WARNING!!!! Some musings of my mind hahahah!!!!!
I have noticed that Antsje never really seems to have a wet mouth after riding. She has always been very tense / resistant in her poll – even on the ground! She is quite reluctant to give me her head willingly. Even though we have worked with clicker, she will put her head down on cue for a click and treat but it’s a learned behaviour not really a willing ‘I will give you my head’ action – does that make sense?
So I have been trying to work on some ‘poll release’ to try and see if I can remove some of the tension there and get her to trust me with her head! I have always known this is her ‘holding point’ both mentally and physically but I still haven’t found a way in yet. I can get it by ‘tricks’ like clicker, and also if I stick my finger in her mouth and make her ‘chew’ it automatically releases the poll area and I can bring her head down – but none of this is a mentally giving thing from her!
So Wednesday I spent a long time ‘playing’ with relaxing her poll, head and neck and we did start to get some softness and release. And she did start chewing of her own accord and sighing. She wasn’t 100% there – she wasn’t even 80% there, but I think it’s the best genuine, non contrived response Ive had from her. The best exercise I found was standing in front of her head, with each hand placed on each side of her poll and just moving her head from side to side in a way that it made her crest ‘flip over’ each time she flexed to each side. Normally when I moved her head from side to side, she is still very fixed in this area and although the neck moves that little flexion in the poll doesn’t happen.
So this morning, before I bridled up, I did this same exercise and she was definitely softer and more willing to let me move her head gently from side to side, flexing the poll. There is still resistance there, but it was less – I have to wonder if this had a bearing on her being altogether softer when I rode today? We will see!!! Iwill continue with this work – my gut feeling is this is an important key to unlock.
I have to have a rueful smile to myself – me and Antsje are so alike! And Im asking her to do something that I struggle and resist to do myself – and that is give herself over to me completely. She does trust me, that I know for sure, but there is still that bit of self preservation there, that little bit that she just cannot let go of! Maybe I have no right to ask that of her! Maybe ‘IM’ just not ready to receive it yet, maybe she feels I still am not worthy of it – and she perhaps has a point! I still get far too frustrated at times! I don’t think personally I have ever given that last 10 % either, to anyone! – I don’t know if I can either! I understand how she feels ;-)
Maybe I should be content with what we have lol! After all its not a bad place to be :-D