Below are some photos from a couple of early rides. We were riding in the main pasture and the first time we rode out there we went out afterwards alone on the loop to the bottom of the
hill and back and she did well. She is very curious and brave in a reserved
sort of way. She will move laterally very fast when she is not sure but keeps
her feet under her so it’s not so hard to stay with her.
The second time we rode outside she walked and trotted in the pasture and on the
trail. A friend went out with us with her new horse Milo. Rima lead,
went behind and went alongside.
I am very pleased with her progress. It looks like I will
have a mount for drill team this fall!
I’ve been asked several times over the years “How is this groundwork going to help me get smooth transitions, come straight to
the jump, get my horse to be safe to ride on the trail, stop my horse from
counter bending, get my horse to stand at the halt?”….the list goes
Because of this I have decided to make my first series of 4 horsemanship
workshops all about answering these questions.
I’ve just returned from a 4 day clinic with Buck
Brannaman and am grateful for the tools he gave me to pass on to you to help
you learn and advance in your horsemanship skills. I’ve already started applying
them to Rima and am very pleased with the results.
For these 4 classes you will need an appropriate rope halter
and 12 foot lead. If you don’t understand what appropriate means please
ask me and I will help you understand and acquire one. I would also like you to
bring a flag if you have one. If you don’t have one you can still do some
work but you will do better if you have the right tools.
As always I will ask you to commit to all 4 classes.
The classes will all be held on Sundays from 11am to 2pm.
There will be limited stall space. Stalls are to left as found or you will be
charged a fee of $20.00.
Costs for the series is $200.00 for all 4 classes. Class
size will be limited to 6 which will enable me to give more individual guidance
Auditors fee is $10.00 per class. I strongly recommend
people to come audit first if they are new to my work and wish to see what
would be expected of them as a participant. Also auditing offers a wealth of
knowledge for a very small amount. You will gain a new perspective on how to
work with your horse safely and more effectively.
Workshop dates are Sept. 22nd and 29th & Oct. 6th and 13th.
Rima is getting more relaxed in her work. I have handled her mouth several times in preparation for bridling and in the process discovered she had a wolf tooth.
She was very good for the vet ,taking the needle for sedation.I discovered she has a very narrow mouth and will first try a small 3 piece snaffle and see if it is a good fit.
I have been roping her feet. Her first session was a little tricky and she kicked out with her right hind. She has since become more accepting of me placing the rope around her leg and dropping it to her foot and has learned to give to the pressure without bracing or resisting. (You might notice there is a horse and rider working in the arena while we do this, and Rima is paying attention to me despite this potential distraction.)
She is yielding the front end now in a much more cooperative
way. Yielding the front end is challenging for most horses, and is a basic exercise I always use in evaluating and developing any horse at any level. It's one of the ten fundamental exercises included in the book The Better Deal (available here).
Finally, Rima will now stand and allow me to rub her head while it is down. Up until now she would raise her head and run backwards when I tried to rub it, particularly when I was standing on the left. She came around much sooner on the right.
Tomahawk is a 25 year old POA pony. His current owner has had him for a year but has ridden him only a few times. She would like to have the confidence to take him trail riding with her friends in the nearby state park. Practicing towards that she is loading and trailering him to the ranch twice a week. We are working on basics for safety: good ground manners, standing at the mounting block, staying there until asked to walk off, and stopping immediately any time the rider asks. With a little practice I think they will make a great team.
Rima has been doing well in her circle work in both directions, so I introduced the saddle. She stood well for saddling, but once on the circle experimented with every trick in the book to get rid of it. She finally realized it was just part of the job to carry the saddle and hasn't tried anything to get rid of it since.
After the first saddling session I walked up to rub her on the head, turned around to walk away and she bit me on the arm. I didn't react, as she caught me by surprise and my timing would have been off. Instead I returned to her side, talked to her for a bit, slapped the stirrups on the saddle a bit (below), asked her to disengage her hindquarters a few times, and then walked away again.
She didn't try to bite a second time. She also attempted to bite once while having her feet handled and will threaten with her mouth when having the halter removed after work. She is getting better about that. It's a rather strange habit, but she's a smart horse and I enjoy working with her and I think we'll work through it.
Rima is making very good progress with her feet. When she first came she would not allow her feet to be held, and was prone to kicking and biting when frustrated. Over the next weeks she got better at allowing her feet to be picked up, though she would stomp them down right away. She is now allowing her feet to be held and her legs extended forward or backward as the farrier will need to do.
In her circle work she can now hold a nice trot in both directions and we have introduced the canter. She can canter three circles in each direction without getting disorganized or inattentive and falling back into the trot or reacting in frustration.
She is a smart horse with a playful streak who just got confused about
how things work. But a confused horse is not a safe horse to work with!
I'm happy to see that with consistent handling she's making such good
progress and her underlying good character is shining through.
See past posts about Rima here and here. There are other posts about case studies in training in the category "Training Observations," including videos of round pen work, a hard to catch horse and others.
So after a week and a half of work I can now walk up and pet Rima on the head without her getting defensive.
When I take her down to the arena for ground work I work her and then tie her to the wall while I work a second horse. This helps her learn to wait patiently and be around barn activities and work out any tendency to pull back when tied. I lead her around while tidying up the arena, too.
She can walk and trot a circle in both directions now, but I'm not asking her to canter yet as she is still braced and learning to balance herself at the trot.
When she braces she sometimes gets tangled up and tries to get away. In this picture she's just spun around to try to get away. I'm bracing the rope on my hip in the second picture so it doesn't get pulled out of my hand.
All in all she's clearly got a good mind and she wants to understand. She's listening. Bit by bit her old defensive habits will drop away and she'll lose the anxiety and reactivity.