Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Today Scout loaded in the trailer with his saddle on for the first time (stirrups tied up of course). He wasn't very comfortable about it. I need to do some trailer loading practice. He wants to walk into me, and I want him against the wall on his bad eye, which he doesn't want to do. So, practice makes perfect.

I also used Easyboots for the first time today, on all 4, and he went a lot better than he did yesterday. He was toe-stepping for the first time in his life. I think having shoes on set us back. Unfortunately he's right between sizes for Easyboots - 2's are too big and 1's are too small. Irritating. But for our purposes today the 2's worked.

We had the opportunity to go to another one of the group lessons, and it was a lot of fun. I think I really need this. I hope we can make our schedules match at least some of the time.

My notes for today:
Groundwork at liberty:
  • Need to be able to turn to the outside or inside (I've taught him to only turn to the inside). Need to make my cues for each type of turn more obviously different. It's kinda hard working in a round pen that's bigger than what I'm used to. (Excuses, excuses)
  • SPANK HIM when he's bad. He kicked out at me today as I was sending him off in the round pen. The trainer said, "He'd love to kick you right now" and I disagree with that. If he wanted to kick me, he has plenty of opportunity every day to do that. He's flipping me off, not punching me in the face. But either way, it's rude and not the kind of relationship I want to build. So I need to REALLY get after him when he shows attitude, every time. This could lead to more of a can-do attitude instead of the "Jeez, this is boring and I hate it," look.
  • Speed it up, expect more, and expect it NOW. (Same theme as last time)
  • On the line, we did some prep work for our later riding work - turns on the haunches. We were working on our "send." We'd back the horse, and if we're sending to the left (my left, Scout's right) we'd lift the lead (direct rein) as the horse's right foot was leaving the ground, making it easier for them to move in that direction. Both ways, of course. He did it, but we need to do more homework on this one. He's so lazy, I need to get some life in him to make it go better. (Same theme as always)
  • Walk, trot, turn on haunches into the fence (this is where the liberty work turning into the fence will pay off). Leave the turn at the same gait you went into it (hah! - again, more homework). To turn on the haunches into the fence to the right, direct rein with the right rein, follow with an indirect left rein and a push of the left leg. Trot off in the new direction. I'm not totally sure about that indirect rein though... Maybe I made that part up.
  • We did some serpentines, way more complicated than I've done before. All my appendages are attached to Scout's appendages and my legs got tired and I'm not sure we got anywhere... The idea was to have all 4 legs equally reaching through the turns. My direct rein moved his inside front leg, indirect rein lightly and my outside leg pushing at the front of the girth to drive his outside front , and my inside leg back, pushing his hind end out. Something like that, anyway. That's not much to remember is it? And then to feel whether it's going right? Gah! They worked on this last week so didn't spend much time on it today. That's what I get for being behind.
  • Turn on the haunches starts by backing, and I need to get Scout backing with his face vertical, not behind the bit. Basically it's the same as what we did on the ground - back, then direct rein to the side as that leg is leaving the ground. Then, building on that, push the outside leg to push his outside leg over. Then, building on that, take another step back and repeat. Eventually we would be just rocking back between steps rather than backing again.
These are the keys to starting to get collection. A turn on the haunches requires that the horse be on his haunches. When he's on his haunches he's able to get collected and have his athletic ability available for use.

Tonight I got Tonka out and did some of the groundwork with him. It was really nice to see that his muscles aren't all bound up and he's moving pretty freely right now. He's a good boy. I wouldn't mind taking him for a ride, even if it's only for a few minutes. I'll see how he feels over the next couple days.


froglander said...

Sounds like an informative lesson :)

One question if you don't mind? How do you get the horse to change direction towards you when working loose in the round pen? We've always ended up doing turns away. If I could get him good at loose turns towards me, would probably make the sorta rollback-type turns on the line work better :) (He does it, but almost never grabs the right lead when we do this at a canter).

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

I'm trying to think it through without actually doing it... Let's say the horse is traveling to the left. I'd switch hands with my lunge whip and step to the left (slightly blocking forward movement), lift the whip, while stepping backward to invite them in.

My Countdown to Broke book says this:
"Step 1
You want to cut off forward movement (jog or lope), so stepping toward the round pen panels and getting in front of the horse is important, but instead of taking a direct step toward them and trapping the horse's movement Idriving his nose away from you), soften your request by angling yourself away from the horse. So, Don't take a step directly toward the panel or take a step backward, but instead "open" your shoulder and move back at a 45 degree angle. The body position should look as if you are opening a door. This gives a reasonable amount of pressure to encourage the turn, but allows your horse room to make it to the inside of the pen.

Step 2:
The Correct Response
When your horse makes the inside turn correctly, there is a point where the horse is committed to the turn and facing you o do not drive or pressure him until he is past this point, or you will confuse him and cause him to turn to the outside instead or continue forward in the wrong direction. Once he as completed the turn, gently ask for forward movement in the new direceiton with softer vocals and body pressure, and allow him to move freely around the pen. This is your "Yes" response to the horse's correct turn inside.

The incorrect response:
Should the horse change direction, but to the outside, you have likely applied too much directe body pressure "toward his nose." Immediately ask him to change his direction back again, but step back a little more and give him more room to make the turn toward you. *This must be done quickly.*..."

There is more but that's the basic gist of it in the book. I've got to run. There's a couple more steps in the book, and info on what to do if you hit a roadblock. If you want me to type that up just let me know.

Also, I've got your sidepull/hackamore thing done, but I'm worried about the size. Do you know how big around you want it? I could mail it off as-is or wait for a measurement. I can't try it on my horses for size because of that skin thing they have. Sorry it's taken me so long to get that done!

Linda said...

I'm doing the same with Beautiful. I saw a great segment on Julie Goodnight's show--then I think it's just getting the feel with them. I haven't tried it at a lope though.

froglander said...

Cool, thanks for that description! I am going to have to try that.

And what do I need to measure? I'll go out to the barn and measure tomorrow :)

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Measure around his nose where you want it to sit. I'd guess a bit lower than a halter but higher than the end of the nose bone. But I think it's personal preference. Let me know if your measurement is snug or with room for comfort. You wouldn't want it right tight against his skin.