Australian Brumby Challenge ©

WEEK 4 VBA Zazu

I have had so much fun working with Zazu this week and I feel we have achieved a lot. Last weekend after Zazu had several days off I was able to pick up right where we left off. It was her second ride and I started in the round pen walking and trotting, ensuring I could move her forward freely and easily. After 5-10 minutes in the round pen I felt Zazu was ready to take outside. Too much time in the round pen or arena trying to get things 100% I feel only makes a horse sour about their riding. She needed purpose to travel and something else to think about. She handled this perfectly! walking with purpose but not rushing. I was still able to pick up one rein and have Zazu softly bent and into a stop. Not bad for her second ride!

Throughout the week I predominately rode Zazu around the property - I am very fortunate to have lots of bush and hills to trail ride her around. My dog basil always comes along and he is forever running in and out of the bushes chasing Deer and wallabies. Zazu handles this like the pro that she is and seems completely unfazed by it all. Even in some of the terrible winds that we have had Zazu seems at home on the trail.

In these early stages of riding I am trying to keep it low key - lots of trail rides with little pressure from me, so she can learn to enjoy our riding time whilst building her fitness and strength. I did however do one session in the arena where my focus was teaching her to understand my leg cues ie moving her hip, shoulder and learning to bend around my leg in the circle. She is picking this up quickly so I try and keep those sorts of sessions short and sweet. She even allows me crack the whip off of her now.

I also introduced the float to Zazu. Initially when I brought her out of the paddock she was worried and focused on the float. It was important to make sure Zazu's focus is on me and not what is going on around us, so I started by doing some ground work away from the float regaining her attention. Once I had her attention I asked her to approach, just allowing her to sniff and investigate. Her own curiosity got the better of her and she stepped up with her front legs onto the ramp. I then asked her back legs to follow and she came off of my forward pressure softly. She was actually more concerned about backing off the float than she was walking on, however, slow gentle practice of one foot at a time regained her confidence and saw me loading and unloading her easily. I plan over the next few months to do lots of float trips to different areas for riding to get Zazu used to travel and working in new environments.

Amy Eighteen

FB: Amy Eighteen Equine Services.

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