A chilled Filly

Friday, 18 April 2014

Fillys progress

Not a lot to say at them moment. I'm still not able to play with Filly properly as we are still giving her time to try and get over her bursitis. I am of course interacting with her every day. Grooming is just a part of the routine, not that she needs it every day but it helps with the "touch all over" part of the program.
With the spring grass now growing she also has a lot of energy. This has lead to problems leading her. Humans are just too slow ! To help with this I've been doing lots of leading training. Sounds basic, but seeing how many horses lead at the yard more of them could do with it.
I started by just asking her to walk slowly alongside me as we walked to a big field to graze. Not good. She kept pushing into me with her shoulder and trying to push past me. She turns her head away and shoulder barges me. I've developed sharp elbows to counter this one. Not trying to hit her but if she starts getting too close I just rhythmically move my elbow in and out. If she moves into it, well that was her choice.
For the overtaking problem I started by twirling the end of the lead rope in front of me. To be honest that was not a good strategy. She just turns her head away and leans on me even more. The problem is that the energy of a twirling rope is directing her away from me more that it is keeping her back.
Plan be was to take a carrot stick and wave it back and forth in front of me in a horizontal plane. Making sure it stops abeam me on the backward swing. As this is in the horizontal plane there is less energy pushing her away, and more pushing her backwards. If she moves far enough forward it taps her chest. Further forward and the stick is still at full speed and it hits her chest. There was a brief tantrum over this as she pushed through the pressure. But within 5 minutes she was walking quietly and peacefully next to me and even stood nice and still whilst I talked to one of the yard staff.
The most important aspect for me was that I had absolutely no intention in my mind of hitting her. For me the stick, my elbow and the twirling rope were just boundaries I had set up. And like a fence boundary it would not chase her. The boundary stays static even if it is defined by the limit of motion of the stick. She actually seemed to like to be at the spot where it just touched her much as a horse will lean over a fence to get at that bit of juicy grass.
I've trained the yard girls to use this technique so hopefully they can help get her a bit calmer as she is walked too and from the field. Eventually of course I don't want to use the stick, but in the meantime it's a useful tool.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

At last an update

Things have been a little busy around here recently. Largely because Filly has been on box rest and she tends to be high maintenance !

Here is the story:

For some time I have been aware that Filly has had trouble with the left canter lead. She's pretty good and relaxed on right canter lead, but left was obviously uncomfortable for her. My osteo and I had been working on this for a long time. To be honest when I bought her in September 2012 she was physically a bit of a mess, so we always knew that there would be some serious rehab going on.
To start we worked on the obvious.
As a foal she had staked herself in the front right shoulder. And she seemed to be lame on the front right leg. The scar tissue from this injury was pretty obvious and one of the tendons was very tight. So we have spent the last year or so doing "Filly Yoga". Basically this involved stretching all her limbs at various angles and getting her to relax deeply into the stretch. Clicker training worked a treat for this and after a while she found she liked the stretch. Especially the front legs up and forwards. Often when I pick out her feet she will ask for this stretch by putting her leg out in front of her and expecting me to pull on it. She'll then hold it with a lovely look on her face and maybe chew her chestnut a bit ! This does cause a bit of trouble with the farrier, but he knows her now and is patient.

After a lot of this she was definitely getting better, in fact we were worried we had over loosened the shoulder joint at one point and had to quickly build up the pectoral muscles to stabilise them again. We did this with trotting poles. I taught her to go over a set off poles at liberty with the command poles. She quickly caught on. If she missed one she didn't get a reward. I've seen her miss one out, realise her mistake, turn 180 degrees to do them all then come over for her treat. I really think horses are smarter than some would give the credit for.

Again there was an improvement, but not enough. We decided to get the vet involved. A few weeks ago the vet, osteo and I met at the yard. She was still lame on the right front so we decided to take her into the vets and have a proper nerve blocking investigation done. Trailer training followed as I waited for the appointment. To be fair she loads very very well, but the travelling is not so good. I make a point of loading her as soon as she gets off the trailer so that her last memory of it is loading and un-loading confidently. This pays dividends when we have to load to go home.

Leaving her at the vets for the day was emotionally hard. The results came in during the afternoon and I went to collect her and be briefed on what they had found. The first nerve block had done the trick pin-pointing the navicular area. That is a word to bring dread to any horse owners heart. But the vet had taken x-rays and reckoned the navicular bone was not too bad. What was bad was the fact that the heel on the hoof was too low. The farrier has been working on correcting this fault for the last year. The front left is now pretty good, but the front right had not responded so well.
The result of having the front right heel low was that it was stretching the deep flexor tendon to much, and probably placing stress on the navicular bursa. He reckoned this area was inflamed. To counter this the vet injected steroid into the area and asked for her to return for a check up in two weeks time.

