoulder.

We had slightly different opinions about canter work, as she thought it was too hot to go through too much effort, so started to canter, then slowed down after a dozen strides. OK, back to walk, and canter transition again. She finally gave in, being the wiser one of the two of us. So, I tried a flying change. After all, Cliff got two, so why not me!

I looked into the opposite direction and lifted my new inside hip, and I could feel the "jump" under the saddle when she changed lead. Her feet got a little bit muddled up, but she did it. It was a premiere for me too. Yay, thanks, Lolle!

March 5, 2019

At today's lesson, Carlotta had the honour to be the first one to set foot on the luxurious new layer of sand in Cliff's arena. Not completely, as we discovered various footprints of small animals who had tested the terrain already.

Of course, Carlotta saw gremlins, sharks and who-knows-what in every corner of the arena, but we managed eventually to get a bit of work done ;-)

When I ran out of steam, Cliff took over and got some canters which looked really nice.

Oh, and I love my new Point Two Softshell vest.

March 8, 2019

We are having a visitor over the weekend: Bindi, Vago's daughter.

The boys (Leo and Niko) are delighted about the female company, and there is a lot of happy running around in the garden. For the moment, they are all a bit pooped and having a nap.

Oh, looking into those Vago eyes, she definitely has her dad's head. *sniff*

But before she arrived, Carlotta and I did our daily half-hour in the arena. She still has problems with half-pass to the right and canter to the right, where she tries to do sharp turns and at times drops her shoulder. More work to be done.

Her canter to the left was very vivid today, and when I tried to get a flying lead change, we somehow got a bit mixed up with our intentions and almost landed in the fence. Narrow escape. It can get tricky when your horse reacts in the split of a second to your slightest cues and even (in this case undecided) intentions... ;-)

The lateral work is becoming lots of fun: very fluent and soft most of the time. And I am trying to keep my leg position where it belongs. I am adding a little video from Wednesday.

To finish the session, we did a bit of school walk. Feels so good when she becomes all proud and arched and upright and floats along with so much controlled energy. I automatically adopt a very proud posture myself! Then a few steps of piaffe attempts. At the end, she went into a bit of passage! Big jackpot and end of session.

March 9, 2019

Can't stop laughing with delight. Carlotta has made PW her default behaviour, as it looks like. We spent at least half of today's session in it, haha.

She is becoming very comfortable with it and offers it all the time. But today she started to lift herself really, really up in the withers, arching her neck so proudly and coiling her loins - all of her own making! That little bit of Intrinzen we did was apparently enough for her to change completely in her attitude and capacity.

She must have looked like a very noble alta escuela horse.

And when she heard my delighted giggles and jubilees, she lifted even higher, and her legs flew out straight in front of her. She is so light in the front end now that levades come almost automatically. As I didn't ask for this, I didn't encourage it, of course.

Backing is very easy now, with chin nicely tucked in and back lifted. The canters were animated again, she seemed to get carried away by her own beautiful movements ;-)

Such a pity that nobody was there to film my Carlotta Superstar.

From Julie:

YES now we have the proud movement that will change her nervous system - we speak about this in the video - I am sooooooo HAPPY for you and we also speak about the social engagement and how that also alters the nervous system which is what your joy is sending her. I would not worry about the crunches they will come when she wants to show you - yes the passage will come also after the PW - and gee we dont even have to train it!

and see all this is is giving her the opportunity to do something she is proud of - yep I understand how you are feeling

remember all horses regardless of their breeds begin with a great posture and it maybe that she is now rediscovering her true posture

maybe - for me it is really more like a proud behaviour that shows us they feel 'alive' this is why they are doing this in the fear situations - when their reliance is higher and the come down from the sympathetic state they do what makes them proud

I am not sure where all this will take me but I have wanted to work with Sarah for such a long time and at the present time Steinar has taken me as far as he can - I am grateful and I will help him if he needs it but I am pleased I am back where I want to be AND that this movement stuff is complementing it all OK so the video I am editing will help you see what she maybe going through - the three pathway model of the Autonomic nervous system is the key

our job is to get good at what is high and low and then support her

March 10, 2019

Can't stop laughing with delight. Carlotta has made PW her default behaviour, as it looks like. We spent at least half of today's session in it, haha.

She is becoming very comfortable with it and offers it all the time. But today she started to lift herself really, really up in the withers, arching her neck so proudly and coiling her loins - all of her own making! That little bit of Intrinzen we did was apparently enough for her to change completely in her attitude and capacity.

She must have looked like a very noble alta escuela horse.

And when she heard my delighted giggles and jubilees, she lifted even higher, and her legs flew out straight in front of her. She is so light in the front end now that levades come almost automatically. As I didn't ask for this, I didn't encourage it, of course.

Backing is very easy now, with chin nicely tucked in and back lifted. The canters were animated again, she seemed to get carried away by her own beautiful movements ;-)

Such a pity that nobody was there to film my Carlotta Superstar.

March 14, 2019

Yesterday I felt like trying the beautiful new bit Chris gave me for Carlotta. Princess made a few wrinkles around her nostrils and lips, but went well in it.

I have switched back to her usual one today, as she really seems to like this one. The other one will be for a bit later, in our more advanced stages.

Carlotta was in a good mood today, performed beautifully and often offered me crunches, sometimes a whole series of them. And some nicely elevated PWs. She seems to have come to the conclusions that, when I tip my hip (stop signal), this means that she should do either school walk or PW. She is so funny with her creative input.


March 15, 2019

Lovely lesson with Cliff yesterday, and he seems to notice that my own posture has also improved ;-)

Carlotta had her hands full to learn some new moves, like working in renvers and turning to the opposite direction from it. After a few repetitions, a whole series of switching between travers and renvers. Such a talented girl! Lots of homework for us.

And, for the first time at Cliff's place, she offered me a few tentative steps of PW! Took me completely by surprise. :-)

Then a big session where Cliff was teaching Chris and Renae jousting. This got pretty animated at times, but always under control.

I took "only" 250 photos and 20 videos... took me all yesterday to process it all. Thank you Chris for taking some photos and videos from my lesson.

It was very impressive to watch how the girls and their power steeds did pass after pass. And Cliff always watching closely and coaching. Fasacinating!

Video footage:

March 17, 2019

Phew, Valeta is a real little pest at feeding times! She knows she isn't allowed to come into my space when I arrive with the wheelbarrow full of hay, so she takes it on poor Aliyana!

This morning, Valeta was at her hay pile and I was about to pick up the wheelbarrow and make another pile, when suddenly Aliyana reared up at my side and turned into me. Fortunately she was able to avoid me. I noticed that Valeta had come running over from her pile, ears flat and trying to bite and push Aliyana. Believe me, she got a big swearing session and a set of schmackos!

Riding session went super-well, on the other hand. Carlotta was in PW mood. She kept offering it to me all the time. When she thought that my request for, let's say, backing or stopping was inapprorpiate, she immediately started PW'ing, and it got bigger and bigger. Must have looked great. And several times, she started to do Power Trot! Or maybe Power Corto? Couldn't tell, as it were only one or two steps ;-)

But it's great to see her so empowered and enthused!

I became creative again and started "jingling" on the reins a bit while she was in PW, to encourage her to tuck her chin in. Which she did. Wish I had had the camera on....

Threw in a bit of our homework as well, like working on longer cantering (which was very expressive and upwards today) or the laterals. Also some prompt turning upon neck rein. Cliff would have been pleased, I bet ;-)

Better get back to my photo and video processing. Then back to the Cliff clinic, Day 2, and take some more photos.

