Monday, November 8, 2010

Laying down on the Job

Well, I did it. I laid Camina down. Here's how. I first did my usual warmup with her for about 10 minutes just to make sure she was soft and submissive. Then I put my padded hobble on her left front foot and started picking it up and then letting it down. Then I started to hold it up by taking a wrap on the saddle horn. Then when she was ok with that I asked her to backup, but before I knew it she was laying down and struggling to get back up. Because I couldn't get her head I couldn't hold her down so she got back up. That was after only about 5 minutes. Then we did the same thing again, only for 50 more minutes she would move forward and relax and I would let her foot down and then pick it back up. She reared, fell down a time a two, moved pretty rapidly forward, sat on her hauches and subsequently stepped on my right foot with her hind leg as she was trying to get back up. This kind of thing went on where she would relax and I would release her foot then pick it back up again. Finally, though she kneeled down and laid down and I was able to hold her there. But it was 55 minutes that wasn't for the faint of heart. I made her stay laying down while I rubbed her all over and moved her legs, sat on her rump etc. She was sweating heavily as was I, but it was successful. I let her relax there for about 10 minutes or so, then got her up and had her walk around. I put the bridle on her and mounted up and started working with her. I've been told that you have about a 30 minute window to accomplish something with them after this type of event. I was just after more submission and softness. What I got was a horse that finally cantered for me more than she did before. Laying a horse down is a way to gain respect and trust from a horse because it teaches them I can take there feet away from them whenever I want. It was a huge thing though to finally get her to canter. I also got alot more softness at the walk and trot than I had gotten before.
Now Buddy on the other hand, was a different story. I had thought I might lay him down too, but for sake of time I chose to warm him up and then work him at liberty. For lack of a round pen I can't do what I would normally do to get a horse to really hook on to me so I had to use the arena instead, as a large rectangular pen. I made sure I was getting the walk trot canter transitions first and had his eye on me while I was lungeing him. Then I took the halter off and sent him off. We had some hiccups. I would have him cantering and he would run to the end of the arena so I had to run to keep him moving. But I didn't have to do a lot of running. I finally got him hooked on to the idea a smaller circle is a lot less running for him. I switched directions on him and had him turn with his eyes toward me. I did everything I would do in a round pen with him. He finally kept his eye on me in one direction so I moved to the other direction and kept working that side. In the end he did hook on to me. It had taken a good 30 minutes of cantering for him to finally give in, but he did. Then I worked another 10 minutes or so just disengaging him and moving his shoulders all at liberty. He stuck with me. I walked him around for the rest of our time just to cool him down, 'cause he hasn't worked that hard since I have been with him.
Here are some pics.

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