Australian Brumby Challenge ©
I have really enjoyed this week with Aussie. Having spent just over 3 weeks working on people induced things, it was really nice to move on. This week I have had time to work on bonding with him. (Normally this would be the first thing I do). He has known from early on he can trust me about new things, but he is now learning that I am his safe place. This will expand into trusting other people. He is now happy to have my husband approach him even if I'm not there.
Saturday and Sunday we only had a few hours each day together just chilling. The boys had a semi final on Saturday and our club hosted one on Sunday. Add working Saturday night and there isn't many hours left.
On Monday, because he was lunging well, I introduced Aussie to the scariest man-made thing known to horse......... a Dressage whip !! When a horse is settled enough in lunge I will use a Dressage whip (and yes I do mean Dressage NOT Lunge whip) as a pointer to move their shoulders or hips out on the circle. Apparently the whip was unfathomably scary. Needless to say we spent the next few days improving this. He now will calmly walk while the whip is touching him, let me approach him while holding it and allow me to walk around him while swinging it / holding it and touching him with it.
Every day we tie up, get a brush and pick out our feet. On Thursday, after doing this I decided it was the right time to trim his front feet. He stood beautifully, leaning twice his only reaction. I was very proud.
When training I tend to flow with the horse a bit. What I mean is although I will go out with a plan for the days training, this may change after reading the horse. We all have days when we feel like doing different things. Some days I just feel like cooking. When we have these days people making us do mundane stuff is annoying. Horses are the same.
Aussie is very good with new things, but sometimes he amazes me with his acceptance of things he only has my word on. Thursday afternoon I put a saddle cloth and roller on the fence while we played around a bit. I thought he might react to them after the Dressage whip incident, so I just wanted to desensitize him a bit. He showed minimal concern for them. So I decided to do more. After approaching him with the saddle cloth a few times we progressed to rubbing it all over him. Then walking around with it on his back. He handled that so well I did the same thing with the roller. By the end of the session he was calmly lunging with saddle cloth and roller on. (I hadn't intended to do that until next week). I then clipped a lead to the roller and led him around, followed be a rope around his bum and hooked to the roller while leading. These are both good precursors to long reining. This from a horse that only became comfortable with me walking behind him last week!! It must be noted that I've spent quite a bit of time desensitizing his girth area , so doing up the girth for the first time was easy.
Sometimes when we flow with the horse we end up with a more advanced outcome and in something we didn't intend to teach. As trainers we are always learning.
I am so proud of Aussies achievements this week. Next week we need to trim our back feet and see if he can long rein. He can already turn and stop in a bitless bridle so the lesson next week will be handling me being behind him while this happens.
Thanks for your time
Aussie and Jenny