Sunday, June 27, 2010

Joey Day 22

Yesterday afternoon we had what I think was the best ride yet. No dust flying, no arguments, just flowing free movement. I went through our exercises for warmup and it was going so good I tried moving into liberty to get him to do them. For example, disengaging his hindquarters, I had him following me and doing that without a lead line connection. Then I worked on desensitizing to the whip and rope again. Then I decided to ground drive him. He was real relaxed throughout the task. We did circles, figure 8's, even stopping with softness and a backup. I started to work on leg yields with him, didn't quite get some good ones, but we are moving in that direction. Then I got in the saddle, flexed him for softness. We started forward, working on following his nose, using my legs instead of rein. I also had him moving his shoulders over in a counterturn. I disengaged his hindquarters and then as he began to set back on his haunches I rolled his shoulders over. We worked on the fence developing his rollback. He certainly is making progress. Then I grabbed the whip and dragged that around, flipped in front of him and behind him. I twirled it over his head and let it drag on his legs, his butt and around his ears. This will help him tremendously to handle things he is fearful of. Then I cracked it over his head. The thing is if you do this when they are standing still and they stand still many think that is great. And it is, providing they are not just froze up. Some will do this, but then the horse blows up and bucks or rears. Whoa, trouble then. The key is to get their feet moving, by walking or trotting and swinging the rope or whip. I have to be sure I do it on both sides too. Once the horse is relaxed with this on both sides then you can stop. So that is what I did with Joey. He was a little troubled at first, but I let him move his feet and he got up to a canter, but then I let him relax and slow down. The result, I could put the whip's tail anywhere on him, swing it around his head like a rope and so on and he was relaxed with it. I put the whip up and then just asked him to transition from walk, to trot and lope and back down with my seat and little rein. We did this a few times in both directions and then I let him stop and we quit for the day. As I said earlier, I think this was the best ride yet. Hopefully, several more to come.

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