Australian Brumby Challenge ©
VBA Bago week 19
This week has been about putting the final skills and the details into place. A number of weeks ago I developed a check list of what I wanted Bago to know before we went to Equitana. While this list has developed by adding some ideas and making some of the original ideas simpler and more achievable I am proud to report that every skill on the list has been ticked off! This list has been fantastic because it has kept me motivated and progressing, without missing any important details. But when using something like this with horses you have to be flexible about how long it takes for the horse to learn these skills and to what level you expect the skill to be achieved. You have to consider where the individual horse is at with its training. This doesn’t mean that one day I would not expect Bago to do two rotations of a hindquarter yield, with just a touch of my finger while not moving his front feet, but for now that would be an unfair expectation. I try to stay flexible in my training while focusing on the long-term goals.
One of the new skills that Bago and I worked on this week was using a roller. This was great for him to do because the roller tightens around his belly like a girth would. He was able to walk trot and canter with the roller on which I though was very impressive given that horses are naturally claustrophobic and wary of feeling trapped and something being strapped around their bellies can often cause them to stress for that reason. However, the real reason behind getting Bago to wear roller during this point in his training is because I will need it for an element of his freestyle. While we are on the topic of freestyles I now have the music picked out, my costume is ready, Bago’s is well under way and all of our props aside from one are ready. This is fantastic because I can spend next week getting the timing spot on and making sure that everything works correctly.
Another thing I have started doing with Bago this week is putting him in a stall. I have been doing this so that when we go to Equitana it will not be something unfamiliar to him. I have done this in both sunny days, so that he gets use to the change in light and windy days so that he becomes familiar with the noise. I would like to also put him in there when it is raining but astonishingly we have not had a rainy day in a while!
Something that has not gone so well for us this week has been Bago’s focus. We have a lot of mosquitos at our property at the moment, and when I work with him after school this is when they are at their worst. Bago becomes distracted by the annoying bite of the mosquitos and forgets that we are meant to be working together, but in the long run this is going to help us because at Equitana there will be much bigger distractions than a few annoying bites, and he has to learn to give me his focus, despite these distractions. When he becomes unfocused I give him something challenging to do, this means he really has to think about it and check in with me to find the answer. Giving Bago these challenging tasks also helps our training to progress which is fantastic.