Another positive, interesting, fun training session with Joey and my trainer friend, B, this afternoon. He was SURE she was going to start bunny hopping for the first 20 minutes or so and was keeping his eyes well on her, while working nicely for her. He finally decided she wasn’t going to hop and by the hour mark when we quit he had worked in his snaffle bit, under saddle for the first time, done his flexing nicely, learned a new trick, picked up his front feet, and let his hind legs be rubbed. Happy days!
Hoo-yah, look at that trot!
Joey, meet saddle pad
Joey, meet saddle:
He moved out at a nice working trot and got used to the saddle flapping and creaking on his back for a while in both directions. Then B worked on bending and flexing. She did this with the lead rope on his halter last week, and this week put the lead rope on his bit, and gently encouraged him to turn his head that way. He is expressive but learns quickly, as below where he says Noooooo and 3 seconds later has given in:
B looped the lunge line over the saddle and left the long end dragging behind him, and that really gave him something to think about. His hind end is progressively less off limits but still an area of concern for him, particularly the right hind. And he is worried about things behind him, like when I walk a ways behind her leading him down to the round pen to work. So dragging things and having his hind end handled a lot are essential for this guy.
Dragging the rope off the left side:
More concerned about the rope dragging behind the right side:
Then it was back to leg handling, first with the rope for quite a while until he was stone cold bored with it, then she started with her hands again:
He really wasn’t very bothered by her handling the left hind this time. She ran her hand right down to the hoof and he just stood for it:
Of course he was much more worried about the right hind and she circled patiently with him again as he yielded away from her and tried to block her with his head. She kept a hand on his quarters and circled quietly and he got better bit by bit. He started to realize if he stopped moving and stood nicely, she would stop touching him, and once he grasped that she would release when he stopped, then rub his leg again. Still, sliding her hand down toward the stifle always prompted circling again. She did manage to rub all the way down to the fetlock a couple of times but it’s still very much a work in progress with that right hind.
My little working boy!
His new trick was great practice for him and you could really see him pleased with himself when he figured it out. She brought the rope around behind him and stood back on the offside, so that he had deal with a rope around his hind legs AND her behind him, which he was very uncertain of. Then he had to flex and follow the rope for the release, also great practice. You could see him thinking and enjoying it, aside from the nerves about her being behind him..
What is she doing back there?!
The rope around the back, he tries to figure out where he is supposed to go for release..
Oh okay, flex and follow to release the pressure Smart boy!
He always marched right up to her after he completed the turn and licked and chewed like, “See, I’m smart!” He got too smart and started to circle when she tried to walk towards his rear to get behind him, so she swapped up her technique and just looped it over his head to get it behind him, as he wouldn’t give up the circling game. The first time she changed tactics you could see him thinking, “But but, how’d it still get behind me and around my legs?!” It’s always good to out smart smarty pants Arabs and keep the ball rolling!
See, I’m a good boy and figured it out
After he did that exercise well in both directions she called it a day. Joey was calm and quiet and had taken a lot of new stuff in stride and I’m all for quitting when you’re ahead.
He has great stamina and though he moved out in the saddle quite a bit, the round pen was shady and he didn’t get very sweaty today. There was a cool breeze and the last few nights have been chillier so we skipped the bath and he was standing so quietly in the cross ties at the end that he got to go home after only a few minutes.
Oh, that thing from my back!
Standing so nicely:
Another great session with a very smart boy!