Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Fergus has come a long way this past week, mentally, emotionally and physically. He has graduated out of the steel pen and into his own paddock during the day and has enjoyed having more space and a bit of green grass. Although by himself in the yard, he has horses on either side to talk to.
My 12 year old niece and her friend stayed with us during the week and Fergus had lots of enthusiastic attention and activity around him. The commotion seems to have helped him settle in a bit more. He’s still very suspicious and can flee at the drop of a hat, but his ‘Focus’ and ‘Try’ are getting better every day.
Fergus has coped well with wearing his rug. He’s still coming over to me in the paddock, stands still to be haltered and is leading well. He’s getting used to having his legs stroked in preparation for lifting his feet and has had a couple of ‘tie-up’ lessons.
As I said last week, I’m working on building his strength through ‘in-hand’ work, where I micro manage his steps and posture until he adopts it as his own. He’s getting much stronger and more balanced, however when I asked him for a walk to trot transition, it fell apart really quickly. He became flighty and worried, so clearly he wasn’t ready for that yet. I just went back to the walk to halt transitions and will see how he goes this week.
I believe it’s crucial not to push horses too fast, too soon. My mantra is “Posture Dictates State” which means, if the horse is all on the front end, in a high-head, ready-to-flee posture, it will by default, be fearful. If the horse is balanced, working from the hind legs, with his head and neck in neutral, he feels safe and is therefore more able to learn. He becomes stronger mentally, emotionally and physically. His curiosity increases and he becomes an active participant in the lessons. As Fergus’ posture dictates his state of mind, my first job is to change his posture. And just as it does with humans, changing posture takes time.