Robbie's training was slow today. I got him saddled, moving easily through the exercises. However, I am trying to teach him to relax with things around his hind legs. He doesn't like it at all. So today, for the second or third day I am trying to get him to quit kicking out at the rope around his pastern and hock. He finally relaxed on the right hind and let me pick up the foot and put it down using the rope. However, the left side he would barely let me get the rope around his foot. This is taking longer than expected but I still need to get him over this. His front feet don't seem to be a problem at all. So I worked on that then went back to his left hind. I will start with that one today. Anyway, I need to get him beyond this if I hope to have a successful ground driving experience. I think the reason this has been so tough is because some time ago he got caught in a fence and had a bad experience. He has the scars to prove it. I want him to stand with no kicking out when he is caught in a fence or when the rope is around his back legs. That is just a safety issue for him and for his rider.
Star - when I went to get Darkstar he turned away from me as if to say, 'oh no, here comes work.' So I relaxed and let him work at coming to me. Then when we got in the arena, as I was rubbing him I noticed lots of twitching at his withers and at a few spots down his back. That indicates soreness. So I just stood there and massaged his back until the twitching went away. Then when I took his halter off he walked away from me so I moved him around briefly. Then I decided to just take it easy with him and not put him to alot of work. So what I did was, with halter in hand, I walked up to him and just rubbed on him and let him stand. Then after a few minutes of associating rest with me, I walked away as if to lead him and just kissed to him and he followed me a few steps then we stopped. So I repeated this process of slowly walking away, and if he didn't follow, kissing to him, then he would follow me some steps, stop and rub on him. We just continued increasing the steps until he was following me, slowly but surely, all around the arena. That trust issue is a huge thing. This will help to set him up for riding and trusting me on his back. At any rate we spent the entire time just building on this. Every time he sees me, we work. I don't want him to associate me with work all the time, especially, since he is a cold blooded horse/right brain introvert. He needs lots of breaks to encourage him to do more. So hopefully, when I see him today he will be thinking it is good to be with me.