March 19, 2019

Caught Carlotta in PW mood today and fortunately had the camera turned on:

Got some very valuable coaching from Julie about it:

Carlotta seems to be using her back more

Ok so where you are cueing her with your hand - you are not using your upper body just before the 3 min mark - chest and shoulders up at this time

so now I think we need to hold the crunch a little more when you ask - practice on the ground first and remember her standing posture

no we all do it but we need to raise our chest when we raise our hands (this way the horse feels it from the seat as well - can you raise your vertebrae we need to use the pointer - when she crunches AS she crunches move the pointer to in front of her head - here look at this - so no more clicking if she is using her neck

At 9.09 CLICK CLICK CLICK that is her autonomy and wonderful - she wanted a game!!!!!! and under saddle to boot!!!!! see how she then tried to go straight into a PW

but yep I see maybe you cued her at the same time as she wanted to PW hahahahaha - and she let the PW slide

and again at 9.27!!!! that was a late click LOL - go with this - trust her I would break this ride up allot and go into the labyrinth love the PW at 10.20 ish but see how she is dragging her back legs? this is a capacity issue it was a better one at the end for the back legs

March 22, 2019

Was a last minute decision to participate at Arne's clinic. But a good one - it was such a wonderful learning experience, as always.

Chris and I shared a rider spot, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It was becoming pretty hot by the time of our second ride, and I had my usual heat-related difficulties, but managed to stay until the end of the session.

Chris rode Rev in a sidepull in the morning, and he behaved very well and shone with the exercises. Carlotta was very well behaved during the whole clinic and did her best to solve all the puzzles Arne gave us.

We worked on combining laterals (shoulder-in and renvers) on a straight line in the middle of the arena in preparation of flying lead changes. This was quite a challenge for us, but started to work out well. But, just as I wanted to try it in canter, some cows walked into next-door paddock. Carlotta spotted them (arena is open) and froze. From then on, her birdie was gone, and no chance to get it back. She did cooperate a bit, each time she was looking into the other direction, but that was only momentary and she was still tense. Anyway, was the end of the session, so never mind.

The theory part after lunch was very inspiring again. The influence of the rider's seat and cues on the balance and way of moving of the horse. We had heard most of it before, but it was good to be reminded of how much impact very small things have.

In the afternoon, Katherine wanted to work on preparation of piaffe, and Arne gave her and her horse great help via lateral work. I have taken lots of video of this, as it will come in handy for Chris and me once we will be at this level! :-)

Chris tried a few little piaffes, and Rev put in a good effort. When I did a brief try, Arne said drily "that was very lateral" and the audience burst into laughter. Including myself, as I knew very well what it looks like when my gaited lady tries this ;-)

Arne then asked us to walk together in patterns of shoulder-in, then circle, then travers, then half-pass. I was so focussed on trying this that I didn't wait for Chris (who had waited for me) and was too far ahead. Sorry, Chris!

During the afternoon session, Carlotta wanted to do a bit of Intrinzen when Arne was busy with Chris, so I let her, and she started offering a series of very nice crunches and once walked off in PW. Looks like she is becoming able to generalize this now and do it in unknown locations. Bingo!

March 24, 2019

Carlotta had yesterday off, but this morning we put into application Arne's homework tasks. I really tried to lift my base, and Carlotta responded beautifully.

After some 10 minutes of work, I "handed the (mental) reins over to her". She was in play mode and offered me several joyfull skips, then PWs, some of them quite spectacular. And we managed to improve the crunches considerably, in height as well as in duration and quality. Nice quantum leap forward. Thank you, Princess!

Julie's comments:

not sure if the first one got through so here it is again

although I would normally ask for the pole to be higher it worked well where she had it - the idea is (for the most part she did it) to click at the crunch

yes as I said I would not be holding it under the nose but a little in front - but it is working this way for Bersi -yep shape the lift a little more but now and again delay the click - a few small one delayed, small again

it takes time and often it is because we actually do not wait long enough to see if we can get more crunch - can you crunch a little more ??? so our horse takes the 'easy' way out as this is the one we click for all the time

yes just ask again (your mind will be saying - ok that was good now try to get this a bit bigger)

OK so your friend is using a form of a keep going signal - yes - but we need to build duration in normal clicker ways to help our horse understand this - I use yes yes yes YES (click) or sometimes x x x x xX(and X loud is the click)

in the first one, she is really crunching but you are not seeing the crunch - place your had lightly on the wither as at the time she really lifts up ( really well) - you ask for her to focus on your target. Can you see at 1.55 you clicked before the crunches (the two before this) - she gets herself ready at 1.55 and then you click - so maybe if you feel her lift it may help time the click. So crunch look click. at the 2.50 ish mark she is processing - wait till she cues you

In the second one - cruch look click (hahahaha asking for her to look at the target is not going to work - so think of it this way - can you take your neck out of the crunch - OK so crunch - now neck now click (it does work) - yep so same as the first take the figuring out 'out' of this by placing your hand behind her wither and feeling for the lift - as she lifts can you ask her to look a little more forward - and click before she looses all the crunch. so try it this way and see how you go - she is doing good crunches (better in the first than the second) just a little tweaking - crunch head click - it was a pretty good one at 2. 00 though - 2.21 when you delayed this was really good - you did crunch more look click!!!!!!!! Processing then again at 2.44 - let her process and wait for her to cue you - she will....thats why she walked away (as the end of the first) LOL.....breathe and look at the scenery

no you did not miss the crunches you just clicked too early - yes for sure there were some good ones there

see she heard the click but kept going - this tells me that there may be some inconsistency about clicking and treating

yeah I think she is trying to process and when she does and she is not given the time she kind of zones out a little - try and work on when she looks like she was in these two videos you take a step back and wait for her - just need to be consistent with this and she will be fine

March 26, 2019

Still pretty windy this morning, and cold, so Carlotta was in active mood. She put in a few spooks in place and was generally pretty animated. Got some nice work on the combined laterals Arne had suggested. Then she took over and went straight into crunch and PW. Lots and lots of them. Funnily enogh, after each spook, she started doing PW!

And lots of skips, several even in gait! Quite elevated too. Looks like she is becoming really playful and creative. Once she started trotting (or gaiting?) in PW for several steps.


yes :-) she is using her ventral vagal circuit to triate through her nervous system - this is EXACTLY what we want to happen and how I am now using these things we learnt in intrinzen -you should post this to Sarah Schlote in the human horse bond page

I am convinced that the crunches and the PW do not work because of what the project says but rather what Sarah says - hey Steinar had his choice to get in on this but his loss - LOl - I am speaking to him tomorrow so who knows what will happen in the future

March 27:

Much more of it this morning. Each time Carlotta wants to do something else than what I suggest, she first tries to touch my stirrup and then immediately does PW. To a point where this morning I finally said: sorry, girl, we are doing one or two more of my things, and then you can have your way again.

What was really cool, was that instead of spooking, she did a crunch today. She really loves doing skips. I hope that this will not turn into a monster, i.e. getting so elevated that I will have problems sitting them...


Interesting can you try and video this next time i think i need to see it and then we can see if it is something we can tweak

The skips put on cue at the time she does them click and treat. ...a verbal cue then it will only be done on cue

no need for PW today from her end then?


She did really well, and it was very visible how she gradually understood and processed everything. Some really nice crunches and PW to start with, but then she became so enthused with the skip that i felt a bit like the sorcerer's apprentice: The spirits that I called...

And then I realised that the recording hadn't worked, grrrr. All because I didn't want to waste your time, so pressed the button from her back. From that angle I can't check whether the little red light is on.

Julie: hahahahaha it is sounding really good - as long as you keep the 'hop' said as she skips for a while and click and treat and then start not saying 'hop' when she skips and do not click then follow with the word 'hop' and when she skips click and treat

March 28, 2019

So, put gear back on Carlotta, turned camera on again and asked her to perform again for me. She was willing, the good girl. By that time, the skip had become a lot more pronounced and frequent. In fact all she wanted to do was that!

At around 3:58 she offered a levade, but I declined, as I don't like her to do it. She has a tendency to go up very high very soon. NOT good in my book!

But she is already experimenting with using skips while moving, and even a little bit in corto, unless it was a half-hearted canter, hehehe. She seems to go in quantum leaps at the moment.