So we returned to the vet on last Monday. And I left her there again. This time they checked for lameness again and found that she was almost perfect on a straight line, but not yet right on a circle. The front shoes were removed and x-rays of the navicular bone itself taken. These revealed that the front left navicular bone was perfectly ok, but the front right had what the vet called a "change" in it. The external surface is very good, but maybe the internal was more ossified than it should be. He said that it was not a great worry as he had seen much worse in perfectly fit horses, and thorough breds are particularly susceptible to this problem.

Back to the farm and the farrier arrived the next day to put the shoes back on. Fortunately the farrier and vet know each quite well and the farrier had been emailed the x-rays and also had a long chat on the phone with the vet. It's great to deal with professionals who care that much about the horses in their care.
Armed with these x-rays the farrier can now continue to fix her hoof conformation.

Filly is no longer on box rest. I put her out today. She cannot be worked for at least the next two months other than some very light in hand stuff. I'm actually not at all worried by this. There is so much to train that I have neglected that can be done at a walk or even standstill that it will still be a busy two months I'm sure. And at the end of it I will have filled in a few holes and I'm sure be rewarded with an even more dependable partner.

For interest here is a link to her x-rays. The first two are of the right hoof and the second two of the left. The difference in angle are obvious !

Fillys x-rays 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Fruits of my labour

Those of you who have been following the blog will know that I have been teaching both Filly and Bonitao to be much more responsive to moving their front legs around whilst being ridden. Basically I've been asking with the inside rein and the outside leg in front of the girth for the front legs to move around the inside hind leg so that they pivot on the spot.
They have both been getting pretty good at this. It takes a lot feel with my legs and reins to get a clean turn. Sometime asking for half a step of backup before asking for the front leg to step over helps. We have gotten to the point that we can make pretty good 180 degree turns with the inside hind barely moving.

What I have noticed is how much more responsive this has made both horses to general riding. Bonitao in particular had a tendency to fall in off the rail towards the centre of the school. Now I have an aid that keeps him on the rail without resorting to the reins, I just use a little inside leg ahead of the girth.
In fact just about every facet of both horses ridden work has improved. It's like magic :)

I would add that I have become very particular even when leading them around, mainly with myself. I am very concious that when I ask for them to turn sharply on the lead rope (in the stable or where ever) I release the pressure as the appropriate leg responds. If I have to apply it again to get more of a turn then so be it. I actually look for opportunities to ask for this yield with an emphasis and being really really polite about it. It's gotten so that it is now a habit and not a chore at all.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

It's very wet !!

I've not been writing much recently as there is little to write about. Everything is so wet at the yard there is not much we can do. The outdoor school is a lake, literally, and the indoor school is well used as folks try to give their horses a little exercise.

However the beauty of Natural Horsemanship is even under these circumstances I can still do little bit and pieces to advance our horsemanship.

I'm having to be a little careful with the riding. The surface of the indoor school is pretty poor. Thin sand on a poor concrete base in the most part. The rest is so deep with sand even I struggle to walk. The problem with this is that we can only do slow work and I am loosing my nice forward walk I had with Filly. She seems reluctant to go forwards with a nice overtrack and frankly I don't blame her. So I'm having to be very careful that this lack of forwards does not become a habit that will be hard to break later.

Thus I am mostly working on yields to leg pressure at standstill. Hind quarter and fore quarter yields. This is coming on pretty well, but I am also having to be careful not to dull her to these aids. It's all a balance.

On the upside this enforced slow time has made me concentrate on these little yields, both on the ground and ridden. It's not about getting the yield as such, but the attitude that accompanies that yield. Filly has always had a mental problem with yielding to steady pressure and so this is the current focus. Get to accept the pressure and yield from it willingly. The trick is to not release the pressure on the yield, but on the attitude, even if the yield was not that good.

We did a fair bit of this online yesterday. I just walked her in a circle and then asked with my fingers for her to just side pass onto a larger circle and bend her body around my hand. This was much better on the left side than the right and we did make progress. Not perfect yet, but definite progress.

As for touching her belly, that is now just a part of my routine. Any opportunity I get I touch and hold her belly. She barely reacts now, maybe a tail swish or two. I hope over the coming months to get her totally relaxed with this. This will of course help with the aforementioned exercises as well. It all comes back to "touch all over" on the plan !

