Sunday, July 28, 2013

Listen to Me!


A bit behind on blogging, I'll admit, but oh well.  I spent a week in California on vacation--I got to hang out with my aunt, my cousin and her kids, my grandparents, and just enjoy a week of no work, no errands, no appointments, no running around, no alarm clock in the morning--it was fantastic!!

I am slowly but surely figuring out how to reprimand Cash.  First, is his spooking, I am starting to find that line between yes, he is actually spooking, and no, now he's just being a jerk.  Yesterday was a great example, I was lunging him and he initially was very looky at "that end" of the arena.  I let him stop and look, and then move on again.  But he kept looking each time we'd come around and would get this little pattern going: slow down, duck in, speed up, pull out.... and after about 10 times of this I was like "Ok, enough. Time for you to listen."

So when he slowed down I snapped his butt with the whip, when he ducked in I snapped his shoulder, when he sped up and pulled out I gave him a nice pull back in and by then we were back to his slow down spot and I repeated. He's a smart cookie, once I was onto his game it only took me doing this twice for him to go "Oh, sorry mom, I'll listen." Turd.

I experimented too with a side rein set up and I'm super pleased with the results.  When lunging (and when riding) he really braces in his neck and can pull and fall in super easily as a result.  I'm not a huge side rein fan as I feel that they are very unforgiving and hard on a horse's mouth--there just is no suppling action.  So what I did was attach a side rein to the outside to be that steady outside rein the horse works into.  On the inside I took the lunge line and ran it through the bit and back to the girth and attached it as the same height as the side rein.  This gave me that inside rein suppling factor and a GREAT way to also effectively disengage him when he tries to brace and pull on the lunge line.  I can say that I've been really happy with the results of how he carried himself the last couple of lunging sessions.

My training goals for Cash for the foreseeable future are two very simple things:

  1. Rhythm and Relaxation
Note the emphasis on #2... this also applies to in hand.  I'm making it a point of taking him out for walks on the road, and he can sometimes loose focus and starts invading my space.  The week before I was in Cali he decided to suddenly take a feel good leap forward during which he then kicked out at me and caught me square in the knee.  I kid you not I thought I didn't have a knee anymore as it instantly went numb.  Thankfully I must have got just the end of the kick because I could still walk just fine and I promptly brought the fear of god down upon him--I was NOT happy!  He's been much, much more respectful now and listens instantly the moment I correct him.  There is a reason I hand walk this horse in a stud chain!

So, I've decided to implement a rule of that he is allowed ONE good look for each scary item, after which he HAS to listen to me.  Also, when he gets his one look, he is looking only, no slowing down, no speeding up, no stopping unless I say, and especially no spinning and trying to go the other way.  Sounds simple enough, right??

On another note, go take a look at this cutie!! If I had the money for another horse I would so snatch him up, just look at that uphill canter!


Glad you are doing well. :) Sounds like a solid plan with Cash, hope it comes along nicely.

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