OK so she is moving allot more forward so wonderful - think about when you are on the ground practicing your skips that you are ready and move forward - so it becomes a skip into a canter not a 'jump up'

when she starts to get a bit 'above the bit' this would be when I would ask for a crunch as she is walking

yes these skips she needs to be more forward - she is loosing her crunch when she does it - so allot of practice on the ground here will help - yes I know she is enthusiastic but this will come as she starts in the crunch - skip (hop) you move forward at the same time

She is offering all sorts of things, now that her autonomy is growing, so I feel it's normal that some unwanted stuff happens. And she wasn't offended, when I gently said I didn't like it.

yes that is true, she is allot more active - you have to be happy with this

definitely am, as long as it stays in my comfort zone, which it does for now. Not sure how well I could sit big Power Canters though....

It looks like a new transition period right now, and it's good that she experiments so happily.

yes thats for sure. you will be fine and she will as well - remember the ground is the better place to finesse now

March 29, 2019

OK, have been eager again. Took Carlotta into the arena for 10 min of groundwork. We played with crunches, then movement. I ran at her side and when she was cantering, said "hop", and she did! She was very happy to move, and at one stage, took off bucking and fartig :D

But always happy to come back and do some more. Head is still high, but I hope it will eventually happen....

Julie: crunch hop :-D let her take the time when she goes off and she will come back :D

March 30, 2019

Interesting again this morning. I was hardly in the saddle when Carlotta already walked off in PW. So I said, no thanks, let's do something else first. Which she accepted. After 10 minutes, I stopped and let her decide. She stood and did crunch after crunch. Very nice onces, some a bit extended in time. Big praise. Then she decided to practice her skips.

Some of them were considerably higher (as it felt and looked) than yesterday's. She kinda proudly lifted her front end in an elegant Andalusian way. And several times from that lift, she took 1 or 2 strides of canter! She is so good at figuring things out!

I wasn't sure where this would lead to, so ended up saying "gently", and she went into normal PWs instead. When she crunched, three or four times, I said "hop" while she was in it, but she didn't associate the cue with the crunch (yet).

Forgot: at the beginning of the session, she did a nice, elevated canter. And the skips+ steps of canter felt like those Panther Canters that are shown in some of Steinar's videos.

Julie: thats great - I think her PW is also becoming a good proud movement so thats great!

March 31, 2019

Coudln't ride yesterday, too many showers, but today I was determined! ;-) Poor Carlotta shivered a bit when I took her rug off, but was happy to work for me. We ran through our homework (another Cliff lesson tomorrow) for 10 minutes, then she wanted to play. She is like a Ferrari: from 0 to 100 in 2 secs :-D Which means, she switches between "work" and "play" very quickly and happily. A few crunches, then off into PW. Then she suddenly went into a series of very elevated canter skips. Eeek! I ended up saying: Nonono! and she stopped. It worries me, as I know how quickly this can escalate with her.

So we carried on with some "normal" PW, looks like she understand that she shouldn't go overboard too much. I hope at least ;-)

She was also happy to do a bit of normal corto and canter in between. During a few of them, I said "hop", and, after a sec of hesitation, she did!

Now, I will have to work out how I can keep her within a comfortable way of doing that elevated canter.....

In the worst case, we can always reserve it to liberty work on the ground.

April 1, 2019

While waiting for Chris who was running late, Carlotta and I played a bit in the arena. She was happy to canter and skip and hop around happily. Also did lovely crunches. She still isn't tucking her chin in, but her back definitely goes up and sometimes she brings her weight back when she crunches.

During the lesson with Cliff (he said "let's work on canter", so we did), she was quite engaged and eager to perform, so still struggling a bit at times. But most of the time, she used her new high-and-wide canter. I had to adapt to it and Cliff gave me some good hints about the use of my hands and legs and weight. So it must have looked quite nice in consequence. Didn't bring the camera unfortunately.

I said to Chris that the canter felt really elevated in front, but she said, yeah, certainly for Carlotta (as it was always pretty flat and smooth before), but looked indeed like a "normal" Andalusian canter. But after all, that one is high and "jumped". I have enough opportunities to see Andys at work...

Anyway, very happy with my girl. Cliff noted how much more she uses her back and engages her hind end now. And those muscles on her bum are very impressive.

Oh forgot: during the groundwork session, she decided she wanted to practice levades as well. I was happy to let her experiment. Very funny how she tried various movement, like shifting her weight back, then lowering her croup, then lifting her front end in slow motion. She got lots of clicks and treats, of course. At one stage, when I didn't click her for a nice skip, she stopped and looked at me sternly! Had to laugh.


sounds great for sure - I forgot to film the crunch with the neck out yesterday but will do it for you. If you have a clicker then you will click as it is habit - I only use X when I am not holding a clicker. it is good that the movement work is helping her posture and her canter

It has made a huge difference!

yes but importantly for me she is having some autonomy and having a ball I noticed this morning that, at times, she was kinda coming a bit towards me sideways, as if she was insecure and was seeking a bit of help through contact.

Lots of autonomy and enjoying it SOOOO much. And so do I.

let her do what she wants to do when she goes sideways it is more akin to her finding a threshold for herself to get herself more collected in the moment - something you may not have noticed may have worried her

We are really warming up to ground"work"!

yes you will even more - groundwork is really good as it takes out the 'worry' of the larger movements for us

Possible. It didn't feel threatening or whatever

and also the larger movements without having to worry about if our horse has the capacity to carry us during them

Good point!

no a sideways movement is not threatening - it is a slow motion movement from the horse who wants to take a little more time to work out their 'safe spot'

It is such a wonderful thing that they can decide themselves whether they are ready or not.

yes thats very true

That sounds very right, Julie. It felt that way when she did it. Like reaching out for me. Difficult to describe.

April 2, 2019

After the ride, it was playtime. Carlotta experimented with new movements, some cute badass, running and kicking joyfully, and towards the end, came up with some quite creative levades

For those who aren't tired yet of my constant talking about Carlotta's progress as a high class riding horse, here is another little video from today.

Still trying to put the skip on cue and ignore the unwanted ones. Will take a while, as she is so fond of it ;-)

We are trying to put into practice Cliff's yesterday's exercise (a really cheeky one indeed!): ride around something, in this case my orange pylon, with head facing the pylon and hindquarters moving around it in a bigger circle, BUT with the horse being NOT bent! Sounds like nothing, but just try this!!!

Carlotta managed one or two short correct moments of it, which is at least a beginning.

Yesterday, when I fumbled with this at Cliff's place, she got really grumpy about it. No wonder, I must have been pretty clumsy in my asking. Sorry, Carlotta! But today, it felt a lot more promising already :-)

She was also beginning to combine the skips with striking off into canter and tried for several strides in a row. Was her own input. Good girl!

Video from Julie about crunches:

Exchange with Julie (easy to tell us apart, as Julie writes everytghithing in lower case letters):

This morning during the ride, Carlotta only 2 or 3 times briefly did little skips, which I ignored and then she didn't offer them anymore. But very keen on immediately throwing in PW when I asked for something she didn't wanna do. I allowed her to do it a few times, then asked to please do a bit what I wanted.

When we practised Cliff's difficult exercise, immediately afterwards she used PW to let off inner steam.

Have watched your video about crunches. My problem is that she does not (resp. cannot?) arch her neck, but instead uses her neck most of the time with chin out. I can get very small beginnings of it, when I click very early when she barely starts to lift a fraction, but haven't seen much progress for quite some time. I wish you were closer so you could work a bit with her. I am sure that I am the one who does something wrong, but can't get improvement.

