And we’re moving!
I finally summoned the courage to walk Smokey through the small gate in his pen last night (it’s 4’ wide). He did just fine on the way out and gave me a little grief on the way back in, but a carrot made that much easier. I know I’m not supposed to be hand feeding him (he’s still very mouthy) but the carrot bribes seem to make the hard stuff much easier for him. I think it takes his mind off of the scariness of the situation.
Last night we continued to work on longeing. I’ve got Smokey moving off of the training flag pretty well, and we’re starting to spook at it less while moving. Standing still is a different story. He’s still petrified of it when he stops to look at it. I can get him to trot on the line now in a relatively controlled manner and he will walk circles forever if I ask (and stay behind his shoulder). He has definitely taught me where the point of inflection is when moving a horse forward. If I get ahead of him, he stops dead.
I’m having trouble getting him to go clockwise right now. He still seems somewhat skittish on his right side and I think that has something to do with it. I guess I still need to spend more time on that side grooming and leading him.
I think it was trying to get him to change direction like in the video below (from Buck Brannaman, of course) and he got spooked and pulled the lungeline through my hands and almost to the end of it. He spun so that the line was over his back and I thought he would panic more, but he kind of collected himself, spun back around to face me, and let me climb back up the line to him with my palm outstretched. That was about the only major freak out we had last night. I spooked him a couple time with much smaller reactions, but I am learning how to meter the spooking with training. Like I have said before, I think there is some amount of spooking he will have to do to get his head in the right place.
He’s showing signs of being stubborn when he doesn’t want to do something. He’ll stop dead and plant his feet and just stand there. He’s also taken to throwing his head around when he’s done working.
I’m thinking that this weekend, I will pull the panels into the arena and make a proper round pen so that I can really get after him about changing direction and moving off the flag. That means he’ll also have to go out with the other horses – something I know pretty much everyone at the barn would like, including me and him. I made a deal that if he canters on the lungeline in a controlled manner, he can go out. We’ll have to find him a couple friends that he gets along with and will tolerate him being in their personal bubble constantly.
I’ve been looking into how I’m going to teach him to tie. I’m terrified he will try to back up or scratch his leg or something, panic and hurt himself pulling back. I’m debating using baling twine that will break if he pulls too hard or getting one of the breakaways below to try. Thoughts?
I didn’t take any pictures last night (at all!), but I will, once again, have my photog there tonight! Jenn with undoubtedly capture some great shots that I can share with you this weekend or Monday.