Archive for Training Log

Further progress with standing still

We’ve had a few more sessions on standing still, and I think she’s finally getting the idea. So on Friday I introduced Rhona to something new: a chair. I brought a metal folding chair into the round pen and stood in it while she lunged around me. She was a little startled by it at first, and I could tell that having to look UP at me instead of down freaked her out a little bit. It took about 15 minutes for me to get her to approach the chair, but once she did, she settled down a lot. After that I led her back and forth in front of the chair, occasionally having her stop and stand still beside it while I walked between her head and the chair.

On Sunday we did the same thing for about 15 more minutes, and by the end of that she was standing still beside the chair while I stood it in and rubbed her back. Twice she even let me lean on her back for a couple of minutes at a time. I’ll keep doing this for the next week or so until she’s completely comfortable with it.


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Back in Training

I spent a couple of hours working with Rhona yesterday afternoon, and she did amazingly well considering that she’s been out of training for four months. I had to let her trot around the roundpen for several minutes before she calmed down enough to walk, but after that she was great. It only took about five minutes to get her to accept the saddle pad, and another ten to let me tighten the cinch. After that we worked on standing still, which is a real challenge for her. Ever since I did the Join Up with her, she wants to follow me. Getting her to stand still while I walk away isn’t easy, but yesterday I was able to get about 8 feet away before she started moving. I intend to slowly increase the distance until, eventually, I can walk out of sight…

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Introduction to Ground Driving (aka Long Lining)

A friend and I started teaching Rhona to ground drive on Saturday. First I put the bareback pad on Rhona, then I put a simple rawhide bosal hackamore on her head. I attached two lunge lines to the bosal and passed them through rings on the bareback pad. (Note: One usually uses a surcingle, but I can’t find one big enough to fit around Rhona.) My friend led her while I walked about 6 feet behind, holding the lunge lines as reins. We worked on stops and simple turns for about half an hour, and she seemed to get the idea.

You may think that half a hour isn’t much time, but a little seems to go along way with this horse. I’ve noticed that if I work her too long on the same thing, she gets frustrated, much like a smart child does when he’s drilled on the same material over and over…

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Introduction to saddle

I’ve discovered that Rhona is VERY cautious about new equipment of any kind. It took me two days just to get a saddle blanket on her back. She spent hours just sniffing, snorting, pawing and backing away. (I don’t believe in old-fashioned “sacking out.” I prefer to let her accept things at her own pace, even if it means revising my mental training timeline. PMU mares have had precious little novelty in their lives; I figure a fear of new things is to be expected.)

She’s okay with the blanket now, but a saddle seems to be more than she can handle at this point, so I switched tactics and bought a nice leather bareback pad instead. I’ve been working with it for two days now, and today I was even able to tighten the cinch. She was a little scared, but she didn’t panic or buck. I think she’ll settle down in another day or two, then maybe we’ll try the saddle again.

Next weekend I also intend to start ground-driving her to introduce her to reining…

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