Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Starting a horse with their future in mind.
I love riding horse with explosive power that drive me forward from behind, horses that are sensitive borderline overactive to my aids, horses that power through 80km of endurance terrain and are still happy to leap into a huge trot out for the final vet exam.
As a trainer I understand that these kinds of horses are not for everyone, and I am getting better and better at starting horses with their future discipline and future rider in mind. Cooper is not cut out to be a hypersensitive hot endurance horse honestly I just dont think it is in his nature, but also from day 1 Coopers education has been about building a sensible, reliable riding horse for someone that is not necessarily me.
I am very proud of the horse that Cooper is and who he is still continuing to grow into. Each day Cooper is getting more rock solid at the basics. Walk, trot, canter, back up, head down.
Some days before our session we just stand around and wait, while I sit on his back and finish my morning coffee. He loves that.
This week we have had a few more adventures. Monday we took a trip to Avalon Horse Park a GIANT obstacle course. The advice as we arrived was don't expect to get through all of the elements in one day…. I was prepared to work slowly through them, Cooper had other ideas. We started on the ground and used Coopers lead forward, send forward, drive forward cues. There was not 1 element that Cooper refused 20 mins later we had reached the final challenge. A water box in which sat a sinking wooden platform, I sent Cooper forward toward the muddy water box, he stepped in and felt the board sink under his now muddy hoof. He jumped backwards and looked at me like “What the hell is wrong with you… that thing sinks”.
I reassured him by not getting angry or adding more pressure to his confusion. I simply asked confidently once more for the send forward cue. Each time Cooper attempted to go forward I reward him with release. It's never about the Object… it is always about a correct response to a cue. One forward step at a time we mastered the Muddy Sinking Water Box of Death. Check out the Video @equine system on YouTube.
I hope the EQUITANA obstacles are not too much harder than this. :)
For the rest of the week we have been mostly working on riding accurate patterns such as 20m circles and balanced corners in preparation for the Pattern Class. Cooper has also had a new paddock mate.
A young recently gelded colt who was getting a little big for his boots and needed to be shown the ropes.
The Colt had never lived in a herd and had learnt to boss his mum around before moving in with a shetland, who was great company but always gave in to the young horses pressure.
Cooper has been such a great influence, firm but fair… If the young colt demonstrated submissive, gentle behaviour Cooper was more than happy to share his hay with him. But if the colt tried to crowd Cooper or began to act anxiously Cooper would move the young horses feet- establishing Coopers role as the leader.
I am pleased to say that they are now great mates. Cooper is such a great baby sitter.