Had a great ride yesterday with Chota. We covered a lot of ground and I can see her confidence coming up as the rides get longer.
It was a little cold yesterday but the sun was out so I thought I would take a selfie of Chota and me. Came out pretty good.
Will work today in the arena on getting her to move off of leg pressure and get her side passing down the rail.
Yesterday was the first day I have worn spurs with her. She handled them with little or no trouble.
Folks often ask me why I use spurs. Its important to understand what spurs are for. What spurs are not for is getting your horse to move forward. How do I know that? If you watch a race horse on the track, the jockey does not use spurs to get the horse to go forward. As a matter of fact, the jockey never uses spurs. They get the horse to move forward by using a crop or whip and use it on the horse's back side where the motor is.
Spurs were developed, and are designed, to get the horse to move from side to side.
More about that at another time.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that, horses only know what they know. Horses who have been born in the wild or, have had the chance to be a horse, where they can get out and explore their world are more rounded horses. Horses that have only been in an arena or paddock, will only know what they have seen and experienced in that environment. Many folks, that get horses, do not have the luxury of a large ranch and lots of land, where they can let their horses run. I find myself in that situation now.
What I'm trying to get around to is, horses only know what they know. So, when we show them something different then they have ever seen, they may not be as excited to try it as you are. Thats when we need to TAKE our TIME. The magic pill.
Working with Chota, the colt I have here in training, has reminded me of this very simple fact. I took Chota out for her first ride the other day and she did not want to cross a very simple wash. She was not as excited to do that, or several other things that day. Why? Because, she had never seen one in her life and just did not know what she should do, or more importantly, what she COULD do. She had no idea that she could cross that thing, cause she had never been asked to do that before. What did I do?
I got off her and, with the reins, asked her to take a look at it. This took me out of the equation. Now, she didn't have to try to figure out what I was doing up there, and could focus her attention on what I was trying to show her. It took a little while but, before long, she was standing in the bottom of the wash. She figured out she could cross that scary spot in the road. While she was standing in the bottom of the wash I got back on her and we rode out of the wash. I had to do this a couple of times on our ride but it was well worth the time. She got better and better, braver and braver as the day went on.
So some advice, it's FREE. Take your time and remember, you may know how it's suppose to look, but your horse probably won't. So, TAKE YOUR TIME!
There are a lot of things I do here at the barn when it comes to training that I would never do at a clinic. Why? Good question. At a clinic I don't know anything about the horses or their owners. I have no idea how well behaved or trained they are, and so don't know how much pressure they can take. That goes for the owners too.
In the picture above Chota, is wearing a blue tarp. You can't see it or tell but she is just walking around with it on. When she first got here, if I would have tried this, she would have taken down the round pen. However, she is at a place in her training where I'm asking her to tolerate more and more things. I want the worst thing that ever happens to her to happen to her here, with me, so I can make sure she is safe and, help her with her fears.
I took a pice of an old tarp and hung it on the rail of the round pen. What was really cool was, she went over to that tarp and got as close to it as she could, as if she was finding comfort next to that tarp that was flopping in the wind. She is over coming some of her fears as we go along and that is great.
PLEASE! Do not take a tarp and tie it to your horse's saddle if you have not prepared your horse for this. If you do, chances are you are going to get you and your horse in a wreck. I'm showing you this so you can see where you can get your horse to. I often have to put on a slicker from my horses back. If they did not have this training I'm sure I would have a harder time and might even get bucked off in the process. I've seen others, who did not prepare their horse for having a slicker put on from horse back, get bucked off. I don't want that to happen to you.
This is a picture I took from Chota's back yesterday on her first ride outside the arena and round pen. She still has a long ways to go but now, we can start to take what we have learned in the arena and put it to practice in the real world.
Of course Kevin the cow dog was with us and Chota had no issues with that either.
She continues to make really good progress and as we move our training out into the real world, her confidence will continue to grow.
Won't be long and I'll have another pony to work with. His name is Moose and his mom's name it Pat. He is a mustang from the BLM adopt a mustang program.
He gets along pretty good with his owner but he is a little jumpy about things so am looking forward to helping him get past some of those things and help he and his owner.
I'll be shooting video of his progress as I have with Chota so you will want to tune in for that.
I'm having a hard time getting videos to post to this blog so you will be able to find them at https://www.facebook.com/MackieRedd or my new YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0WWeDzqnXkKIhcXJjecESg
Chota is making really good progress. She is still al little girl but her confidence continues to improve.
We are working on mostly riding now. Teaching her to neck rein and step up to the gate so I can open it from her back. Continue to work on trust exercises so she will not be afraid of everything around her.
I posted a new video on FB of her learning to step up to the rail on her right side. She had not been taught that in the pasted and she learns the skill pretty fast. Give it a look.
I had a nice visit with a lady from Silver City NM yesterday. She had emailed me the week before asking if she could come over and watch me work with horses. I told her of course. She has a young horse that she was having a few issues with and had some questions. She is no spring chicken, like me I guess, and does not want to get hurt working, or riding this horse.
After a long conversation and me showing her a couple of my horses we finally got to the real question. What to do now? The horses real issue, in my opinion is, he needs a leader. She knows that she has not been filling that roll like it needs. But what to do now.
I often get folks that come to visit and I can tell that they are to, what's the word?, close to the horse, to know, or have the want, to fix the problem. Yes, time will help a lot of issues with a young horse, her horse is 3, but it's not time alone.
You can take all the time you like, but if you do not establish your self as the leader in your herd, it's not if, but when, you're going to get hurt.
I tell folks: You're going to have to be a firm as necessary but as gentle as you can be. Some folks just don't know how to be firm. Some don't know how to be firm and fair. And, some just don't have the skill or heart to get the job done.
Time! It all takes time! But, sometimes, a person needs a little help down the trail. If you find yourself not knowing what to do, and nervous about where you are going or what may happen next, get help. Theirs no shame in asking someone for a helping hand.
I can't stress enough, how important it is to teach your horse to go forward. Everything, in their training, will depend on their moving forward.
For example. You can't teach a horse how to stop, if they won't go forward. You can't teach a horse to turn right or left, if they won't go forward.
Work on forward movement should have been happening all along your process so far. From the round pen to work at the end of a lead rope, it all should have the idea of teaching the horse to go forward.
Whenever I get a horse in for training that has an issue with moving forward, I don't worry, to much in the beginning, about the horse stopping. Remember? I can't teach the horse to stop if he won't go forward.
For some horses it will require that you put a lot of pressure on them to get them to understand, it is better to move forward then to stand still. They will learn that if they will just move off, forward, you will leave them alone.
If you have a colt or older horse with this issue, take your time, but be consistent. They will figure it out, if you show it to them in a way they can understand.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.