I thought it would be interesting to see if I could take individual frames from the video (see last two posts) of my lungeing work with Drifter and look for the thought of turning in beginning to form in his mind, and where the thought turns into action, and how and when I reacted. Here's what I found - I thought it was pretty interesting and hope you do too - there are only fractions of a second between each still frame and the next. If you haven't read/viewed the prior two posts, I'd recommend that you do that now as it will help things make sense:
Post one - video of our work
Post two - getting ahead of the thought
The thought forms - his head has come up and his ear is on me - he wants to come in but is checking to see if I'm going to say something about it or not - this is the "ask":
One stride later - he's still traveling straight but the head is tipping to the inside - he's decided to turn in but if I'd moved him forward at this point I still could have redirected his thought:
One more stride - the head is starting to come up and the inside hind is stepping to the outside and the outside front is getting ready to move to the inside - it's almost too late at this point to easily redirect the thought as it's starting to turn into an action:
But I say something to him - I'm swinging the rope at his hindquarters - and although he's cut in towards me - note the excess slack in the line - this is enough to keep him moving forwards - my response would have been more effective if I'd acted to move him forward at the time of the first picture:
But he accepts my direction and continues on, but I haven't really interrupted the thought yet:
He's already moved in on me, and here the thought is starting to turn into action again - note the head and ears, and his momentum is slowing in preparation for the inside turn I didn't ask for:
Here the inside hind has stepped to the outside and the outside front has stepped to the inside, and he's focussed on me to see what I'll do - note that I'm out of position to be effective as I'm in line with his shoulders instead of his hindquarters:
And now the action is occurring - his hindquarters are coming to the outside and his shoulders to the inside - I'm reacting but far too late:
I get the job done - he doesn't manage to complete the turn to the inside - but it's pretty ugly:
Here's the next time the thought of turning in is beginning to form:
Once again, I'm late and out of position, and he's got the thought firmly in mind as he takes action, so we get this:
And then this - he completes the turn after this point - since he's facing me by now I have little ability to influence him:
But I get him turned around and we get this - but look at all the energy we're both using:
The good thing about Drifter is he is a horse who will tell you if you're not leading him with your thoughts - he's ready and able to have his own thoughts and carry them through, and unless I catch the thought he's forming as it's coming into his mind before he starts to take action, he's going to get ahead of me.
But sometimes I get there in time - here's an example where my timing is much better - I say something to him as soon as the thought forms and he keeps moving forward:
But he's still holding on to the thought - it shows in his body language but the action hasn't fully started yet - note that his body is still travelling straight even though his head is tipping and his ears and eyes are on me and also note that I'm already saying something to him - I'm swinging the tail end of the lead and making sure I'm further back towards his hindquarters:
And although I was a little late, here's the result - he keeps on moving forward although he's showing his irritation at not being about to carry out his thought - if I'd caught the thought as it was just forming I think my direction could have been softer and he would have accepted my direction more easily:
The next step for me is to be more active in my lungeing - not necessarily bigger but giving him more direction so he doesn't start to form thoughts in gaps I leave - and also being sure I'm in a better position with respect to his body so that if a thought forms I'm in a position to say something effectively to him. And my timing needs to be better - I need to catch the thought before it forms fully and then things will go more smoothly.
This video stuff can be pretty useful!