She does lift her withers and back from time to time, but nothing as beautiful as Sharney does sigh Will try again this afternoon. And all the other days to come.... Will rewatch your video several times, so I don't miss the details. Have started to use exexex while she is doing PW.


oh thats more like it PW when she needs to self regulate :-) - it is still the same with the neck - just manipulate the actual scope - to being further towards the ground (like Catrine did with Bersi)

the idea is that she knows this well enough now not to get a click for 'less' so ask again but be sure to click the second time so she is not offended

thats good if she is beginning to understand a keep going signal - anything that is easy for you will work - xxxx is just something I used to use with SATS so it stuck

syn alia training systems - just a different way to look at fear issues (some parts good some parts too off with the fairies for me) - the second time ask for less so we set her up for success - just for a little while for you and her to get into the habit of not feeling the need to click or expecting a click

But it makes a lot of sense to see how you do it in your video, i.e. for example rest the pointer on her withers or just behind. Will do this a lot more often now, and see how we go.

yes they need to know what it is for - so even just stand use your pointer and when she moves her head towards it click and treat - do this a couple of times and then say can you crunch and do this?

plenty of time for everything! just play around with it in different positions - we dont want her to touch it just 'follow' it

April 4, 2019

My exchange with Julie:

This morning during the ride, Carlotta only 2 or 3 times briefly did little skips, which I ignored and then she didn't offer them anymore. But very keen on immediately throwing in PW when I asked for something she didn't wanna do. I allowed her to do it a few times, then asked to please do a bit what I wanted.

When we practised Cliff's difficult exercise, immediately afterwards she used PW to let off inner steam.

Have watched your video about crunches. My problem is that she does not (resp. cannot?) arch her neck, but instead uses her neck most of the time with chin out. I can get very small beginnings of it, when I click very early when she barely starts to lift a fraction, but haven't seen much progress for quite some time. I wish you were closer so you could work a bit with her. I am sure that I am the one who does something wrong, but can't get improvement.

She does lift her withers and back from time to time, but nothing as beautiful as Sharney does sigh Will try again this afternoon. And all the other days to come.... Will rewatch your video several times, so I don't miss the details. Have started to use exexex while she is doing PW.

oh thats more like it PW when she needs to self regulate - it is still the same with the neck - just manipulate the actual scope - to being further towards the ground (like Catrine did with Bersi)

Think she is beginning to understand.

the idea is that she knows this well enough now not to get a click for 'less' so ask again but be sure to click the second time so she is not offended

Ah, I see.

thats good if she is beginning to understand a keep going signal - anything that is easy for you will work - xxxx is just something I used to use with SATS so it stuck

Even if the second time still isn't good then?

Yes, seems easy to apply. I said it a bit too strongly, I suppose. Will be softer from now on. And she did put in a bit more effort indeed

What is SATS?

For crunches: when I used the pointer from the beginning, she was confused, and when I added it once she began to crunch, it didn't have much effect.

syn alia training systems - just a different way to look at fear issues (some parts good some parts too off with the fairies for me) - the second time ask for less so we set her up for success - just for a little while for you and her to get into the habit of not feeling the need to click or expecting a click

But it makes a lot of sense to see how you do it in your video, i.e. for example rest the pointer on her withers or just behind. Will do this a lot more often now, and see how we go. Goody. Will do!

yes they need to know what it is for - so even just stand use your pointer and when she moves her head towards it click and treat - do this a couple of times and then say can you crunch and do this?

Now you made we want to run out and try again, hahaha.

NO NO NO - relax...chill .....wait hahahahaha

Breathing out.... I am.... relaaaxed!

hahaha! plenty of time for everything! just play around with it in different positions - we dont want her to touch it just 'follow' it

April 5, 2019

All good this morning. Carlotta didn't skip anymore, but did nice PWs, while I said exexex. She really puts in the effort and wants to please me.

We worked a bit on the dreaded staying straight when walking around with hind legs around the pylon. She managed a few brief ones, so got big praise, and we stopped.

Very windy today, and the gardener was doing noisy stuff nearby. I didn't have time to try things on the ground. She had offered me a few crunches, but I clicked very quickly when her neck wasn't engaged yet.

Will watch your video again and try crunches tomorrow on the ground. Or the beginning of them and following the pointer.

Had to abandon the idea of riding on Saturday, as neighbour's horses and ponies were in the paddock just across the road. All lined up at the fence and dancing and prancing while I was in Carlotta's saddle. She was so "elevated" and tense that I dismounted after 5 minutes and did some groundwork instead.

Tried to do the crunches the way you show in your video. She got the idea after 2 or 3 repetitions, that I wanted crunch then turning head towards pointer. And offered it by herself in the following. Has done each time since!

Also did some nice playing with PW and skips. And today with putting the levades on cue. When I lift the pointer and my other hand with index finger raised and say "levade", she goes straight up right in front of me and tries to walk on her hind legs.

And Valeta, my 2 y.o. filly was so funny yesterday: when I took Carlotta back to the paddock, Valeta made it clear that she had watched us closely when doing crunches... and suddenly started to lift her neck! I am sure that she will be a lot of fun to work with, once she will be old enough

Riding is going well. She still hates the exercise with nose pointed to pylon and moving hind end around, while staying straight, but is starting to be able to do it briefly now.

Today, when during PW, I said "Hop", she went into a series of skips - it actually felt like an elevated canter in slow motion. Big praise and end of session.

yea for Greg! The painting looks great - sounds like you have had some great times with Carlotta and Valeta is already learning! use those times when she feels tense to think about how you can guide her to calm her nervous system - sounds more like social engagement so take advantage of this and see if you can get her to bond with you when she is 'excited'

Yes, we did that after I dismounted. I had left the saddle on, just taken the headstall off, and we played at liberty. Each time she started to stare at the other horses, I walked away, but she almost immediately followed me, so we could continue. And she often uses crunch and PW now for calming herself down. Just this particular situation didn't feel safe to stay in the saddle. I really don't need another fall, so did the safe thing instead.

oh yes I would also want you to get off her - so now we dont want to walk away - let her digest what she is seeing and when she looks like she is 'done' cue a PW - hahahaha about Greg!

so we are giving her time to focus on her own nervous system and you are there for support

OK, so I just stand at her side and wait?


It did feel like she wanted to connect with me and was looking towards my support. Very subtle and mostly a feeling, but that's what it seemed to be.

it is also a great opportunity to see how she regulates her nervous system

yes thats what it would feel like - so we just need to give her time to see if she needs help or can do it - then cue the PW - if you feel she is stuck or she has seemingly settled herself a little It's on my to-do list

this is the kind of stuff that Sarah teaches

I am getting the hang of handling all this, I have the impression.

April 9, 2019

10 mm of rain last night. Much needed...

Having lots of great moments during our daily riding session. Carlotta comes up with something creative almost every time. I had gone back to doing some groundwork, upon Julie's suggestion, when her movements under saddle started to become pretty elevated and I wasn't sure where this would end ;-)

So, now we have a lot of movement - she copies me when I start "trotting" or "cantering" and add skips when I say "hop". Yesterday this developped into a whole series of skips which looked like a very elevated slow motion canter. Lovely!

And today she offered it to me under saddle. I said "hop", and off she went into a succession of beautiful, almost collected and partly very lifted canter strides. She got jackpot and end of session for it.

I also started to put the levade on cue (just couldn't resist). She loves this exercise - goes straight up, holds her position, then tries to walk forward a few steps. There must be a tiny stallion hidden in her mind to make her so fond of this type of work....

And Valeta, my little 2 y.o., has shown that she is a copycat: she had watched me closely when I occasionally asked Carlotta for a crunch in the paddock. And suddenly she started to arch her neck and slightly lift her withers!!! With SUCH a look in my direction!

At feeding time, Leo (borzoi) can do the most beautiful terre-a-terres! Maybe I should put this on cue?

Exchange with Julie:

Fun this morning again. Carlotta has transferred her new skill of repeated skips-slow motion-canter under saddle. She surprised me a bit with the first series, but then I went along happily. She didn't feel like backing yet again and tried other stuff, but this time, I insisted and finally she agreed

Haha, if she offers a new creation each day, we will end up with capriole under the rider... with this rider on the ground. ROFL

Just joking, she behaves really well and only very rarely still offers something I didn't ask for (other than PW, which she just loves too much)


Exactly! Isn't she a Star?!

for sure. it sounds like you are very happy with how you both are doing

Over the moon indeed. I would never have thought this possible!

and I am sure there is more to come

April 11, 2019

Got some lovely slow-motion, high spanish canters this morning from The Princess. She is so keen to show off what she can do! When we did a bit of groundwork after the ride, she did some skips and canters and 2 levades on cue, then had enough and wanted to go and have brekkie. Which she got, with los of praise.

have fun glad it is going well

April 12, 2019

Made a painting for Cliff, called "The Horseman", showing him on his PRE Paco. Giving it to him, to thank him for all the wonderful help he provided to Carlotta and me in our journey towards great riding.

