Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A look at those February goals so far


So, here is what I had for goals for this month with a current update on our progress for each goal:
- Takes treats out of the hand: Check!! This obviously didn't take long to master
- Being haltered and caught willingly out in a large turnout: Check! He now sees me and comes marching right up, doesn't even blink when a rope goes around his neck and holds his head still for a halter. He is also getting led to and fro from his stall to the turnout in nothing but a neck rope. Awesome!
- Paying attention while being led: For the most part, check, he walks with his head level, when he does get pushy normally asking him to back up, turn a circle, or do something to refocus his attention works well.
- Manners (no biting, pushing, kicking, etc.): Really haven't had to work on this much, he's really good actually and respects my space rather nicely.
- Stand tied quietly without pawing or wiggling: We weren't getting anywhere much tying him by the tack room, away from the other horses, he'd stand but he'd be not focused on me and often jumping around. So I've started tying him up on the other end of the barn, closer to the turnout and he's much better, still gets fidgety sometimes but its getting better. I think he gets bored easily, cuz when he's not paying attention to something else or watching the other horses he's trying to munch on the tie post... grrrr.
- Lunge walk/trot, starting on using side reins: so far lunging on a line in a larger open area such as the arena is hit or miss. He was AWESOME one day and I was even able to ask for a little canter, which he did willingly and without taking off, just very tense. But, thanks to lots of snow I haven't had much of an opportunity to do consistent lunging. But often he's tense and doesn't want to relax, and keeps cutting in. So the last couple times I've done round pen work, which he is really catching on to, he's picking up on and listening to my body language while free lunging, which is awesome. He's showing relaxation and submission, and doing what those natural horsemanship gurus have made millions off of by calling it "joining up". I recently picked up the book called "Beyond the Track" and it had a whole chapter on free lunging in the round pen to start establishing rhythm, balance, and relaxation in the gaits. It refreshed my memory of years ago when we started all the young horses with free lunging, teaching them voice commands off body language, it was then a walk in the park adding the lunge line and moving to the arena. So, that's what I've decided I'm going to do with Cash. I may get lucky and have things melt/dry up this week, so I want to get him going in side reins in the round pen, get him accepting the contact and then moving to the arena.
- Explore roads/trails via hand walking: This had kinda been weather dependent, while he is to the point where I almost feel comfortable, I really don't want to do it with icy/wet/muddy roads, so if it clears up we'll give it a go in the next week or so.
- Free jumping over a small single jump: Again, veeeery weather dependent, the arena hasn't been dry, much less visible under the snow for two weeks now. It's suppose to get warm(ish) this week and next, so maybe I'll be able to free jump him before the end of the month!! We shall see :)
So, really, not bad!! For only being half-way through the month. I'm pleased. Now.... if this mud will just go away!


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