Friday, October 24, 2008

Training so far...

Standing patiently at the trailer for his turn at Tuesday night class. Lots of practice being tied to a trailer!

So I guess if this is meant to be my training log, I should bring it up to date, then go from there. Now luckily Bear comes with a great foundation. He had already learned many of the important lessons he needed to learn as a yearling and young two year old before I bought him. When horses can learn to tie, lead, and lunge before they turn into tanks, it makes it easier for them to calmly process the new (and potentially more dangerous) steps we ask them to learn when starting their official "colt breaking" process. I've only had him for a whole month and a half, so I can't take all the credit here. He already knew a whole lot of this, plus he is utterly nonchalant about most things, so it makes even the new stuff seem really easy! At the grand old age of 2.5 years, here's what he knows:

Lead: This means he stops when I stop or say whoa, and then he stands there! No matter what, he's expected to leave his feet in that same place. He's also expected to stop with his feet square, or move them to square up when asked. This is an on going training, and by the time I get on he should be able to perfectly execute a back, turn on haunches, turn on forehand, sidepass in hand, so that when I get on he's only learning a new cue for an old movement, and not having to totally learn what is expected and how to make his body do that. I also fully plan on returning to this to teach shoulder in, and haunches in from the ground before we get there with his dressage training.

Tie: for hours at a time without pulling, pawing, or dancing about.

Hobble: This was a new one for me being an english rider, but I'm totally sold now! I think its so important to teach early, and has so many uses later in life.

Saddle and bridle: As I said he already knew this before I got him, so by now he can have a western saddle thrown up on him with girths and stirrups flapping and I get no reaction. Also its important that he's had a rear cinch on so that God-forbid-I-ever-sell, his first experience with that isn't with some with some poor unsuspecting 4H-er. (Although, like usual, he couldn't care less.)

Lunge: Walk, trot, canter, whoa, with a saddle, bridle, and side reins. Learning to maintain a nice forward gait while on the bit. Also helping him build some muscle on his top-line before expecting him to tote somebody around. Lunging doesn't mean being chased around at top speed while half falling inward for an hour straight. It does mean learning to respond to what I'm asking from 20 feet away despite distractions, collecting and extending his gaits, and learning to carry himself around corners.

Pony or snub off another horse: this has worked great since he LOVES my mare and would follow her to the ends of the earth! He's done this at walk and trot, all across the pasture, up hills, over poles and logs, out in the high brush and gullies of the "back 40" (which is really only 2 acres... but it works great for pretend trail rides!).

Bitting up: Learning to give to the pressure on the bit and bend through his whole body while his rein is tied to his tail. (We had to get really creative on this one because he literally has no tail!) By doing this they learn that by pulling they only pull themselves, not the trainer, and that they can still move while bending. From there he learned to turn by reins in hand, which brings us to...

Line driving: the "training way" with long lines through the stirrups, not with a full driving harness on. He's learned steering, stop and back before having the extra mental and emotional drama of a rider (who has her own mental and emotional drama!).

General obedience: trailering, having a fly mask and blanket put on by anyone and everyone, not running me down and stealing his dinner while I walk it to his feed tub, not biting, bumping, stepping on, or otherwise entering my space without being invited while being groomed, bathed, or clipped. That's where we are so far, and I guess from here on out the exciting stuff starts to happen! I wish I could get pictures of it, but we're mainly working in the indoor arena and you get that snow effect where the flash pics up every single dust particle! I'll have to try a photoshoot on a sunny Saturday afternoon!

1 comment:

Heather said...

I love this post...I know that you are far removed from this post now but every thing you listed are the things I'm taking notes for later! I may even use your list on my blog if that's okay with you...just a a reminder of things needed! again love this..I can so relate!