Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Peter Campbell Clinic Day 3

SUNDAY, October 3, 2010

Duster: stand totally still while being rubbed with the flag, from tail to nose. Rub neck and hip, step up and down from the stirrup from both sides.

I started this morning with saddling Duster tied to the trailer instead of in a stall. I left Shaggy in the trailer so he had a buddy close, but couldn’t easily be seen. After saddling Duster, I unloaded Shaggy and led him to the stall area, away from Duster on the other side of the trailer so Duster couldn’t see him. I want Duster to get used to being alone. He waited patiently without whinnying and pawing.

I touched Duster all over with the bag. He needed to stand still while the bag moved up and down his back and front legs, under his belly, over his shoulder, up his neck and over his head. I rubbed him on his neck and behind the saddle. I moved the stirrup leathers against the sides of his belly. I repeated this on the opposite side. Interesting that he was goosier on the near side, the side we handle the horse more often from.

I stepped up and rubbed Duster on the neck and hip. When he was goosey and moved, I stayed where I was until he stopped moving, then stepped down. I repeated this a few times on each side of him.

Duster didn’t want to trot when I led him from the ground. Peter worked Duster from the ground, and got him to lead better from the ground. He “drew” on the lead rope, picking up slack and making it tight on Duster’s nose, than instantly releasing him Duster stepped forward. He worked the same way, with a stronger feel on the rope when he “drew” and made the rope snug, asking Duster to trot. Then I did the same, asking and being light.

Peter led Duster from his horse, helping him to lead better. Peter continued to lead him around with his horse, asking for him to move his hips over from horseback, walking off and asking Duster to step forward without hesitation. After that lesson, Duster trotted each time I asked him to from the ground.

Shaggy: moving the hips around without touching the reins

We were to walk, stop, reverse the horse with the horse moving the front end around in a pivot, keeping the head and neck level, stopping when the horse raised his head and ask for him to soften (dropping his head and neck, and then the jaw to the inside).

The next set of exercises included stopping and reversing. We were to move the front end ¼ way towards the rail, with lightness, stopping any time the horse raises his head, and ask for the lightness again before continuing on to complete the reverse or the full circle. The jaw should be tipped towards the turn. We finished the reverse by asking the hips to move over. Then we walked a full circle, reinforcing the jaw staying tipped towards the inside of the circle.

We mixed this up with walking and trotting circles to the inside, both a full circle and continue on the same direction, or a ½ circle and reverse directions. We also stopped at both the walk and the trot, moved the hip to the rail a quarter turn, then turned the front end a quarter turn to reverse the horse. Stop, pause 1 second, and walk or trot on. We also walked or stopped and asked for a reverse, taking the hip to the inside and shoulders out. We always asked for a lightness, tipping the jaw down and towards the turn, and always stopping the second the horse resisted and pulled on the bit and on our hands or lifted his head.

The final exercise was to move the horse’s hips without any contact on the reins. Basically, we were to do a forehand turn without reins. Peter said not to cheat and touch the reins. The horse was not to trot when he felt one leg on him. Many horses speed up when they feel legs, but 1 leg means to move the shoulder, move the body or move the hips, NOT to trot. It took many transitions to teach the horse and to get the horse to be respectful of that one leg. I needed to touch the reins in the beginning, to start the reverse, and I needed to add a LOT of leg. Shaggy isn’t dead sided, but he isn’t as sensitive as some horses. He doesn’t move his hips and hind legs as fast as Peter wanted a horse to. I will be working on this to ask him to move more quickly and more freely.

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