One exercise I learned from Sarah regarding the Clinton Anderson Method is the C pattern. The C pattern is basically having the horse walk, trot or canter back and forth in front of you in a half circle. I can also move forward and have the horse going back and forth moving forward as well.
Clinton uses the C pattern to get a horse used to a scary object. I've also seen it done when a horse is scared to get into the trailer. Yesterday I worked with Ruby on the C pattern up and down a path. I was originally going to lunge her and work with some other exercises in the round pen or arena but they were being used by other people and their horses.
Like I said in my earlier post, there have been a lot of deer recently! A herd was grazing around the round pen and Amber (13 year old girl) was riding her horse Athena (one of the horses I usually care for when she's gone) in the round pen. Athena was getting jumpy around the deer.
I remember when I took Sugar to be lunged she did the same, if not worse. It was hard to get her attention at first because she would keep snorting with her ears pricked prancing back and forth. I think she was more curios than scared but she did cut the circle when I lunged her at the part nearest to the deer.
I'm becoming more aware of objects (usually colorful, moving and especially the ones that make sounds) and other animals that I never think about but now do when I'm with a horse. If it's like a vehicle I feel they might spook at I'll try to turn them so they could see it and try to do something like the C pattern, keeping their feet moving helps them take their mind off of it. A lot of the time I don't care too much about the Equestrian people when they drive their cars/trucks by because they usually go slow around someone leading or riding a horse. Also most of the time the horses recognize the cars because they come by often. There are the people who drive by to walk there dogs in the a field by the EQ center. They drive much faster and in the past Sugar has often been spooked by them. I do admit I feel much more comfortable around Ruby more than Sugar sometimes. But Sugar is a lot easier to lead most of the time and much better at backing up.
Anyway, back to what I did that day. I took Ruby to a field near by and practiced the C pattern on the way there. I'm still very clumsy with the stick and rope when I switch hands. When we got to the field she got really frisky and made it harder to control her. I lunged her around and kept her changing directions. She kept coming in too close and tried turning to face me too many times. When I got her moving again she would shake her head and do little jump like kicks with her hind legs. I constantly had to get her out of my personal space; she became very pushy. I got her going well in the end but it's been awhile since I took her to that field. In fact she hasn't been there since she got back from Nevada. I used to take her there a lot before she left and she did better then. She is always testing me and I'm learning how to respond in the right way. Also, she isn't the most patient horse when I get clumsy with my tools. When I tangle up my tools or drop one of them, Sugar just stops and lazies around. Ruby, on the other hand, takes this as a chance to get into my space. I usually prefer Sugar's way. I don't often get that clumsy at all, so far the C pattern and one of the backing up methods are rated the hardest to keep track of my tools on my list. lol!