Australian Brumby Challenge ©
It’s hard to believe that Ariat and I just finished our fifth week together. The progress that we’ve made has really impressed me. He’s taking each new activity in his stride happily.
We started this week off by introducing the trotting poles and doing new challenges with the obstacles such has carrying them around, banging on the barrels, rolling the poles back and forth, walking inside the hay shed getting him accustomed to different environments and different pieces of machinery that are stored within the shed, standing with all feet on the platform/bridge. I continued working on lounging Ariat with the saddle on both ways at a walk and trot, teaching him to stretch his neck out to keep himself relaxed instead of stiff and tight through the muscles. Since week 2 I’ve gradually been grooming him more and more. Ariat is now happy for me to brush his mane and forelock, his entire body and to clean out his front hooves (We are still working on the back hooves and legs which I have started handling).
Coming into the middle of the week I started preparing Ariat for leg aid signals that will be used on him once riding begins. To teach him leg aids when I put the saddle on I dropped the stirrups and slowly began by pushing the stirrup into his stomach clucking him up, if he didn’t respond to that I’d begin tapping his stomach in the same place getting firmer and firmer until he took a step forward. He adjusted extremely well to this and now when the pressure is applied to his stomach he walks on almost immediately. We finally were able to introduce the bridle to Ariat as his teeth and gums have improved so much since the change in hay. He’s now taking the bit when it’s presented to him without having to put my finger in his mouth. I haven’t put the bridle on completely but the progress he’s showed is amazing. A major accomplishment we made this week was that I was able to trim and rasp Ariat front hooves, he stood perfectly while I cut them.
Moving onto the end of this week I began Lounging with the saddle on and the stirrups down as in previous weeks I had taken them off, he isn’t worried at all when the stirrups hit his side which is good. I’ve also began teaching him to balance himself when weight is put in the stirrup, so far I’ve used my hand and foot to put weight in the stirrup and he’s responded well to both. We’ve also worked on one rein stops from a walk. We finished off with doing more work on what I call the “clock” where Ariat must side pass around me quarterly until we’ve done a complete 360 or “clock” which he’s slowly learning but doing extremely well with.