Then on Friday, Lasell Barlett came by for a couple of hours. She showed me some tools to use to help Lakota think about seeing things my way, and giving her the power to choose the correct answer. Unfortunately, it was pouring down rain, which was distracting I think to all of us.
Today is the first time I took Lakota out after her training (besides Friday). She is definately more forward, and she has a better stop on her now as well, which is good. We did have a few backslides to overcome, though. She didn't want to be haltered, or saddled. She was worried about the dressage whip, and was a little headshy and was very resistant to bridling again. These are all things we've worked on over the last 4 years, so it seems that she has regressed a bit in her time away (maybe because it was ust someone other than me handling her?) I don't think anything bad happened to her, though. So we used clicker training to work on these issues, and she softened and relaxed quickly after she realized that I was still the same and handled her the same way as I had done befores he went away. Lakota is a very, very sensitive horse. She also takes everything personally. She doesn't like to be handled matter-of-factly. She likes to be loved on and romanced. She likes a little foreplay first, before she'll relax and then she will do whatever you ask. We have worked this out between the two of us, but I think that while she was away, she wasn't indulged, so she got a little unsure and resistant because she wasn't molly-coddled
In our little session in the roundpen, she didn't want to walk over the groundpoles that were in there, and she kept avoiding them. So I used Lasell's idea of leaving her alone if she was heading in the right direction, and asking her to move when she was not. It worked out rather well, and after I layered clicker on top of it, giving her a treat when she got closer to going over the poles, it was like a light-bulb went off, and she realized that I really didnt' want her to avoid the poles but go over them. So then she went over them just as nice-as-you-please, and after two rounds over the poles, I decided to quit there for the day on a good note.
I'm so glad my girl is home. =D