This week we've been working (& blowing 😅) through the initial foundation groundwork exercises. Florida has handled Desensitizing to the Lead Rope & Stick & String reasonably well. She did get quite worried about slapping the ground with the stick & string but quieted down once she figured out that she didn't need to move. She's done well with Yielding the Hindquarters. She struggled a bit with Yielding the Forequarters & the correct footwork but has improved dramatically. Flexing continues to get lighter & softer. We've had to take it slow with Lunging Stage 1 (send around & yield HQ to face) at the walk, initially, as it doesn't take much to send her over into the reactive versus thinking state of mind where she makes the quick movements you've alluded to before. Today, we added Lunging Stage 1 at the trot & also Sending. Overall, she wants to please & has great potential. I'm just not sure that she's had a lot of quality & consistent groundwork where her confidence has been able to grow.
Florida is also a bit of a jaw clencher. In the below video, you can see that she was relaxed before I asked her to Yield her Forequarters a step to the right. Once I release the pressure, she remains tense, a bit wide-eyed, & tight-mouthed. To encourage relaxation, I stick a finger in her mouth to encourage her to lick & chew. Once she's done that, you can see a lot of the tension leave her face & see her eyes blink & relax. Eventually, she'll begin to lick & chew much more frequently on her own & find that state of relaxation without me having to encourage it.