Friday, April 17, 2009

Time for work, my handsome lad!

That is what I told Brego this bright and sunny morning.

I picked up that box of stuff from my inlaws house and discovered that one bit I was looking for was in there but the main one I wanted was NOT. :-( I looked at TSC for a nice gentle mullen mouth, looked at the used tack shop for one too. No luck. I have one in 4 inch size but I need a 5 inch. I know I had three of them, somewhere. Just no clue where. On well. No big deal, I am a few weeks away from using a bit anyway.

I tried Jamie's bridle and it is one hole too small on each side. So back on the wall it goes with his old bit in it. Luckily in that box of stuff from the inlaws there was an English headstall or two that will fit. One is old, the other is painfully cheap, but they will work for now. I won't need them until he is ready for the bit anyway.

There was also a horse sized harness saddle and mismatched belly band. Way too big for Brego but I was able to put a back pad under the saddle and another under the belly band and tighten it up enough to be able to use it. As he fills out more he will grow into it some. It is in BAD shape but since I am just using it as a training surcingle it should be fine.

So I repeated our work that we have done a few times, me driving him away from me. Once he was doing that well I put the harness saddle on him and ran my long lines through the tugs on the sides. I kept my long lead on him too. Then I put pressure on the off side rein and waited for him to give me his head. This is a balancing act because his first reaction to everything seems to be to back up. He almost backed into the fence repeatedly. I tapped him with my dressage whip any time he tried to back up and he gradually stopped doing it so much but I think that is something we will need to keep working on.

Anyway, once I got him to stop backing up he finally realized that if he gave me his head in the direction the rein was pulling I released him. We spent a good 10 to 15 minutes working on this while still working at keeping his feet still unless I asked him to move. He seemed to catch on quickly once he stumbled onto what I wanted him to do. Without knowing what he has been taught before, if anything, I don't want to get too cocky but... he seemed to be getting it really fast.

Well, once he was reliably giving me his head when I applied pressure (and he was REALLY giving me his head, I would barely touch the rein and he would turn his head all the way back to his side, haha!) I asked him to move off. It was clumsy, and he was obviously confused, but within 15 minutes or so he was pretty much letting me tell him where to go and stopping when asked.

Only problem is that every time he stops he wants to turn to face me, then starts to back up. But with the long reins I am able to turn him back away from me, and with my dressage whip I am able to touch him on the hind quarters and stop him from backing. It is critical that he learns "whoa" means stop and stand there and "stand" means don't move your feet, period. Those are more important to me in a driving horse than anything.

At any rate, he was very good. The training session went really well. Afterward I spent a few minutes working on him standing tied. He does fine most of the time but if I pick up his front feet he starts going backward. I loop the rope over the rail and let him back up a little and just let the rope slide... then I drive him forward and tighten the rope and go back to what i was doing, then keep doing that until I get his feet picked out and what ever grooming I want done finished. I think part of the issue is that he is still unsure about the barn. But we are making progress on that as well. Working him on giving to pressure will help with that, too.

So far I am delighted with his progress. We have trained 3 times and I was able to direct him around the paddock and do a figure 8 without any resistance by the time I called it quits. I just wish I had a harness that fit him better.

1 comment:

  1. YAY Brego! I'm glad you are working him already! How fun!