Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Training Day 2

Today starts desensitizing…to the water sprinkler in the arena! As the horses free lunged, I turned the sprinkler on. At first, the horse would run scare, flying across the arena. Of course, I had the sprinkler set to water the 1/3 of the arena closest to the gate. As the horse tried to run to the gate, the sprinkler would rotate around and shoot water towards the horse. Let’s just say that this was a great way to keep the horses away from the gate.

But the newness wore off, and one of the horses actually stood in the sprinkler’s way, getting misted on every rotation. When I saw that happening, I knew it was time to turn the sprinkler off and finish my round pen work.

I saddled the horse and bridled without any problems. This is a training horse and one issue was bridling. But I think I had done enough round pen work the last 2 days that I have gained the horse’s respect. He stood like a gentleman, taking the bit gently as I opened his mouth with my thumb in the corner of his mouth. I will work with the owner to quietly open the horse’s mouth and to help the horse take the bit.

I hook the reins over the saddle pommel and turned him loose in the arena to lunge. Another issue that this horse has is wanting to buck with the saddle on. So back to free lunging as I wanted to see if he still had the desire to buck. Within 1 lap of the arena, he put down his head and started to buck. I kissed, and made him turn direction. He tried to buck 2 or 3 more times, and each time I made him change directions.

He trotted, and gaited, and loped around the arena with bucking, and eventually stood in the middle of the arena. I had attached a baggie to the end of a broken line of a lunge line, and I attached this lunge line to another lunge line. I had about a 20’ line with a baggie on the end of it, and started swinging that baggie around.

At first the horse would run, not liking the sound of the baggie in the air. As the horse became accustomed to the sound and movement, he stood still, watching the baggie move side to side, up in the air and down on the arena sand. The training horse allowed me to swing the baggie over his head, from both directions. I could flap the bag over the side of the saddle, around his legs, and under his belly. I worked from both directions. He did an excellent job and didn’t spook or care that something was moving around him.

My 6 year old gelding, Shaggy, was a little more unsure of himself. He continued to lunge as I waved the bag around. He would stand still as I swung the baggie in a large circle above my head, but he would not move close to me. When I stood still with the bag, he would come up to me. I left the baggie lay quietly on the sand, but as I brought it up to his side, he would move. I will continue to work with the baggie until he allows me to touch him all over with it attached to a lunge line.

The training horse rode well. Since he wants to buck under saddle, and did so at the lope, I will keep him at the walk and trot until he is solid. He wants to shake his head and grab the bit, and even though his teeth have been floated, I think the bit bothers him. He gives and bends beautifully, but doesn’t seem to want to do so easily. Tomorrow, I will play with bits, and find a bit that he is comfortable with.

I worked some maneuvers with him, as the owner wants him side passing and pivoting. He moved easily, but with some resistance. He may not understand what is being asked. I was pleased that he would attempt to 2 tract and to side pass. I’ll need to work on moving his shoulders to get him to pivot easier. He turns well on the forehand and he backs easily. I feel that I just need to slow him down and have him perform the maneuvers correctly and he won’t be anxious and resist.

My gelding will be saddled and lunged tomorrow. He has been ridden the past 3 years, but only 30 or 60 days and very infrequently. After a few days lunging with the saddle, I should be riding him. Last year, he ground drove beautifully, giving easily to the bit as he made the turns. Tomorrow, I’ll ground drive both horses.

Tomorrow, I’ll also have to start pulling the other gelding out of the lot too. And Chick needs to be ridden. I haven’t ponied the horses much, so I am going to either ride Starlet and pony Chick or the opposite. Then when all of this gets to be an easy schedule, the young 2 year old, Duster, needs to come to a stall and learn to tie and have some patience. He is Starlet’s son and we know how bully she can be!

Come along on the ride with me!

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"TRAINING THE MIND OF THE HORSE AND RIDER"

Messick Quarter Horses

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