April 15, 2019

Our clinic with Anke Hawke was wonderful. Another big step in the right direction (softness and lightness). We have decided to bring Anke over every 3 or 4 months. All the participants were hooked and enthusiastic to continue on this path, even the "bush riders" and such who would have never dreamt to do dressage

It has been a fantastic experience in body awareness and lightness, and how I suddenly was able to actually recognise when she was shifting her weight to the "wrong" side and thus brought me out of balance slightly.

And Anke told me how to remedy to a lot of thing and influence them. Such an eye opener. She said that it was such a pleasure to be now able to work on finesse!

Ok so thats good so what I was seeing with the hind issue was a shifting of weight the wrong way?

I think it was. When you have time, look at the groundwork videos I took. Anke was able to straighten her out very quickly. And the most amazing thing: when I rode Carlotta this morning, just after getting on, I was about to shift my weight to straighten her out, but: she was already straight!!!!

Another interesting thing: we were very busy with the things Anke taught us, but in between, I gave Carlotta a break and let her stand still. Anke stood just in front when suddenyly Carlotta lifted into a few crunches. Anke jumped a bit back and started to say: No!, but I laughed and explained to her what it was.

And during the walk phases, Carlotta didn't really offer PW, but I could feel how she organised her body into a much more elevated frame, which felt like a mini PW. Pity I forgot to turn the video on the first morning, as she did some really lovely canters. Stupid me! We did a second session in the evening, but it wasn't as good. Never mind...

Anke has a lot of respect for Carlotta's mind of her own. Seems that her own mare, Georgie Girl, is very similar and also can put up some quite impressive stunts, when she feels like it, hahaha. They must be soul sisters.

April 16, 2019

Another Anke Hawke clinic.

The clinic hosting was particularly challengeing this time, as we had several dropouts close to the date, the most spectacular one just the day before the clinic, due to an accident. Thank you to my friends who helped out with asking around to fill the vacant spots. They went to a couple of "newbies" who hadn't thought of riding in this type of clinic, but became completely hooked.

Everybody was very keen and enthusiastic and soaked up Anke's many information. She is incredible: spent the whole two days, tirelessly talking her students literally through each step. And always with a smile and so attentive to and aware of the tiniest detail and able to always offer a solution and a way of adressing the problem and getting good results.

I had the first spot in the morning, and we had decided to do my lessons at home at my place (convenient as Anke stayed with us). Meant to get up early, so Anke could have a little brekkie, then meet me outside, where I had saddled Carlotta in the meantime. By 7:45 we got started, so we would be over at Narrawin in time for the 9 a.m. lesson.

Anke did a little bit of groundwork with Lolle, to straighten her out (she can be pretty crooked at times), then I hopped on, and we worked most of the time at the walk, especially on straightness in her and more body awareness and softness in me.

Anke noted that we both had made big progess since she saw us last November (a big thank you goes to Cliff for his great teaching, which made this happen!), and that it was great that now we could work on finesse as a result!

And we did. We went along, step by step, and Anke commented. Sit a bit to the inside, soften your inside rein, sit to oustside, open your outside hip, lift your inside rein, lower your outside rein, sit to inside, lift your ear, look at her outside ear, open inside leg, open it more, soften... use less rein in shoulder-in... And after a while, I became very aware of what was going on and started to correct things myself. Which Anke spotted immediately of course. Wowsers, felt amazing!

I wanted to do a bit of canter work as well, so Anke guided us through some moves which allowed Carlotta to balance herself better for going into canter. And her canter was quite nice and elevated (jumped) in front. We practised canter-stop-canter-stop after only a few steps of it. I could feel how happy and balanced Carlotta was with this. Anke also gave me some pointer for preparing relaxed flying changes. Will have to work on this now.

After we were finished, I noticed that I had placed my camera on one of the fence posts, but had forgotten to turn it on. Grrrr.

Anke hopped on and commented "one of those days, you will notice that I have taken your saddle with me". Hahaha. I offered her my second saddle of the same type which I want to sell, but she liked it less than my oldie. ;-) Anyway, she worked a bit more on everything we had started during the lesson. Then we jumped into the car, as we had got carried away, and we just made it to Chris' place, where Jane and her mare were already saddled up and ready. I went back home to get my chores done, then joined them again a bit later.

All the riders were very attentive to her instructions and had nice results with their horses. Would lead too far to talk about them all here. Will add some photos below. There are some 80 or 90 videos on my youtube channel as well, for those who want to check.

And after the clinic in the evening, Anke still wasn't worn out, so we fit in another little ride, this time with the camera turned on, and Carlotta gracefully agreed to cooperate and go through the morning tasks again. Anke then hopped on Carlotta and had a little ride. She noted how much softer she has become, and much more of a pleasure to ride. Still an opinionated Princess, but such fun to be in her saddle. From Anke's stories about her lovely mare Georgie Girl, these two dames seem to have a lot in common, haha.

April 17, 2019

I had a ,look at some of them - she really is just using classical in hand work and if Carlotta goes well with this then that is great and informs you that her issues are capacity (as I thought) and she has /had some emotional parking brakes. It just depends on your view of the training scale - in Intrinzen capacity is last whereas in classical work capacity is first. Sharney goes well with in hand classical work but Star does not - why? I feel because Sharney is similar to Carlotta and Star is a HUGE functional movement nightmare - this is why he goes better with intrinzen

Very interesting, Julie. Yes, Carlotta has taken a lot out of it, so I am happy to use it here nd there.

April 18, 2019

Did get our daily ride in at 5 pm. Carlotta was great. We started with a little bit of Intrinzen groundwork. I had set the mat in the arena (folded), and we walked towards it. Carlotta sniffed it right away, and I gave her a few treats which she ate from it. Then she decided to touch it with one foot, and I called it a day on this. Left the mat lying there for the riding session.

She still hates Cliff's exercise to walk around the pole with her hind legs making the bigger circle. OKish to the left, but to the right... she tried to persuade me that she could do PWs instead. After a while I let her, and she did some real beauties. Then I said "hop", and she did a whole series of lovely skips - slow-motion canter. We stopped on that.

Oh, and during the groundwork, I asked for a few crunches as well, and for the first time ever, she did some nice little ones with her neck arched and her chin tucked in! Small, but definitely crunches. Hurray!

I have a question for you: must have mentioned that she offered me some pretty high levades with remaining on her hind legs for 2 or 3 seconds, then taking small steps forward while still in the air. I am a bit concerned that she might do this under saddle, like she has done before, and this scares me. Definitely don't want it. Not sure whether I can get it sufficiently under stimulus control. So maybe I shouldn't encourage it for now? At least until she is much more advanced and balanced?

It looks fabulous, but safety first, says my gut.

BTW, you did a great job with the video editing for Sarah!

good call with the mat - OK so look at the PW as her trying to get some courage and feel good - I would go with it and dump that exercise - so pleased for you with the crunches. The levades you put on cue on the ground and make it a verbal cue and if she offers it under saddle breathe cue and stop get off and click and treat...AGHHH I hate the theory one but more like me for the video with Star - thanks

April 19, 2019

Good morning Julie, just a shortie before grabbing Carlotta. Yes, PW seems to work for her this way now. I just exexex it a bit and reward if/when it becomes more spectacular. Sometimes, I just let her do it and do nothing myself, apart from saying "yes" or "good".

