Thursday – July 3 – we added ground driving. This is a twofold project. It will work to help him understanding the reins and turning and stopping – AND it is a beginning towards driving him with a cart. Jack took video – but his computer is locked up, and I am not sure when we will have that footage. But let me tell you, you won’t believe it anyway. This colt, who is a 3 yr old Stallion, accepted the whole process without a fuss. I added a surcingle – with side reins hanging part way down – No Problem. I started by lunging him. Then I put the ground driving lines through the rings and attached them to the bit. And I started double lunging him – and basically ground drove him. It was NOT a problem. He turned. He stopped. He walked on.
My Other goal was to help him learn to walk from MY aids, not just following Jack. So, I worked from the ground a little, making sure that the use of my dressage whip didn’t set him off. We worked in hand until I was sure the whip would not upset him, but that he understood the command ‘Walk on”. Then I mounted up. It wasn’t perfect. He stood a Lot. But I kept tapping him and gradually he started walking. He looked and felt Lost at Sea! But we wove left and right and finally we managed a lap around the round pen. He is better going right than left. He also proves that he is a smart horse. He wanted to just stand in the shade on the west side of the pen! But it was all calm. He tensed up one tiny moment when I was tapping him with the whip. But No bucking. No running. Not even much head tossing. I consider it ALL GOOD.
Later, the kids from the Boys and Girls Club of the Antelope Valley came for their horse club session. They were all eager to meet Corey. He was more than willing to greet all of them. I Love that he likes people. All people. It should help him in the future when he goes to shows. And it will serve him well as he meets people any place. Mostly it just means he is super cool
Friday July 4th.
Our original plans has been to go away for a couple days. But Jack fell from the ladder while putting up the American Flag. So, we stayed home. But I got caught up in cleaning my office and I just turned Corey out in the round pen, with No work. No other horses got worked either. It really was a holiday. If you can consider spending 8+ hrs cleaning my office a holiday. But It needed doing. I found the paperwork I had been looking for, and in the evening we grilled brats and had home made potato salad. Good enough.
Saturday July 5th
I asked Jack to take just still photos of our training session, since he is having major computer battles when he tries to upload the videos. But I don’t have even these right now. But I have to say, Corey continues to impress me. And I didn’t think I could get More impressed with him. This marks exactly 3 weeks since he and his brown friend ‘volunteered’ to come into the catch pen. In just 20 days, he has learned to be easily caught and haltered. He picks up all 4 hooves. He accepts grooming and fly spray. He LIKES me and nickers to me! He accepts a saddle, bit and even ground drives. I can ride him, with NO bucks or resistance. He is friendly to strangers and greets almost everyone as a new friend. He jumps low cross rails when lunging and is not afraid of the cart.
Today, I reinforced the ground driving, and really worked on WHOA. Sometimes when I apply pressure on the bit, his nose comes to his chest, but he keeps on walking. From the ground, I can at least drag him to a stop. He needs to learn that Whoa and a rein pull mean Stop Moving. He also needs to steer more consistently. But at least he is calm and willing.
During grooming, when I asked for the left hind leg, he didn’t want to give it. He gave a slight kick towards me. I corrected him with a loud “AUGHTTT” and he walked away. He was Not hard tied, just the rope wrapped 4 times around the top rail. So, he just left. And when I went to catch him, he actually trotted away. This is a FIRST. Up until now, he has always Wanted to be WITH me. Today, ummm – “not so much”. I am not sure if this is because the work is getting harder, or just because he had yesterday off. But I kept the pressure on him and made him trot around until he said “this is dumb” and he stood and faced me. And I caught him, and we moved on.
I didn’t want to be greedy, but I also need him to build strength, so we walked around for at least 10 minutes. He was good and calm and happy the whole time. Hard to complain about that!
Then I asked him to load into the trailer, and he clomped right in. I added the complexity of Backing Out and while that first step backwards off the trailer was confusing and a little scary, he did it and stayed calm. I really REALLY love the mind this horse has!
Goals for next week – walk around the ranch more – add trot while riding – pony on trail (or hand walk) – start dragging something in preparation for carriage driving … and on July 13th, he gets gelded!