Today B, our trainer, made it out despite the fact that it was about 100 degrees in the shade. Luckily she comes in the evenings and by then the round pen is shady!
Just WHAT are you doing on my precious right side??
While I understand and appreciate everything B is doing with Joey, in my head I was wondering, “what’s the next breakthrough? or step?” I tend to think analytically and like lists and knowing what is to come. It’s not always the best approach with horse training, in fact one of the things I admire about B is her calm, go-with-the-flow, let the horse show you, approach. She put him in his tack and long lines, which he is good at and is now relaxing wonderfully into, and Joey answered my question of what’s next, what’s the next breakthrough.
Walking quietly off from B in the beginning, first Walk departure! So calm! Look at that head!
Joey’s go to move is, predictably, to flee. Of course horses are flight animals, but Joey has also been low man in the herd for much of his life until he came here 4 months ago, so he is very practiced at fleeing–he had to flee so he didn’t get his little behind whooped! When B started with him it was all trotting, much of it nervous, high headed, and if we got a step of walk we were beyond happy. Today was just so different! Joey was very in tune to B and when he did become uncomfortable, while he would squirt away into a brisk trot, he would stop himself in a matter of a few steps to look/tune in/ask what’s next. Even when B started shuffling her feet, akin to the bunny hop, a suspicious human activity which prompted a panic high speed trot, after about 10 circuits he was stopping to stare, trotting, stopping to stare, and then deciding he wasn’t maybe so scared or impressed by that anymore. He was much more into thinking, investigating. asking, and giving–than fleeing. Huzzah!
Love that trot
I feel pressure to my left..
I think this is what she wants..
More nice walking
Look at the bend 🙂
AND THEN! As usual, about 3/4 through the session, Joey got warm, tired, unimpressed, and decided to stop. He seemed quite content standing there, so B sidled over next to and slightly off his right hind. This usually cues a panicked trot departure, as he doesn’t like things behind him, especially on that precious right side. This time he just sort of eyeballed her but didn’t move, so she sidled behind him, still holding the lines. His head went up, nervously, but he stayed with his feet planted and turned his head slightly left to right to watch her on each side of him as she moved slightly.
Peeking right, Hello Joey, he says SHOOT, she’s on that side too, Just breathe man!
He did so wonderfully having her standing behind him a couple of times, so she decided to completely switch it up and take some pressure off. She un-tacked him and let him loose in the round pen to relax, but he was still glued to her, following her around, circling her. It was pretty cute.
She decided to get up out of the round pen to let him figure out he was on his own.
Where ya going???
He stood around, kinda confused, then not too concerned. He checked out his tack hanging on the round pen, gave the pad a bite for good measure. As soon as B got back in the pend he was interested:
You’re back, what’re we doing??
To finish up, B worked on running the stick down his right hind leg while he was loose in the round pen. Again, the key to Joey is giving him an escape, an out, and if you do that, he will try his hardest to do well. If you trap him, he goes quickly to panic and could so easily turn to dangerous just in his need to GET AWAY. It’s very rewarding though, because with him, even when he is scared, he returns to try again.
He tries to block her coming to his right side with his head, she blocks him from doing that with the stick as a bar. He can move away forward, but cannot be allowed to move *her* or into her space for his own reasons.
His “try” was exhibited in the stick exercise; he would get nervous about the stick running down The Precious (seriously he obsesses over it so much it deserves that title!), trot away forward (never toward or into B), then stop himself and circle right back to B. He did this a number of times and she ended on a quiet, calm stick circuit up and down The Precious, at liberty. She just turned and walked away without an other word, and that really got Joey’s attention.
You didn’t take/murder/eat The Precious? Where ya going??
Joey got a bite or two of green grass on his way back up to the cross ties and it was *comical* watching him trying to chew with a bit in for the first time. He was very intent on it, and the bit came out of his mouth later without a blade of grass on it! Impressive
Chompchomp, what’sthat?!, chompchomp
After a bath, a little walk just to change up his routine . See the finger pointing at him? Joey got a little rushy and B said Hey, watch yourself Son. Pretty funny, didn’t see it until I uploaded the photos but it totally captured the discipline moment.
“So then they strapped this crap on me, and I had to let them touch The Precious, man, Blaze, it was rough!”