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Ouch again

In the past Filly has been very very touchy being touched in certain areas. Particularly in the area between her hind legs, and the inside of her hind legs. These are areas that need to be touched for two reasons. Most commonly just to clean the mud off, particularly this winter, but also in case medical treatment needs to be given there.
Her reaction was generally one of fear and opposition reflex. Lots of tail swishing, kicking out with the hind legs, muscle twitching and tenseness. So a pretty ingrained and strong reaction.
Over time I've managed to use approach and retreat to get to the point that I could put my hand in the area, then remove it when she calmed down. This could get pretty exciting so I had always done it in the indoor school to give us both room to move. We got to the stage where she was ok ish with it. Not totally accepting but maybe not scared for her life. I had even done it at liberty so she was totally free to wander off if the pressure became to great.
Time to repeat the exercise somewhere else.

Last week I went into her stable to prepare her to ride. I checked her belly to see how muddy she was. Very ! So I started the process of getting some of it off. She was fine with the belly, but not with that sensitive area between the hind legs. As she reacted I could have backed off, but that would have rewarded the reaction. So I persisted in just holding my hand there. She got pretty agitated and then I made a mistake.
If a horse is trying to kick you you're safe if you are close to them and next to the hip. But she moved too fast and I got out of position. Result was a really hard hind leg kick on my left upper thigh. Very very painful. I had to sit down for a fair while to recover and the leg stiffened up making walking difficult.

Lots of thought as to how to fix the problem with less pain. I decided to try using positive reinforcement training to overcome it initially. But what to reward. Lowering of the head helps horses to relax, so maybe getting her to lower the head whilst I touched the sensitive area, then rewarding with a click and treat would be a start.
That worked well, but she still held resentment as the tail swishing showed. So the click was now withheld until the tail also relaxed. Again that really helped.
It took a few sessions in the school to get it solid, but now I can touch the area with only a little reaction from her. I wouldn't say she loves being touched there, that will come with time.

Back to the stable and repeat. More reaction than the school, but not like last time. Further training and she now puts her nose on the floor and waits for the click.

This is not the way I would have liked to have overcome this problem. I would have preferred to have done it in a way that worked more on her understanding that she was not going to be harmed. This way feels a bit like bribery to me. However it has gotten the job done and given us a base to work towards understanding from. I'll phase out the treats pretty quickly and won't require the head to be lowered. That was really only done to try and induce and indicate relaxation.

Head lowering is something I use a fair bit to help get a horse to relax when they are tense about something. The trouble with using clicker training to achieve this is I am never sure if what I have achieved is relaxation or just a trained physical response. It does get us started down the right road however and for that reason I find it effective so long as I remain concious of the pitfalls.

As for my leg. It is now pretty much healed. I've ridden and had two evening Aikido training. No bruise in the impact area, much to my wifes' annoyance (she thought I deserved one), just some swelling that has gone down. Interestingly there was a small bruise on the inside of the thigh on the opposites side of the leg.

Like they say "a mistake is only a mistake if you don't learn from it. If you do learn from it it's a learning experience". Well that was a painful learning experience.
My instructor, Josh, said "pain is just weakness leaving the body". Very deep. Thanks Josh ;)

Monday, 20 January 2014

Ponying at home

A few nights ago I decided to continue my practise of ponying with our two horses, Filly and Bonitao.
As Bonitao is the more advanced riding horse my wife and I decided I should ride her horse Bonitao and pony Filly.
Ritchie did the prepare to ride on Bonitao whilst I did a little pole work online with Filly. Once Bonitao was ready I mounted and made sure that he was responsive when ridden, especially to the leg aids as my hands were to be fully occupied  
Once handed Filly we started just leading her around. The aim for this was just to get her to walk alongside us in a calm way, not getting behind or in front. Zone 3 driving form horseback. I started with all turns away from Filly as this seemed easiest, but didn't want to do this too long as I am then giving Filly the impression that she is driving Bonitao away all the time.
Once this was established we went to turning into her. As expected she did not like this so much and gave a sour face. Bonitao was not entirely up to the task of countering her on hos own so I used the flag, in my free hand, to help him out. One of the things Josh impressed on me was that I was responsible for looking after both of them. So if Filly tried to drive Bonitao I should protect Bonitao. If Bonitao tried to drive Filly then it depended on the circumstances. If I had asked for it then let him and back him up as needed, if not defend Filly. But also don't let Bonitao get too strong with Filly.
Pretty soon they both understood their jobs and we had some nice circles in both directions.
I also tried to do an indirect/direct rein exercise. This is very tricky, and more so with Filly. To explain the manoeuvre I'll start at the beginning
1) Have horses stand next to each other.
2) Filly stays still whilst I ride Bonitao around her nose and then aim his nose into her opposite flank
3) Drive Filly's hind quarters away by riding Bonitao's nose into her hind quarters so that she steps the near hind under her body until she has turned enough to give me her other eye.
4) Ride out in a straight line so Filly has to step the front legs over in a fore quarter yield.