Can't really dump that exercise, as Cliff will wanna see it next lesson, so I work on it very briefly, like once to each side. Once he will have come up with something new, I certainly will dump it

For the levades, I started putting it on cue with verbal cue already ("Levaaaade" + raising my hand vertically), it isn't solid yet and she seems less keen about it now. Yesterday, when I cued her for it, she kinda came towards me more before shifting her weight back. Didn't feel right, so I left it there. If she went up so high under saddle again, not sure whether I would be able to breathe, haha. You mean cue her for it whilhe she does it? Wouldn't she think then that this is what I want?! Especially if I dismount afterwards. This is my jackpot for doing something great. Sorry, a bit confused here.

lets renegoiate the exercise for cliff - ask - do a little and immediately do a PW - see how that goes. Yes if a horse does something we dont like we cue it as they do it and always cue it as they do it and then they learn the only time they do it is when we cue for it

It's just so scary to for me when she rears up so high. Wasn't that way when I was younger, but it is now.

at least now she is listening to me with video 1 - just work on the cue on the ground so that is really tight first - yes I know it can be scary but if it happens remember on the ground to put the forward movement in - RUN forward like hell just as she lifts

Yup, that is basically what I did for the Cliff exercise: 3 or 4 steps into one direction, then allow her to PW right out of it. She always tries to flee into PW when she feels that I am looking at the pylon and am about to line her up to it.

Ahaa! As I am facing her, will have to turn around and run then. Didn't think of that approach. It seemed like a lovely dance when she went up close to me and then tried to walk a few small steps forward.

Gosh, what a broad pallet of things are coming out of all this.

Again for the levades: in my feeling, if I start running away immediately, I suppose she won't feel encouraged to hold it, like it should be done for a real levade?

first we want the correct elevation and then when we have that we can finesse

April 23, 2019

Have started to play a bit with 2 1/2 y.o. Valeta. She has a very inquisitive mind and is as brave as a lion, a completely different personality from Carlotta :-D

She willingly followed me away from the other horses and into the arena, where I had placed the gymnastic mat.

Didn't take Valeta long to explore it and soon step on it, stand on it, walk over it. Eager little beaver!

Today, my great osteo Caroline was here to give Carlotta a treatment.

She felt very stiff and uncomfortable when I rode her last time, so it was definitely time to have her checked.

Caroline found soreness and tension in her shoulders, back and left hamstring on hind leg. She gave Carlotta an intensive, though soft massage (Carlotta hates stronger ones, as the past had shown), then one of the sacro-cranial treatments Carlotta loves so much.

We will keep up with more frequents treatments now, to keep her happy and in optimal shape.

Decided to give her a couple of weeks off riding, so she can heal in peace.

April 25, 2019

How do you "unglue" a very sticky pony from your side? ;-)

I had planned to give Valeta a number of interesting toys to explore, but all she wanted was to stay and play with me...

Ah well, never mind, let's play a bit together then (second video).

She will always amaze me with her unflappability and brave heart. Note that big box being whirled around by the wind, and she only spooked very briefly and mildly, then immediately came back to me. And her being ready to see whether she can pick up the mat with her teeth... :-D

Or push the ball around... or just walk over the ground poles, and then figure out how to step into the tyre.

Or, at the end, when she suddenly decided she could go up with both front feet on the pedestal! And you can see the wheels spinning in her head, deciding whether she should step up as well with her hind feet. Which I decided was too early, so directed her back down.

All this from a not even 3 y.o. without any previous training of any sort, apart from the very basics. But she was incredibly cool bananas as a three months old filly already.

May 3, 2019

Was very hard not to ride, but I held out! Had her for a short lesson at Cliff's (about 10 to 15 minutes), very calm and low-key, just a couple of short canters. Decided I will ride her very briefly every other day for a while and do groundwork (very brief too) on the days off.

A looong exchange with Julie:

Ok sounds good and good that the head wrap by itself did not cause any worry for her - I think that doing too much (remedial wise) is far too much proprioception etc for a horse to handle. If her wither and shoulders were sore then that may be the reason she does not want to PW at the moment yes, my feeling too. She was happy to walk with me and just throw in those little skips here and there. With that look from the corner of her eye

I am doing a bit of CT with Valeta each time I go out there (feeding). She stands VERY politely with her head turned a bit away

great on both counts - sounds like it will occupy you enough for a couple of days LOL

Also teaching Aliyana to have her feet handled at liberty. Chris visited the other day and was quite please to see how much more confident and friendly Aliyana has become. Funny how a few seconds per day make such a difference.

yes good - and yes I agree with you a few seconds a day make a huge difference, but we can go the other way too - too long and things become punishing.

Will bring Valeta in again soon. I have kept a biiig carton (from our new vacuum cleaner), should be perfect for her to investigate and play with.

Kool so remember SEEKING - let her work it out That's true. Working on myself very hard to keep things short

Yep, it's a good opportunity for her, after I messed it up with the mat, hahaha.

oh I got the first lot of videos from one of the people who I said I would help with worming (clicker training way) - it was nearly 40 mins long FOR THE FIRST time AND she has decided she wont be using the clicker training way - that was the basis that I was going to help her for the videos...gee some have a hide

it will be good for you to see the difference when they are in SEEKING mode

I know a couple of people like this. Have wasted waaaay too much time on them! Fortunately there are others who are worth helping.

If it doesn't rain (threatening to right now), I will put up the camera. yes but I now have to help her as it was really bad and very controlling - I know her very well so I will do it for her but it wont be used in my DVD's LOL

looking forward to video

I might sit on the pedestal and just do nothing. I bet Valeta will come to me, but I hope she will eventually turn away and investigate her new toys

for sure

Now... that didn't go as planned - Valeta refused to go into seeking mode (apart from verfy briefly once or twice), but preferred staying glued to me

hahahaha she wanted you to engage with her with click and treat - you were more inviting - take it as a compliment

see how she did with the ball and you back was to her...engage with this

OK, makes me feel good that you say that. It was sooo hard to ignore her invitations!

no dont ignore her invitations have fun with it - she wants to engage so engage - or else not engaging is punishing for her

And she lets me know that she doesn't like to be ignored!

careful to reward the movement towards - so when she is approaching with her leg click and treat - what happened to your manners games???? do you want some videos? I think you need to use a clicker she is not registering that there is a click (before the treat). hahaha the tyre is the better option for the moment - so she is seeking your treats and this is because she does not understand the relationship - so you need to click

see how she is pawing at the tyre reward this

A bit more work with the mat this morning. Gradually getting better. Yeah, I know... I occasionally did tug on that rope, but note how she always quickly brought her focus back to the mat and was willing to give it anoyther try. So, maybe we are getting somewhere eventually

Also wanted to do a bit of Anke's in-hand work, but Carlotta decided very soon that she wanted to do PW and skips instead. So be it. What do you think: do her legs look better by now? Haven't ridden her since, just doing some crunches and PW and such.

She uses her neck for the skips. Too much of it? I find it looks better in the PW now, her frame seems more "collected" to me. What d'ya think?

She has been very happy over the last 2 days to do those movements, so I am hoping that she is on the mend now.

it is really when she is under load that her legs show she is not ready - she seems fine, I will have to show you how to do the in hand stuff without using pressure and release LOL. What she does with the skips is she lifts her neck and you click and then she tries to move her legs forward - so you need to look at the last couple of seconds of the second video to see what I mean - I would focus on crunch to PW and get the hind legs catching up and then dont click this that she does with the skip but run forward yourself and see if you can capture her hind legs coming up

Before putting her rug on or the night, I briefly did a few crunches with Carlotta and tried to get her to move forward out of the. Nope. As soon as she started to move, the crunch was lost

So..... how long do you think I should not ride her, so she can strengthen her core and improve her capacity sufficiently? I really would like to get this sorted out, so we are not in the same sh*t in a few months again.

the moving forward from the crunch is like a miliscecond - it is before she even takes a full footfall - we click this and then we ask again and wait a little longer - it takes a while. For me personally I would begin with a saddle and no rider and ask for the same PW etc you are doing and then add weights to the saddle (those ankle weights you can get on ebay) and ask again and make sure she can crunch carrying a couple of kilos of weights and PW and then if that is OK get on her

Yes, will do. When she does PW and sometimes gets longer and flatter, I try to lift myself up, and what she then mostly does, is go into skips... But sometimes, it does work and she makes herself prouder and engages from behind. Whew...

