Australian Brumby Challenge ©
After 5 days off, Coolabah looked bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to have some fun. I thought it would be good to show him being caught in the big paddock. Unfortunately, this didn’t go as I planned…. because I couldn’t ‘catch’ him. In fact, he was catching me; as soon as I got into the paddock, he would walk right up to me. I couldn’t shake him. I tried running away and hiding, then coming back when his attention was on something else, to show approaching and haltering in the paddock... but there was no need to halter because he followed me back into the yard. There’s a video on my Facebook page (Mick Masons Horses) if you’d like to have a look. I did a bit of leading around in the paddock with a halter anyway to make sure everything I had done with haltering/ leading had stuck.
Thought of the day: I think it’s time for Coolabah and I to venture out and have some fun in the bush!
Today I did a few short sessions which involved some foot work (working on picking up his feet). I spent some time brushing down his legs and working on the cue to take the weight off the foot I was asking for. Like always, I use as little pressure as possible. At the end of a few sessions I expect Coolabah to pick his foot up for me, in such a way that I don’t have to deal with him leaning on me when trimming or cleaning his feet. It’s easy to inadvertently teach a horse to lean on you when you pick its feet up by lifting their feet up, instead of asking them to pick it up. Once the foot work improved (and he started to get bored) I freshened his mind up by going for a walk around our ‘yet to be finished’ arena… Big sand piles and lots of fun for a curious horse.
Thought of the day: Coolabah has quite a bit of flaky skin… and possibly some lice. As soon as it’s a good temperature, I’ll give him a delouse bath to fix the irritation and itching. On the plus side, he loves getting a scratch!
It was quite a quick and cold session this morning. I worked on getting him to flex his head and neck both ways and did some more foot work. I did the same in the afternoon before feed ups (short sweet sessions!). When putting his feed down in the evening, he did have a moment where he put his ears back when walking towards the feed, as if to tell me to move away from his food. I stepped forward and made myself big to tell him “hang on a minute, that’s just a bit rude and best not get into the habit of doing that”. He stepped back away from me and looked at me with a bit of confusion, then came toward me, got a scratch and then I walked away (this was just like when I put him out on grass after the first week).
Thought of the day: I don’t believe you can punish a horse by taking feed away from them, because it’s not fair. Coolabah got a bit rude around food, which happens with horses if you let it happen. Best to have a quick conversation about it right there and then, then hopefully in the future he will think with his mind instead of his belly.
Today was mostly day off for Coolabah, as Kristen and I were asked to go to ABC radio Canberra and do an interview about the brumby challenge (There is a link on my page if you would like to listen). I managed to do a 15-minute session on picking up his feet before feed ups, just working on getting him to lift his foot up and hold it for longer now.
Thought of the day: Live radio interviews are more intimidating than any horse I’ve ever started… nerve-racking!
Coolabah got the day off as I was off the property all day.
I did 40 mins in the morning with Coolabah. I thought I’d done enough work with his feet for this week, so I moved onto getting him moving more freely when lunging in the yard. He is low energy and a bit lazy sometimes, so I had to UP my own energy to get the transitions more smoother and quicker from stop to walk, walk to trot, back to walk and stop. It took a bit of effort to get him to hold the trot, but it did sink in after a few attempts and soon he moved into a good pace, continuing to be nice and relaxed about it all.
Thought of the day: You might notice I’m really concentrating on certain parts of his training before I move on to something more advanced. I don’t want this horse to be “alright”, “ok” or “that’s good enough”, I’d like him to be very solid in everything he does. I can see great potential in him and its worth the wait.
I decided to take Coolabah into a bigger area to work today. I worked again on his transitions between walk and trot, getting it smooth both ways and turning him in each direction. Moving into a bigger space was much better for him, it just gave him the room he needed to stretch out. I was happy with his efforts so we moved onto some ‘revision’, and went through absolutely everything we had done up to this point. Flexing, shoulders, hinds, feet, haltering, leading, checking teeth, jumping around him, keeping him nice and straight when being brushed, brushed all over, poles, loud music and walking him to a new space.
Thought of the day: I feel Coolabah is ready to move on in his training. Even though I haven’t spent as much time (hours) as I’d liked to, everything seems to have stuck well with him. Coolabah continues to be a great learner… and a great teacher.
Thanks again for reading my updates! If you would like any more information about the training or Coolabah please don’t hesitate to get in touch.