The snag was that whenever I started to move Bonitao around Filly's nose Filly did not stand still. She is so good at stick to me that she just moved off with us  
We did manage it once and it was pretty good, but definitely work in progress.

One of the other problems was getting Bonitao to understand when the flag we being applied to him and when it was for Filly. I asked James about this once and he said that over time they start to understand where the intention is aimed and then see the flag as a helping hand.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Learning to pony colts

Just back from a day at James Roberts yard. I took my friend Liz who I have introduced to NH. I thought it time she saw a proper professional at work so arranged with Josh, who was James apprentice, to go there for the day.
Josh has just got a new Andalusian mare. Bought her on Saturday. She's ten years old and has hardly been handled. He knew we were coming and also knew that Liz had started a fair few colts using traditional English methods. He started by ponying the new mare form his other horse Mocho. Then did the first saddling and first sit on the saddle as a demo for us. Liz seemed very impressed as to how relaxed and calm it all was.
After lunch it was my turn to try ponying another horse for the first time. I was given a quarter horse to ride and another quarter horse to pony. As always I ran quickly through the Plan prior to mounting and then checked my horse, Dalton, out before being handled the colt.
That is where the fun started ! I now had Daltons reins and the lead rope to the colt in one hand and a carrot stick in the other. Josh told me to work out for myself how I found the reins and lead rope most comfortable to handle. I needed to be able, with one hand, to use the reins on Dalton and adjust the lead rope for the colt. On top of that I had to use the stick to direct the colt if the pressure from Dalton was not sufficient, protect Dalton from the colt and vice versa.
This was not just straightforward leading you understand. I was also using Dalton to get the indirect/direct rein response established in the colt. This basically consisted of driving Daltons nose into the flank of the colt so that he yielded his hind quarters then once the hindquarters had yielded away sufficiently walking forwards to apply a direct rein and step the front legs of the colt through.
On top of this I had to be sure that neither horse got claustrophobic against the school wall and both had the ability to move away if worried.

To say this was tricky was an understatement. By the end I had started to work out my hand on the rein/lead rope, and we got a few yields achieved.

I can't wait to do more of this. It gives all the yields I've been working on with Filly and Bonitao a true purpose other than just looking pretty.

Liz remarked how great it was seeing me struggle with ropes for a change after I have spent many hours helping her with the intricacies of 22 foot rope handling. At least I only dropped the stick once :) .

Friday, 27 December 2013

Outside leg isolations

Yesterday we had a nice but short hack out. I rode in the indoor school first playing with inside leg isolations (asking Filly to turn by bending around my inside leg) and then outside leg isolations.

In the inside leg isolation I place my leg where it naturally hangs down her side and ask her to bend her body around it. At halt this just brings her nose around (neutral lateral flexion without the rein), at walk because her body follow her nose it turns her towards the leg I'm using.

For outside leg isolations I place my leg forward of neutral. When exaggerating to teach this may be as far forward as on her shoulder itself. When pressure is applied there the leg I am touching should step over under her body. To get the opposite front leg to move over and step out away from her body I ask with the rein held out to the side. So the rule is "my left leg talks to her left front leg and my right hand held out to the side talks to her right front leg".

When asking her to turn on her haunches to the right she has to extend her right front leg out to the side then cross her left front leg over it, then her right leg etc. This makes the timing of the aids critical. Apply rein pressure, release when the associated leg moves then apply leg pressure, release when her leg moves, apply rein pressure etc. Difficult to describe when writing about it, even harder to time correctly ! To make sure she doesn't drift forwards with her hind legs I apply a little back pressure with the other hand from time to time to keep her weight back over her hind legs. The weight has to be there in anycase to free up the front legs to move.

To make a game out of it I place a cone in front of her and one behind her. The pattern is to turn her with just her front legs moving so that her nose goes from one cone to the other. Once she got the pattern she put real effort into turning, especially the last step or two.