I think the cue for skips is just that we need to really hone in on cues for lift and also skip - let me see if I can do this for you tomorrow - for skip and canter depart I say dum dum

For tomorrow too: in the mat video, I found it interesting how Carlotta was offering stretched-out front legs, sortof tendings towards PW, at times before touching the mat with the foot. I wonder whether this has to do with a mind shift? I regualrly take the lead off, so see whether she is willing to approach the mat at liberty, but not ready yet.

mmmm I felt that this was as much as she wanted to do and as you were clicking for it , she knew that she would get a click for it. Her body language with her legs splayed out the back tell me that she is very uncertain of it. I dont think having a lead rope on is helping her though

Ok so this is not as clear as I would have liked it to be. The in hand stuff is only beginning again after a couple of years of not doing it, so I am going to be working on straighter lines now - but what Sharney is showing here was all taught with clicker training and shaping and no cavesson, - so I need to begin now to help her keep straighter lines and I will try and make sure I video these steps - I dont have video of how this all began (I may have but cannot even think where that may be) - but the crunch is built into this as 'lift' and my cues either beside her or in front of her are the signals for her - the crop is there as a hint if it is needed. Speed here is due to lack of balance, which is due to not engaging the core as well - so the idea for a few days for me will firstly to get the core engaged more and more (slowly) - the more engagement of the core, the slower the gait and the less bending - at the same time I want to work on stellning and this will also help the overbending. The bit showing the core then PW then dadump for a canter depart is not clear I know - it is hard to go backwards

I was carrying on with the mat, as I wanted to be able to help her body by walking over it. Have bought two EVA pads today, so can use those instead and give her a mat break.

Thank you for the helpful video. Wish Carlotta would lift and crunch so nicely sigh Love how willingly Sharney goes into travers and half-pass. Beautiful!

yes Sharney is great - Star can do this also and there is no problem with it - but all I am saying is that there is not reason why you need to use pressure to have Carlotta do it. I am not a fan of the EVA pads as the human takes the control but I dont know enough about their benefits as compared to the mat. The crunches are simply work on your part not hers to make sure you don click for the little things. can you do a video where you do not click for the little things and let her go through what she needs to and then ask again?

you have spurred me on to work out just how one would vertically straighten our horse during in hand exercises - got some nice tries today and I could not believe how straight Star was after years of not doing this, especially seen as he has huge parking brakes - so I am really examining again the concept of function verses capacity - he is now also giving me a new asset with the saddle pad - now his PW are always strong he is bunny hopping as well hahahahaha

I cannot figure out now how to actually put Sarahs stuff (the SE stuff) into this equation now that I can rest the pad on his back - he cues me (that was something he was taught way back and I want to keep this as it gives him a sense of control and also tells me if he feels he has titrated down) - he crunches (it is telling me he is masterful) and then saddle pad on, he crunches more and then off to a PW and then to a bunny hop - click and treat and take the pad off - so this is really not SE (and I dont mind) but he seems to be developing the assets he needs to be masterful and kind of saying 'I got this'. he is not as good on his right side and I can see a little worry so I can allow him to titrate down and then he cues and off we go again - maybe all I need at the moment is what I actually began with here - that the movement stuff gives him the confidence to change his mind about the pad.

Carlotta was very engaged yesterday when we played at liberty. She went close to the EVA pads and sniffed them, then walked away. OK, no worries, let's do something else. Worked on crunches from various positions and I also tried to apply your "aaand ba-doum", only I said aaand hop, of course. Clicked very early when she was about to go into the movement and a bit up. She experimented with crunch-turn head-sideways-walk-forward-PW-skips. Got really p*ssed off (at it looked) when I didn't click quickly enough for her liking when she offered crunches she thought were good enough. So instead, she went up into a whole series of levades instead, to earn the treat, visibly!

I am always jealous when I see the lovely crunches your horses do, and Carlotta and I are struggling so much with it....

it will happen but lets just see 1 minute of crunches and you waiting - no more - see the trick often is to only do 5 mins or so and leave it till tomorrow - well if you want to see todays I will load them tomorrow and you can have a giggle at his bunny hop

oh and you need to remember I have been at this for a while and used the clicker from day one - really do you see allot of others do my horses crunches LOL

OK so here is an extract from yesterday (poor star and his itch) so I checked and he has not done any of this in hand work since 2013 so we are beginning slowly - funny how I could only get a PW shoulder in LOL. the side that the pad is on him is his bad side and he needs to go allow slower but it was this side he has begun his little hop

This is lovely, Julie. Love your conversations with Star! His renvers are very impressive. They never seem to forget, once they have learned something.

His little hop looks like Carlotta's in the beginning, so who knows, maybe he will end up doing impressive levades as well?

Will try some liberty laterals today, if Carlotta agress with this plan She started doing some PWs and small hops while walking back to the paddock.

Oh, and I tried to do the suggested one minute without clicking - longest minute of my life. Carlotta became very grumpy very quickly when the were no clicks for such a long time. She became more and more reluctant to even go into the crunch, and when she did, she immediately started to walk off. Only tried this twice, then we played a bit together, and again, she did some very slow, calm levades right beside me. Didn't feel threatening in the least, and I had the clear impression that she paid very close attention to where I was.

no it was not one minute without clicking - I said dont to more than around a minute all up LOL - so wait for a bigger crunch and try and click more effect IN THAT minute hahahahahaha Stars hops are always there normally but it was the first time he was offering them with the pad

Bwahahahaaaa. Poor, poor Carlotta! Now, I am relieved

hahahahaha I am trying to get you to ask for more get more in one or two then stop for the day LOL

Stop all interaction for the day? Or just the crunches? Just double-checking.

I find it extremely difficult to do so little with her. And I have the clear feeling that she wants to do more too. Always gives me soft nickers and expectant looks!

I really miss my riding sessions incredibly. Feel like amputated. And becoming grumpy about it.

I really mean go away - finish for the day and finish on a high note with nothing else being done - stretch it to 5 minutes at the most - but we want to ask - if it is her ordinary crunch do not click but ask again straight away (more more more) and click the next ask again see if you can get something better - if ordinary dont click but ask again straight away - go for a PW click this if it is good. Stop ask again etc (but the PW can extend to 5 minutes or so- because I know you hahahahaha) make sense?

She wasn't keen to even try in the beginning, but then agreed. After 2 minutes, I got a, what I think was, good crunch, so ended session on this. She stared at me in disbelief and didn't want me to halter her for leaving!

So we walked one other little PW round, then went back to paddock. On the way, she did her skips in a whole series. Then, once unhaltered in the paddock, while I was still standing there, she went up into two beautiful levades. It was so cute that I rewarded her for it. Shouldn't have, maybe?

She is still using her neck and unfortunately it was too far away to see well, but she did lift her back a bit:

you are on a mission arent you LOL - see at .58 she wanted to explore the rope on the ground but you did not let her. she actually moved off at 1.09 with a lift. But after that you are clicking for small effort - there was once there that you asked for more but she gave you the same and then she wanted to leave - she started to explore the rope but then thought better of it and went away. So this is where I would wait and see what she wants. Now that canter at 3.40ish try and move ahead of her as this was good - if you can move ahead a little or have the long stick as long as it can be in front of her nose she may just drop that neck. Yes that next crunch was better and as you say the neck..... so you need to of course go back to using the telescopic pole as I think that the neck is worse than it was and this is because this is where her effort is going (and maybe why she was sore in this area) I would really try and get better and asking for the crunch, when she crunches as her to look at the pole (in front of her head ) and click before she looses all the crunch.but as long as you click as she reduces the lift from her neck this will help in the short term. The best thing is that she followed you when she finished. I would have clicked and treated what she did in the paddock also. But honestly I would do the same time frame tomorrow - there is no problem with playing with her in the paddock afterwards but let it all be what she wants and dont ask for anything but if she wants to offer you something then go for it

I dont personally like to click for exploring as their SEEKING system is motivating them - I feel that what may be happening is that she is giving you more effort but it is coming in the neck - so the other thing we could try is to ask her to line up her feet better - let me see how you go with the pole again (just click as soon as you see her neck drop a bit) and I can show you how to re-position her feet in case if she moves her front feet back a little more (you see my horses do it all the time before I will click) that may help her

For the crunches and the long pointer ahead: this is difficult, as she didn't seem to try to crunch when the pointer was pointing forward, or loose it right away when I start pointing. Must investigate this some more.

