Australian Brumby Challenge ©
VBA Bago week 8
This week has been about getting Bago’s basic skills to the point where I can start some practical work next week. Early in the week a friend came to visit Bago. This meant that there were four people standing around his yard, all talking and admiring him. This was the biggest group of people he had seen, he was a little nervous and it took him longer than usual to complete tasks he was familiar with but, with a little more time he was able to do all the things he can do when it is just him and I. I was happy with how he acted in the session, but the friend pointed out that I had stopped using pressure and release as much as I had been. This was a good reminder that just because Bago has done something once doesn’t mean that he is finished learning. Every day he learns something new and I need to remember that he needs a release when he is on the right track.
I have continued to work on his leading and we took another trip out of the yard midway through the week. This trip was far more successful than the first. I had a strong purpose in this session as I was leading him from one yard to another. We successfully moved from point A to B and it proved that the training we had put in place was strong and he could trust me. With his leading skills now strong enough that he can go outside the yard successfully I will be able to start working with obstacles, and circling work next week.
In our final session for the week I worked with an old rug, first I rubbed Bago on the shoulder with the rug, then laid it over his neck and eventually moved it down his back. After lots of approach and retreat I was able to lay the rug over him as I would if he was going to wear it. This task is difficult for horses because it feels as if they are trapped, while Bago was standing quietly I could tell he had shut down a little. I continued to place it on and take it off with the aim of Bago feeling calmer. I tried walking him around, so he felt less trapped and his confidence progressed a little, however this task will need more work.
I have been thinking a lot this week about the skills Bago will need to be successful with people. Tasks such as picking up his feet, farrier prep, float loading, travelling, haltering in the paddock, backing up, yielding the front and hind end, circling (lunging), ruging and obstacles. Some of these we have completed over the last few weeks while others need lots more work. With all these things in mind I will move forward next week with the aim of completing at least one new practical task, many of them link to each other and with one skill in place another will begin with more ease.