Australian Brumby Challenge ©
This week VBA Moonshine and I have really been getting on with our groundwork and desensitising. Where this is normally where I would start with a horse in week one, it’s taken me until now to gain his trust enough to be able to make these asks of him. However I do not see this as a bad thing. Haven taken the time he needed at the beginning I actually have a really trusting little horse that genuinely seems to look to me for comfort and security when he needs it and I’m sure this will only increase as time goes on and he learns more and more coping skills as we continue through the groundwork.
This week Moonshine has learned to go off around in a nice soft circle both ways. What’s really noticeable about Moonshine is that unlike many other horses I have worked with I actually didn’t have to teach him to not pull against me or to arch his body around so that it matches the circle, which can take a significant amount of time. As a wild horse gaining his focus has been no problem, and as he’s never had a hand that doesn’t release as soon as he responds, his softness in the halter is unlike anything I’ve ever come across. So some of the hardest things to achieve, focus and softness, are already there!
He has also learned to disengage his hindquarters both ways, yield his front end both ways, move off around me in a half circle both ways and go between me and the fence. He has been desensitised to the flag and the rope, we’ve been walking over tarpaulin, playing with balls and pool noodles, having saddle pads and rollers put on and just in the last few days he’s learned to side pass up to me sitting on the fence so I can get him used to me and all the other things from above, which will be critical to him not been afraid when I do get on him.
There are still a number of things I would like him to learn before he is ready to be ridden and I’d like all of these things to be really solid, as if not, it’s inevitably something I will have to go back and spend more time fixing later so spending the time now will save time and confusion later on. For this next week, learning to relax more when he is trotting and cantering will be my main priority.
Some things I have learned about Moonshine this week are; he really likes scratches under his chin and around his lips, he’s skittish about a lot of things but now he’s learned to turn to me when he’s afraid and he really will try and communicate his feelings, he’s a big woose when it comes to telling VBA Pandora that it’s HIS bucket, and she can go to her own!... and he really likes apple and blackberry cordial, especially from my thermos….