Maybe get her more used to it by walking at her side with the long pointer pointing ahead? So, you want all four feet standing square? And her front feet a bit further back?

Would be good to see how I can achieve this.

And when she does crunches and the slow canter, I click the second the head goes a bit down, right? Whew.....

Oh yes, and take my focus more off her, I suppose!

to begin with as soon as she looks like she is lowering her neck click - dont worry about the crunch at this stage - lets do this with the clicker not intrinzen (there are a number of ways) - no we dont want her hinds back -that means her fores are too far foward - lets work on the click for a little lowering of the beck first - yes we want to click as much as possible in all gaits where the neck is not being used (or used less to begin with) - oh it is no problem and none of this is on you - it is very hard I know - and there is very little help out there - so lets do it with the clicker and see if this progresses things more

Okeydokey, will see how we go. Good idea to click for those under saddle as well?

You can tell I'm really itching! Happy to ride her in a noseband for a while, if you think that this is a good idea.

she looked fine in the canter so maybe a little BUT you have to understand that she sees the arena for work - the idea for her to have fun only and stop short in the arena was to change her mind about feeling she 'has' to do it verses I WANT to do it - do you want me to do a video on what I mean? i think I have one about the legs though somewhere as I did it this way for my horses (why? because I am a clicker trainer LOL). Sometimes we have to develop cues and I dont believe when you see my horses crunches I own them - they do and they love to do them

Oh yes, please! Would love to see them! And it is very obvious that your horses love to do them!

yep the clicker did not take away their autonomy - OK so I cannot find the video that I was thinking of at the moment I will keep looking, as it was good to show the progression - otherwise I will do one for you - yes if it were me I would change things around a little for a while if that were possible - I recall you cant really focus on her only if she is in the paddock doing the crunches so yes change it around

OMG I used SATS LOL fuck that was a long time ago - here it is gee that was only 2 years ago I thought it was allot longer

Just a quickie, must tell you what happened right now: brought Carlotta in for evening rugging. Took her to the arena for a few minutes. Had the long bamboo pointer with a piece of poolnoodle at the end. Just walked at her side and held it out in front, at approx. her chest height. She walked with me, did skips and PWs occasionally (I let her do whatever she wanted), and clicked each time she lowered her head a bit or didn't use her neck. She seemed to understand very soon and started to lower her head a bit by herself. While I stood at her side, at one stage, I asked for a crunch, and she did a beautiful one without using her neck.

When walking back to paddock, she offered some PW, then remembered and lowered her head again a bit. Earned her several clicks and treats on the way back

YEP!!!! clicker trumps!

oh the video will need some explaining but will explain after you watched it - I cant add you to the group that was before the project as I was not admin - but it was a very authentic group - you can log in as me if you want

Oh I must remind you also that Carlotta appears to be more motivated now - this happens very quickly when we do very short positive sessions

How was Carlotta?

Had her in the noseband. She was fine, and her canter was very beautiful and slow-motion and elevated.

thats great

Chris brought her back just before nightfall (she had been jousting all day with Rev at Cliff's place), and Carlotta walked along my side in proud PW

sounds really good

This morning, after taking rug off, a 5 minute session in the arena, again with the stick with poolnoodle. She happily performed, sometimes trying to snuggle closer to me. I kept clicking for each head a neck relaxation. After the second time, she seemed to say: Ah yes, I remember!

Asked for 2 crunches, with the target stick held just under her chin, and she arched her neck and lifted her back!

Jackpot and end of session.

thats good - you know you could just do this when you take the rug off where ever you are - BUT back then neck not neck then back

I know, but somehow she never seems to "get" it when I ask differently. And I saw in your Star video that you touched his front legs with your pointer, and he crunched. What I did was pretty similar, I think? I still hope that, once she has understood how it feels, she will do it on her own. no the touching of the front legs was to get him to re position his front legs then crunch Seems like such a frustrating journey.

Ah, OK.

no it isnt - it is early days and we are establishing cues - see thats the point of the SATS as I used this to teach to get the front legs back - of course the intrinzen 'folks' dont agree with this BUT it is not taking away his autonomy AND now I have seen videos of Steinar at the clinics and how rough he can be with horses - I dont care LOL - my way works

Will try a couple of times with the target stick touching her back briefly, she crunches on this and sometimes lifts her back a bit, but the neck still is an issue.

the more I dont 'pick' on you the harder it is to change later

Yes, I understand, if only I wasn't such a stubborn person I really appreciate your patience!

then you cant click for the neck - BUT it has only been a couple of days - so crunch using neck then you ask for the cue you are developing for her neck and then click this and then it will eventually be put together - see were are doing it my clicker way now (not the intrinzen do as I say not as I do way)

it really is no problem for me AND you are giving me HUGE ideas as to what to do with new things I am developing

oh it is nothing you will get it straight away - see the SATS system takes the view that horses are very cognitive beings (I wont go there as there is no way of testing) and uses language with the clicker for the name and explain body parts - it is very easy to see that allot can 'stick' as you will often hear me say 'front leg' and the horses move it back

I like it how Carlotta has started to PW at my side (on the way to paddock) without me cueing her. This morning, she did a dog stretch to the ground again. I wonder whether this feels good to her back.

yep they do love that stretch - Sharney has never really done it but Star does it in preparation for work LOL

I think it is great that she is starting to PW at will - and you can see that sometimes less is really more for them

Would you put it on cue?

Yes, it really sounds like this is the case.

yep it is on cue - I use my hand in a circle from back to front and go stretch anything you like can be cued by adding the cue as the horse does it - you have to be consistent and do it every time you are with them and they do it but it works if they love to do it

I only wish I had another riding horse, so I don't get all these withdrawal symptoms

oh and I click for it

turn your withdrawal symptoms into constructive planning and remember just how happy she is

Yeah, sure, but I am not sure how much time I have left to enjoy what I love most....

Haven ridden Carlotta yesterday evening for 6 minutes (after being pretty sore all day from unloading hay). Had her in the noseband and didn't ask for anything demanding, mainly just walking around quietly and asking for a few steps of canter here and there. She amused herself with some PWs and bunny hops (love that expression). The canter was nice and elevated. She was very surprised when I said "OK" after that short time and hardly believed me when I directed her to the exit (usually she walks there by herself when she hears OK). When going back to paddock, as soon as I fall a bit behind (saddle level), she immediately starts to PW and throws in skips. She did it this morning when walking towards arena.

hahahaha Carlotta has got it!

I have some ideas also to change the neck bear with me I will video shortly

I keep clicking only when, during her movements and crunches, she softens her topline. Then she says "oops, I forgot" and corrects herself

yes thats great thats what we want!

I had placed the mat in the arena and asked her twice to approach it. She put her foot on a couple of times, then I turned her loose, folded the mat and just stood there. She farted and looked into the distance. After a while, she turned around and I clicked for it. She took a few steps towards my outstretched hand (a metre away from the mat) and took the treat. A few repetitions, and we stopped. On the way to paddock, she went straight back into PW and once even tucked her chin in a bit (I got a bit far behind because she was swinging her legs so eagerly, hahaha). Once set free, I stood there for a moment. She tried crunch, then decided to get my attention NOW and went up into levade. I rewarded, then left, as I don't want Valeta to pick that up - she would be all over the top of me, if she learned this!

I held the mat upright by the handles.

its a good start - try not to look at her LOL

Yep, I remember that from time to time!

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