This exercise is having lots of beneficial effects in other parts of her training. I can now push her over if she trys to turn to early during "follow the rail" for example. Her ridden sideways work is getting better as I can keep her shoulder in line.

What is more is it is great fun. Not to watch maybe but to ride it feels like a real conversation.

Initially of course she didn't understand what I was asking so we have done lots of groundwork to prepare her. One good exercise is to ask her to yield her forehand around her hind legs in a circle using porcupine pressure. For this I use one hand to apply pressure to her shoulder to ask that leg to move over, release, then apply pressure to the side of her head to ask the opposite leg to move over. Afterall it is this side of the head the she will feel the pressure from the bosal so it is a totally congruent exercise with the ridden work.

When ridden I started moving my leg way up onto her shoulder and pressing, if I got no response I tapped lightly with my toe, still no response I used coils of the 45 foot rope to tap where my leg was. None of this was hard, just rhythmical tapping to get the response. The coils were actually hitting my leg, not her. They just made the aid really obvious. And that is what it means to exaggerate to teach, not more pressure or more pain as some folks use, just working out a way to make the desired response more obvious.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A great ride

Recently I've had a couple of trailer loading sessions with Filly. Not to get her better at loading in the trailer, though that is a nice byproduct, but to get her better at yielding to pressure and not pushing into it. More specifically not pushing into me !

The trailer was just an obstacle to play with, not the point of the training session. By using the trailer I could get her to display "I don't want to" behaviour. She is not at all worried about going into the trailer but she can decide that she doesn't want to go in the trailer. There is an important difference. Never push a worried horse, but expect a confident horse to respond.

The trailer loading was pretty full on, and I have to admit to using the handle end of my stick. I didn't want to but she was pushing on me with more pressure than I could apply any other way. Remember principle number 5 "The attitude of justice is effective". The stick was only used to apply a little more pressure than she was applying to me, and as soon as she de-escalated so did I. If she would uphold her responsibility of "Act like a partner not a prey animal" then I would reciprocate with "act like a partner not a predator".

In the end she became pretty responsive and we could go one step into the trailer and then back out one step. The only difficult step was getting the back legs from out of the trailer and onto the ramp. Here she was worried so we took our time to softly work through the issue. It's not just about loading the whole horse each bit has to load and unload confidently.

We then had a few days of just having fun and chilling out together. I had withdrawn pretty heavily from the rapport bank and needed to make some deposits back in. Not that she was allowed to go back to her old ways of pushing on me of course.

I now found that she was much softer and more responsive to pressure. She could think her way through it and try to figure out what I meant instead of just reacting to it.

This translated into a really good ride the other night. Nothing fast, all at walk and for the outside observer it would have been like watching pain dry. But there was no one else on the yard and we could just chat to each other through the aids I was applying, discussing what they meant.

I've been trying to get her really good at just moving the front legs sideways when I ask. The inside hind foot should stay still. I rode her in the bosal. The inside hand stretched out to ask the inside front to step over. As soon as it did the pressure released. Then the outside toe on her shoulder asked the outside front to move over and again a release. Then the timing had to get good from me. Inside hand, inside leg, outside toe, outside leg. Finally I got the timing right and we were performing 180 degree turns on the spot without the inside hind moving in about three or four steps. To make the end of the turn obvious and give her a goal I had two cones set up so that at the end of each 180 turn her nose was on one of them. So that's why we teach "touch it game" !! :) .

We did other things as well, like sideways over the cones, sideways along a pole backup etc but the highlight was having those front feet in my hands. For a left brained horse like Filly to give up those front feet softly is a really big deal.

Happy Christmas everyone. I'm looking forward to a great horsemanship New Year for all of us.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Riding JRFS December 2013

My last post dealt with getting Filly to and from JRFS, this one deals with the actual lessons I had whilst there.

