Australian Brumby Challenge ©
I am so so so impressed with Levis progress this week. He has really excelled in our liberty work and liberty riding.
I started off the week with some more laying over him. I wasn’t quite confident that he was ready for me to be on him sitting up right just yet. I felt that if I had of sat up on him and he went to move he would have just gotten scared and would have tried bolting off resulting in me most likely falling off, and that was not something I wanted to happen. Not just for my safety but for his brain. I want riding to be as comfortable and smooth for him as possible. First rides have to be about relaxation and growing confidence. If they buck and bolt off then I think to myself what have I not done right? What step have I missed? So that is why it was so important for me to really make sure he was ready for me to properly sit up on him.
So to be able to achieve a god first ride I needed him to feel me on his back and be able to move. So I had to teach him to hindquarter yield whilst holding me and me being in a different position. He found this quite difficult to start with. He just couldn’t quite get the idea of the stepping under. So I would lay over him ask him to step under himself with a super light que that he already knew from when I ask him from the ground, and then when he just couldn’t get the answer but I could feel him really trying I would slip off and show him from what he already knew. And sure enough the smart little cookie he is figured it out and within a couple of days we were getting some solid hindquarter yielding whilst holding me.
Then comes the next part getting him used to me being quite high up above him and feeling both my butt cheeks on his back. This is such a different feel compared to me just laying over him like a sack of potatoes. So I broke it down in stages again for him so that he wouldn’t get overwhelmed and scared and then go back in his training. So the very first time I sat up on him I gave him a rub up and down his neck and waited for him to let out the breath he was holding in and as soon as he did I got off and ended the session there. I want him to be relaxed and if I can start rewarding relaxation then I can encourage him to become relaxed instead of flighty.
I did that a few more times throughout the week and then by Wednesday I was able to just jump straight on him and sit up without a care at all. He was so great at it that I felt it was time that he started to get a feel of me sitting up right whilst he moves. This is also a new experience for him feeling my weight shift around as he steps under himself. He picked it up pretty quick and before I knew it, it was Thursday and we were progressing to getting our first steps forward and backward. He did so great with this whole process that I just couldn’t believe that the very scared little horse that came to me 15 weeks ago was now letting me sit on his back and without any ropes saddles or bridles. To be honest I didn’t think I would actually end up being able to start him like this. I was about to give up my dream of starting him without ropes or saddles or bridles and was about to start him how I used to start everyone else. I’m so glad I stuck to my guns and really saw this through because it has been the biggest challenge but such an amazing experience and reward.
Friday came around and my beautiful photographer Lisa from Mane Memories Photography came around to do our weekly photo shoot, I called Levi up to the tire and straight away he came in and positioned himself to be able to pick me up. I jumped straight on like he has been doing this all his life. Gave a quick check to make sure that we had our hindquarter yield and we did. So I thought why not lets just ask him to go forward and see what happens. I couldn’t believe it we were walking forward. In no particular direction but that doesn’t matter right now cause I will refine the turning cue over the next few days. So by the end of Friday we have walk forward, back up, the beginnings of turning the forequarters and also yield the hindquarters. I’m so so impressed with how well Levi is going and the achievements we are making together.
Over the next week I plan to really get his steering going better so that we can then work on trot and canter and I also really need to get him loading on the float. We still haven’t tackled the float loading yet but in this next week that’s what I plan to do because I really want to take him to the Brumby festival and to be able to take him he needs to be able to confidently float for me.
Levi is making such amazing progress and I really have to thank the amazing sponsors for helping Levi get to this stage. If your horse isn’t healthy on the inside then they wont b confident calm horses on the outside, so I really want to thank both McDowells Herbs and Dynavyte for helping me bring out the best horse in Levi. Without these amazing sponsors Levi may not be coming along so quickly.
You can follow Levis day to day Journey on both my facebook page Briars Brumbies and also Instagram @Briars_Horses
Until Next Time,
Briar and VBA Levi xxx