Ok, this in answer to Kathryn's question in the comments: What is a disengagement? I think Parelli people call it 'Hide the heiney' if that is how you spell it. It is when the inside hind foot crosses over in front of the outside hind foot. The inside being the side you are on. You are trying to get the hind end away from you. Why would I want to do that? Well, for a number of reasons. A horse's motor is in the hind end and you take that away from them when you make them cross their legs like that. Just see how much mobility you have when you stand having your legs crossed. When I was a kid, I was playing little league baseball as a right fielder and would stand out there with my legs crossed. The coach told me not to stand like that because I would not be ready to move quickly to go for the ball. It's the same with a horse. If a horse's hind legs are crossed they can't buck and they can't run. So the disengagement is like an emergency brake. That is what a one rein stop is all about, which I am working on with Joey. By the way, I want the horse to always be facing me, and not giving me two hind feet. So if I go in his stall, he should move his butt over and give me two eyes so that I can walk in safely. In addition, you have to be able to move the hindquarters separately from the front end in order to do a leg yield, side pass, or haunches in movement. Basically, what I am working on with Joey is separating all his zones and teaching him to move them when I want and how far I want. Tha is why I have been working on moving his shoulders, flexion, disengagement and so on. At present, he is backing when I ask, moving his shoulders over, giving me a balanced turn on center, disengaging his hindquarters, moving forward, vertical and lateral flexion. Now I am just trying to refine them more and be able to do them with less rein, and more body language.
Todays workout began with some backing up and disengagement and vertical and lateral flexion. He is making improvements all around. Then I had him lunging on a 14' lead and halter for a few laps, then I took the halter off and worked at liberty with him. He moves off well and even goes up to trot and canter in both directions easily. We haven't been working on those upwards and downwards transitions as much as we will from here on out. I just wanted to get that connection. He would still leave me if he could. I can tell that he hasn't really submitted to my leadership as I would like, although I have him doing figure 8's to change directions. This is done by drawing him to me, giving me both eyes, and then when he crosses the plain I move back towards his shoulder and continue sending him in the other direction. He did much better today, much smoother and kept the gait better. Judy, this is the exercise that Jesse had Fred doing at your clinic. However, Joey still keeps pushing me with his shoulder and barrel/ribs, with his head to the outside. But, he is starting to break down his defenses. When I ask him to stop and give me both eyes, which is the same as asking him to turn to the inside and change directions, only I release him to come to me. I an wanting to draw him to me as the resting place. He does that. But the moment I ask him to disengage his hindend on his right side, he instead gives me his butt and moves off, to which I add a spanking and make him move. Then I ask him to draw to me again and do the same thing. He doesn't like me on his right side. He keeps blocking me and wanting to move off on from that side. His left side seems to be ok. I can disengage him and keep drawing his eye toward me at liberty. I am confident he will get better.
Today I also saddled him. He stood for that just fine and I moved him around. The saddle is rolly polly on him even though cinched down, because he is so fat. I am curious to find out if I will just kind of roll around him when I get on the first time.:} At any rate I moved him around and then played the squeeze game with him sending him between me and the fence several times. This exercise works on forward motion as he goes by me, then I disengage his hindquarters, when he does that he gives me both eyes, then I move his shoulders over and ask him to go forward between me and the fence again. I just repeat that several times until he is doing that real calm and smooth. Then I quit for the day. From here on out I will also saddle him each day.
So far Joey has done real well for a horse that really hasn't been handled since last fall. He is learning his ground manners and I am very happy with the progress so far. One thing I have noticed about him too, is that his hindquarters are taller than his withers. At least, it appears to me that way.
That's it for today.