Getting our herd used to our new shelter today. Stormy and Tara were okay on line and at liberty but Mark and I helped Spirit get used to it through repetition and approach/retreat until he was a bit more confident about it. We will continue to do this so that he gets acclimatised to it more and more.
This video hopefully shows two of the things I always strive to get over time to make mounting better. The first is asking the horse to square his feet up so that he’s balanced and ready for me to be on his back, the second is asking the horse to learn to sidle up to the mounting block and later whatever I am standing on to mount (ie. gate, large stone, quad bike, another horse!). These two things get better with practise so I will film us again doing these after our first 7 practise sessions to show how we’re getting on with it.
And here is a short update on ‘squaring up’ with Spirit…
This video shows how I use a ‘half circle’ technique to ask my horse to go through something without me moving. This helps keep me safe and is a great way of teaching bravery for the horse to go through something without just following me. I use this technique for going through gates, into stables, over jumps, through streams and trailer loading.
The technique uses a lot of the basic ABC’s of horsemanship techniques: backup, move shoulder away, forward away from me in an arc, disengage hindquarters to face and wait then back up again to give me space to close the gate 🙂
This ‘game’ is one I use often to help teach horses (and myself) to become straighter when riding. If your horse is used to a contact then you may find going to a loose rein difficult, try using a slightly loose rein and get the rein longer and longer as you work at it, often a horse can become ‘lost’ if it’s used to a contact so don’t upset it, just try to get on a loose rein as you go 🙂
Bridling can be difficult with a big horse so asking for the horse to lower his head is a prerequisite to relaxation whether it’s bitless or bitted. Here are some tips to help you and your horse with happy bridling.
Some of us have horses with delicate muzzles that get quite burned in the heat of the sun. It can be very painful for the horse so we put sun cream on ours to help stop that but it can often be hard to get the cream on their noses. I recommend using kids sun cream with as high a factor as possible (50+) and without any fragrance and the technique I use is in the video below…
Here is an update on Sollys Head Down exercise with Treat Training. The first part of this was done 2 weeks ago and we’ve been practising his head down for a treat with me in front of him. He got this pretty quickly and I’ve been working on doing more each time before he gets a treat, bringing a gap of relaxation each time before asking for more. This helps him find relaxation with the ‘click’ I do more than the treat so that I can extend the time more and more before giving him the treat, the treat now is used as a BIG ‘WELL DONE’ and not a first time learning ‘YOU’VE GOT IT’ treat that we started with.
I also gave it a break so that he didn’t get over enthusiastic about the ‘treat’ and forget the actual training we were doing. This helps us rebalance the issue that can occur of over ‘posturing’ for a treat or mugging.
This week I’ve just been asking for more than just lowering his head and relaxing for a treat when I’m in front of him, I’ve been standing further away and asking him to walk towards me, lowering his head to my hand for a treat. Each time I’ve done this I’ve been further away than the last time and it’s gone really well, he gets that it’s about coming to me, relaxing with his head down. Here is a short video to show you how it’s working now.
We have been building up the time and distance for this task and are at the stage where Solly comes to me when I give him my raised hand signal and he gets a treat only when I am leaving the field. Huge progress in a short time and task now in his repertoire. Here are pics I took of him working the task from a huge distance to me…what a super clever boy he is.
I’ve been using ‘Treat Training’ for Solly for a few years now and it’s really helped our relationship. Before TT he was obedient and becoming well behaved but I didn’t have his heart, he did things but not with willingness or acceptance and I never just want ‘tolerance’ as I feel it’s not a true Connection. So, I learned my own version of Treat Training to help him ‘get’ what I was asking quicker and he really cheers up and is more willing once he knows quickly that he’s doing the right thing with training. He also used to be a horse that could bite and I never thought I’d be using treats to help train him BUT in fact it’s helped to teach him to NOT bite which is a huge bonus too.
Here we are today working on Relaxation from in front of his head: