I’m posting this video as a learning mechanism for myself. There are a LOT of things I’m doing wrong in it, but if it can help me learn some by critiquing, it might help someone else too!
First off I want to say that last night longeing was MUCH better than it has been. The gate sourness was almost entirely eliminated by putting a round pen panel on the outside of the gate. He can no longer get his head over the gate and seems to be responding well to the fact that I have asked politely (pushing his head away) and sternly (with the flag) for him not to put his head over the gate anyway. That being said, he did stop a couple of times at the gate while I was free longeing him. I rectified that situation quickly by shooing him away with the flag (which you’ll also see in the video).
Anyhow, here are my thoughts on the video:
There are a couple of times that I let him turn into the fence to change direction which is a big no-no. I let him do this because he was being uncooperative about going counter clockwise to begin with and just wanted him to go before I asked for a proper change of direction. He did do several proper, away from the fence, changes of direction for me that were not filmed. He can change direction both ways without turning into the fence now. It’s quite nice.
I’m having trouble getting him to stop while free longeing, though. Even getting in front of his shoulder doesn’t really stop him. I have to get pretty close to the fence in front of him and even then he sometimes acts as if he’ll bolt past me. I’m 99% sure he won’t, but it’s still annoying. He did a pretty cool move up against the fence at one point that made me wonder how good he’d be as a cutting horse. He’s got the side to side down pretty well.
This video was taken early on in the session, so he wasn’t fully in the mind set of doing work yet, I don’t think. There was also an awful lot of commotion going on with a horse loose near the round pen and people saddling and walking out to the other arena. He did a pretty good job of paying attention for having that much distraction going on. The part where he gets “stuck” in the corner to the left of the screen is where he’s trying to hang out with the horse that was just over the fence.
Later in the session, he kept up a consistent trot for me in both directions. He still cuts the gate/pasture side of the circle a little in, but we’re working on that. I think I need to step into him more there for a little bit to keep him on the rail. Overall, he seemed happier to do some work for me, which I think might be a product of him being able to get his crazy out in the pasture.
He is definitely responding better to voice commands and knows when I ask to trot versus walk and stop. Sometimes, though, I can tell he just doesn’t feel like it and refuses until I touch him with the flag. He hasn’t gotten too friendly with the flag yet, but he is definitely calmer around it. A few more sessions and I think I’ll be able to use it in close quarters with him to push his shoulder and butt around.
I think Jenn’s work with him on Monday helped him understand when to move his butt and shoulder while on the lead, too. I tried some of it with him, and while he’s still somewhat resistant about moving his shoulder, his butt moves around pretty freely. Once I can get the training flag up that close to him without having a panic attack, I think we’ll be moving right along with moving all four quarters.
Speaking of the pasture, when I went to get him last night, he was up in the far corner of the pasture where all three paddocks meet and the horses seem to all hang out together. He and Colors were standing in the mud being lazy, not even grazing. He faced up to me as I walked up the hill calling to him, but didn’t really walk towards me. I had brought a carrot as a bribe, but was hoping only to reward him for letting me put the halter on, which is exactly what happened.
As I walked up, he took a few steps towards me and walked right over a big, twiggy branch that got stuck in his tail and around his back legs. He stopped once he felt it all tangled. I didn’t want to spook him too much, so I tried to get him to take a side step or two with no luck. He shifted a few times and got it mostly dislodged and he let me pull it out the rest of the way without so much as a flinch. I threw the lead rope over his neck and he let me slide the halter right on. I gave him part of the carrot then. I’ll probably do that a couple more times, but he seems friendly enough in the pasture that maybe it won’t have to keep happening.
He led to the arena without any resistance and actually seemed pretty happy to see me. He let me groom him and we worked on standing “tied” on one of the panels. I looped his lead through the panel and held it when he tried to move. He mostly wants to scratch his legs. He gets flies REALLY bad and they annoy him even worse. My Bronco fly spray isn’t cutting it, so I’m going to give Pyranha a try, even though it sounds like an industrial strength insecticide.