Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Sorry novel time but this week has been momentous. I think before I say why I need to remind everyone (including myself) that Aussie has only been in training for 8 weeks. Today, Friday 12th October is Day 54 in his training. What an amazing achievement for him.
Saturday we worked on getting the float closed. It took a few goes but he did eventually stand while I moved to the back of the float and did up the bum rail. It wasn't just getting him not to follow me back, when he did stand he would lower his head as I walked away and proceed to hit it on the chest bar. So we had to work on standing there with head/ neck over the chest bar. When he got this it was fairly easy to close the rail. I then called my husband to do up the ramp as I thought me completely leaving the float to do that was a bit much for him. When we loaded him to come home I stayed in the float with him and Colleen closed the back, and that was just the ramp and tarp as I'd taken all the dividers out.
Since it was a warm day after float work he had his first shampoo. I have hosed his legs and belly once before and he didn't mind the act of being washed, but he was entertaining. As soon as he was wet all over he just wanted to roll. He was tied up but that didn't seem to hinder his desire. I spent most of the time saying head up. When I put him in the paddock he rolled at my feet the instant the halter was off.
Short note on how I train as it makes the next bit believable.
It is second nature for me to talk to my horses (constantly). When I was younger anything I trained knew certain voice commands, I just never realised that's what I was doing till much later. Now days I deliberately teach them this. Everything I teach them on the ground is taught with voice command and finger/ hand movement at the same time. Aussie will walk for me if I pull on his lead but also if I move my finger or say walk on. I don't always carry a halter (in fact I often forget to) so it is something I use daily. Aussie decided to take this to the next step.
Monday morning I was playing on the mounting bucket with Aussie. Jumping up and down, laying over him. He was so good that I sat on him for the first time. I got off and on a couple of times then just sat there and let him work it out. First time I sit on them I don't ask for movement, let them work out one thing at a time. When I do ask for movement I always get someone to lead me the first time (it's a big step for them when you are no longer on the ground with them). I should also note my first few rides are always bareback. I can feel the horse better and I feel safer. Aussie happily accepted me there.
Monday afternoon, after work, I put his bridle on and went to do the same thing again. I was comfortably sitting on him, and as normal alone when I thought I'd try something. Without putting any leg or seat pressure on him I said walk on. AND HE DID! . He walked about 6 steps and stopped. We did this quite a few more times, until we had been around the yard and done a few turns. I have never before had a horse that first ride was voice controlled. He is one unique horse who is capable of anything.
Tuesday we long reined down to the highway along a semi busy road. He was very good, however he is young and easily distracted by new things. He did nothing wrong except jogging but I did have to keep reminding him to concentrate. It also allowed us to practice his half halts.
On Thursday I rode him again and this time used seat and leg in conjunction with voice command. He was turning stopping and half halting well.
As I said big week, lots of firsts. Also amazing that in 54 days he has gone from untouchable to riding on voice command. He will compete at EQUATANA at whatever stage he is up to. I had thought that would be mainly in hand but now I don't know. If he continues like this he will be under saddle. I will not push him it is more important to me to have a solid horse then a ridden horse. We have a long way to go and he will need 4 more weeks of training post EQUATANA to make him solid enough for his forever home. After all when we arrive at EQUATANA he will only be an 88 day horse.
Next week lots more long reining in busy places and some float trips. We will see if he in ready for a saddle.
Thanks for your time
Aussie and Jenny