Had a nice ride yesterday with Moose and his owner Pat. We rode back behind the place and Moose did a great job. Pat has been coming by several times a week to work with me and Moose. It's important that Pat learn the things that Moose is learning so that when he goes home she will be able to continue his education.
I've had the chance to spend a lot of time with Pat and get to know how she thinks and feels about horses. She is a long time horse owner and has done, a lot of things with horses in her life time.
We were talking yesterday and, based on our conversation, I realized that I don't think about horses the way other trainers do. We were talking about what to do if we go by a scary object and our horse is nervous or afraid. She has been taught that she should get her horse over to that object and make him understand that it's not going to hurt him. I was taught that too. The problem with that is, to get them up to the scary object we will have to pressure the horse by kicking or jerking around with the reins. When we do that we get our horses even more nervous and scared of the object. Sure, you might be able to get that done, and the horse may smell the object but, in his mind, you just justified the reason he was afraid of the object to begin with.
How would I do it? Good question. What I do when we are coming up to a scary object, like yesterday when we went by a windmill that was making a scary noise, I suggested to Pat that she just let Moose drift away from the scary object, if he wanted to. Asked her not to make a big deal about it, just ride forward and if he needed to go around the windmill, let him. He was nervous but he was not afraid. Why? Because Pat did not have to get nervous about having to make Moose accept the scary windmill. They could both, just think about going past the scary thing. See, we were going to come back to this scary place on our way back home. He would see it again. And, the next time he would see it, he would not have the memory of someone forcing him to accept it. When we came back to the windmill after a couple of hours of riding he had little or no trouble.
I have used this method of getting a horse to accept scary things for a lot of years now, and it has always worked. So, take your time. If you are trying to get your horse over his fear of something you ride by just keep riding by it. If we don't make it a big deal he won't either.
Moose is making really good progress as we work thru some of his issues. I rode him a little today and then had his owner, ride him and work on being able to control his feet and body position.
Both Moose and Pat did a really good job today in the round pen.
He still needs help but he is so much better then when he came here.
Yesterday Car, the horse, had some visitors to the barn. One of our neighbors, Garland, brought over his daughter Bonnie, and her two little girls. They were here visiting their Grandpa. I put them, all three, to work brushing Car and getting him ready for his picture to be taken. These little girls know a lot about horses and knew just what to do to fix Car up. Once he was ready it was time for a picture or two.
Once he was gussied up he wanted to show off so I took him into the round pen do he could show the girls how to get up on a pedestal. It took him a little while to figure out where his feet were suppose to go but he figured it out. Don't he look proud?
Just before the girls got here I was working with Pat and her boy Moose. Pat, an accomplished horseman her self is working on being a better leader to Moose and working on some of her ground work skills. In the picture above she is lunging Moose as he travels with a couple of tarps tied to his saddle.
Moose's big problem is he is a little afraid of "stuff". He is just as gentle and kind as he can be when working with him on the ground, but gets really nervous when something new is introduced in his world. Helping a horse to get over his fears takes a lot of time. It's not something you're going to fix in a few days or a few hours. He will be here thru the month of Feb, which will give Pat and I a chance to really help him.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.