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Australian Brumby Challenge ©

Steve and Fergus - Week 4

This week has been about increasing Fergus’s ability to flex from left to right rein and back through his ribs. He naturally has a bend to the right and has some trouble flexing to the left. This means that as he changes rein from right to left he gets stuck, his head comes up, his back hollows and he braces through his barrel. This reaction will be even worse with a girth and weight on his back.

My aim is for each stage of Fergus’s training to go smoothly and without him getting into trouble with what I am asking him to do. He will only struggle and exhibit negative behaviours for two reasons. He mentally does not understand what the solution is or I have not taught him how to use his body to accomplish the task I have asked him to do.

As an example. If a rider pulls on two reins to stop and the horse opens his mouth, tucks his chin, and then raises his head. He only gave this response because he has not been taught how to stop in response to pressure on two reins by lifting his back and placing a hind foot to stop. Also, the rider needs to time asking the horse to stop when his balance is from behind and a hind foot is ready for the horse to use to stop.

Changing Fergus’s muscle use and structure in preparation for carrying the rider is developing well, however, until he can comfortably flex his ribs left and right and change the corresponding hind foot he will get stuck changing direction. This will cause him to panic with the resulting negative behaviours such as buck, rear, bolt etc. I will avoid causing these behaviours by waiting to ride him until his flexion side to side and hind feet engagement is good.

All negative behaviours are caused entirely by the trainer. No fault ever lies with the horse. The buck stops with me.

Go to Steve's week 3 ... week 5

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