Thursday, April 23, 2009


OK, that went pretty well!

The weather finally cooperated so I got in another training day with Brego. This time I used my bareback pad since I found my rings I can use to attach to the girth to run the reins through and it fits him better than the old ratty harness. We had a few "I wanna do what I wanna do!" moments (totally to be expected at this stage of the game) but I out stubbourned him (I'm good at that) and eventually got my way. I ground drove him around the paddock and we had two sticky spots: walking past his hay bag and walking into the corner off of his usual pathway. The hay bag issue wasn't bad just a light tap at the bum and he was glaring at me but walking past.

To explain that a bit: a "tap at" means I push at the air by him without touching, not a tap ON, just a tap AT. Like I am going to tap him but just don't make contact with him. I start out just sort of wiggling the stick by him (usually making circles in the air with the tip of the stick about 6 to 12 inches away), then I tap at him, then I tap ON him, then I spank! I know a lot of people use the "ask, ask louder, demand" progression but I like to have a few more steps in there early on to give them a bit more chance to get it right before the spanking commences. So for me it is more like "Cue, ask gain nicely, ask more forcefully, tell, demand".

Once I know that he understands something that is expected of him it goes "Cue, ask again firmly, demand". Because once the horse knows what is expected of it those extra steps just make them think they can get away with things for two more steps before they HAVE to do it.

Anyway, I got side tracked... where was I? Oh, The corner. He just didn't want to walk along the fence into the corner, he wanted to cut the corner and go back to the barn. Most of out time was spent calmly and quietly getting into that corner. I finally got him into it about half as far as I had originally wanted to but he was making a good straight walk in and a nice turn out without resisting so I dropped that because I was getting tired of it and I am sure he was too. I found a good point and ended it on that.

He stood like a real trooper while I took off the long reins, rope looped over the rail in the barn, then I got a bucket to use sort of like a step stool, and we went outside and I laid over his back. He was like, "Ho huh, lah-dee-dah" on his off side but on his near side he was goosing his rump under and jumping forward two steps. I just kept on moving the bucket and climbing back up, lol. This was the only time he tried backing up all day but he eventually figured out that again I was more stubbourn than he was so he might as well just give up and stand there. So I laid over his back on that side too, spent about 15 minutes switching sides back and forth until he couldn't care less.

He stood really well in the barn while I took off the breast collar and bare back pad, no pulling back, no backing up, and when I asked him to step forward he did so without any drama.

Then I decided to let him graze a bit so I took him out of the paddock to nibble some grass. Realized I still had my top heavy helmet on, lol. I dropped that by the fence and gave him 10 or 15 minutes of grass. Then I walked him down to the end of the drive where he rolled his eyes wildly at the neighbor's dog. Then on the way back to the barn I broke into a jog and shook the stick at him to follow and he planted his feet and about ripped my arm out of the socket. Then he leaped forward and tried to pull me across the drive where he immediately dropped his head back into the grass. Which I did not allow him to do since you ask to eat, you do not just rip mom's arms off to eat. BUT, he gave be a short burst of forward movement instead of backward so that is a good thing IMO.

He immediately started trying to suck up by being super sweet which I totally fell for. By then I was getting tired and I didn't want him to feel frustrated and bored so i took him back in the paddock to turn him loose. He does NOT like the gate in the electric fence and I don't blame him. He kept balking at it. Finally I just completely released pressure on the rope, stood inside the fence and gave my "horse whistle" I've been trying to teach him to come to me when I whistle, it is my "soups on" whistle. Well, it was lunch time so I gave my whistle and his ears came up and his eyes brightened and he walked right through the gate like it was nothing. That seemed like a good place to really end things so I turned him loose and gave him his lunch... but I could have messed with him for another few HOURS.

But of course he was trying to convince me he was painfully famished and he needed to have some time to eat his lunch hay or he might just not make it another hour!

All in all I am very pleased. Exhausted, but pleased.


  1. It sounds like you guys are doing great already! These guys catch on quick. Especially when food is involved :)

  2. Yay! Work is progressing!

    Breggy has had a few electic fence events, poor boy. Usually it was because I leaned over it with food and accidently zapped his nose :( and myself, but I deserved it for doing such a silly thing.

  3. Oh that is so neat! He's catching on nicely by the sound of things.