On arrival we had pizza and beer with Josh during which we discussed what I wanted to achieve during the week. I've noticed that many folks turn up for a lesson and expect the instructor to tell them what they are going to do. I like to discuss what I feel I need to work on. The instructor may then asses me and disagree, that's fine but at least we have a starting point. My emphasis was threefold.
1) More birdleless riding
2) Assess my liberty to see what needs to be improved for my level 3
3) Hacking out

Day 1

This was really an assessment day to see where Filly and I had got to since my last visit to JRFS.
Normal prepare to ride but with an emphasis on indirect/direct rein online. What is interesting is that as I improve I am using the stick and string less and less. I am also using the 12 foot rope more than in the past.
For example : indirect/direct rein online. Start by getting Filly to walk (or trot) whilst I walk at her hips. Then using my intention to start with and the belly of the rope as phase 4 touching her sides ask the inside hind to step under her body. Timing the "ask" with her leg being off the ground is important in this. So I use a little feel on the halter to ask the outside hind to step out and intention/touching her sides to ask the inside leg to step under. Like I said timing is crucial. Once the steps fluid and willing I ask for a little more so that the hind quarters swing away from me and the nose comes towards me. As the angle off the rope to the halter changes I am now talking to the front feet and start to time the feel on the rope with the inside front being off the ground to ask that leg to step out towards me. Again timing is vital.
Riding emphasised "follow the rail" to improve her responsibilities.

Day 2

More of the same online, but the riding now was all about bridleless. More "follow the rail" to start with trying to use the reins as little as possible to keep her on the rail. Once this was going tolerably well with the reins over the saddle horn Josh asked if I was ready to take the bosal off. I've ridden her bridleless a fair bit so I was happy to do this. We were in a lovely indoor arena with great boarded sides so what could go wrong ?
To start with she would not now stay on the rail. She decided that tighter and tighter circles were a good idea. Josh shouted over "do you want to ride like Pat or Dave Stewart ?". Well much as I respect Pat, Dave Stewart is a beautiful rider who I would love to be able to emulate. "Dave please". At which point Josh handed me a 45 foot rope. Apparently if I had said "Pat" I would have got the carrot sticks :) . Splitting the coils so that I had some in each hand I now had a method of tipping her nose each way if she did not respond to my eyes, belly button or leg. The coils could also be used to give her a nice rub on the neck when all was going well then lifted up and forwards to direct the nose if needed.
This worked very well and we were soon moving along the rail at trot in a very orderly fashion. A few circles were thrown in just to keep it a little more interesting.
Once this was going really well I had now proven I did not need the reins to direct her. It was now time to put the bosal back on and start using the reins to pick up a soft feel. For this a little pressure was applied to the reins, and if that didn't work some soft bumps, to get her head to lower and her nose to tip in. Now all the steering was being done from the body/legs this left the bosal to speak to her about vertical flexion.
This was the theme for the next few days. Ride with the bosal until I wasn't using the reins and was ready to go bridleless. Ride bridleless with the rope coils until I wasn't using the coils for directional control. Put the bosal back on to pick up a soft feel. I really logical progression.
We finished the day with a short hack out across big open stubble fields. She was great on the way out, but a bit joggy on the way back which I corrected with sideways and small circles.

Day 3
No hacking out today as the wind was ridiculously strong.
Prepare to ride emphasised use of the 45 foot rope. That is such a versatile bit of kit. Not once did we use it at its' full length.
Taking a loop over the nose I used it to get the nose to tip gently each way. Adding in a loop around the near front leg allowed me to ask the nose over and the front leg to step over at the same time. Getting the timing so that the nose tipped first followed by the leg stretching out established a link between pressure on the far side of the nose and the leg stretching over.
Take a loop around her belly and now I could work on porcupine game by gently picking up a feel and pulling her towards me.. Depending where the loop was I could talk to the front legs or the hind legs.  
We then made a loop that fitted around her neck with a not to stop it tightening. Now with the halter off I could lead her around and ask for yields off the neck. Combine with putting it around her legs or body and there was a huge range of response I could ask for.
Ridden was just the same as before but I added in playing with the big green ball to give more purpose to moving her around. Here's a short video of it
At the end we played a little a liberty. She left me a couple of times, but Josh reckoned that we were easily able to take out level 3 liberty audition. All I have to do is work out a routine to film and hope I can keep her interested for ten minutes ;)

Day 4
The last day :( . More of the same for the school work. But then we headed out for a longish hack up onto the Salisbury Plain. Filly was a star. She seemed to really enjoy her time out of the school. Lots of looking around in curiosity, no spooks. She only got a little fast coming back down the hill of the plain. Again I just set her to going sideways so that she had to think about her feet rather than just charge down the hill. We stopped at the pub for a half pint of beer, which Filly didn't seem to like to my disappointment. Maybe try cider next time.


So ended another great week riding with Josh. As usual I learnt loads of new skills to take me to the next level.
I said that I eventually want to get her good enough that we could pony young horses to help with colt starting. Josh though that given our rate of progress that would be perfectly possible by next summer ! That's at least a year sooner than I expected so I am very pleased with progress