Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Well we didn’t see any sun this week, which makes it very hard to do much in the rain and mud.
So my report will be about today, which is Saturday, and the first day that it hasn’t rained and I got a chance to work with Yani.
I introduced Yani to the bridle today, which I started by placing my thumb in her mouth and resting it on the roof of her mouth, she relaxed and started to suck and try to swallow. I do this from both sides and have been doing this for a couple of weeks to allow her to be relaxed with something in her mouth besides food.
I then put some molasses on the outside of a syringe which has the tip cut off so it doesn’t poke her on the inside of her mouth, and she sucks and chews on this and starts looking for more. I then progress this to the bit, and I like to use a full cheek snaffle.
I have been rubbing Yani all over the head and around her ears so putting a bridle over her ears is not a shock to her.
I ask Yani to bend around my body and offer her the bit which she picks up and plays with, as I place the bridle over her ears with no problems at all. Another reason I like to use the molasses on the bit is so Yani chews and swallows while the bit is in her mouth.
I don’t long rein or put side reins on as you can’t control the upward motion of the reins, and low pressure only causes the bit to pull down on a horses tongue, teaching a horse to over bend by avoiding the pressure and therefore dropping any contact on the reins.
Instead I prefer to walk beside Yani with both reins in hand mimicking the riding position of reins and working on the contact of the corners of the horse’s mouth, and keeping the reins higher, and the Yani’s jaw mobile, letting her ask for the contact and not be afraid of it.
I can also teach her have a lower head position by seeking the contact below her wither height, and therefore having some adjustability with head position, and her carrying her own head and not leaning on the bit for support. Yani is very accepting of this technique and this type of ground work will continue right through her time with me.
Yani is still quite reactive with other things, like more than one person around her, moving her rug before some warning etc, but I will work on asking her to be more responsive rather than reactive, which I put down to her heightened flight response.
I feel at times it’s one step forwards, and then two backwards, but time is what she needs and maybe with some better weather this may improve with some more exposure.
I’m not too concerned with hurrying her along as it can only take as long as Yani is accepting, and I still feel she will be better for it in the long term.