Getting Exercised

With Rodney’s new attitude [Update] we have restarted our groundwork exercises. The most recent addition is to have him move sideways along a pole on the ground. If memory serves, western trail classes have horses sidestep around a square of poles. We are starting easy with a pole, or a times, the tip of a pole.

Harmless pole or equine brainteaser?

Harmless pole or equine brainteaser?

His first attempts were to walk forward over it. A natural move since he has always been asked to go over such things in the past. When I shut the front door & tapped on his copious belly, I got a fair amount of statue. He heard me, but had no context to interpret the data. Now, he’ll do a few cross steps or suddenly squirt sideways without truly understanding what I am asking. No biggie, it’s an unusual thing for a horse to do on his own. We are working, he’s listening, and he’s only mildly perturbed.

Oddly, he works better when I steer by nose rather than by halter.

Anyone done this on the ground, mounted, or in a show? Tips?
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GKP Reason 2
Objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.
(Nope, not a misquote.)

Categories: Groundwork, Horse Behavior, Horses

3 replies »

  1. Some of the horses I’ve worked with, in our breed of Mountain horse, are sensitive to obstacles and maneuvers like side passing. We almost always start them with a fence or wall in front of them, working at the rail, both to take away the moving forward option, and to have then face a direction they don’t usually work in, so they know to expect something different. My best horse is great unless there’s a mailbox to open at the end…he tries to side pass over that too, so we’ve learned to use hand pressure at the withers to help cue a halt. Good luck!

    • u r a genius. Massively helped with the forward. Of course, he then got annoyed because he couldn’t figure out what to do instead. Rodney gets frustrated when he doesn’t understand, Unf, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so he often doesn’t understand. Boy, am I learning how to teach.

      • Glad to help. I had a stud who was a genius, unless he got anything wrong once, and he was like a preteen hormonal girl…so upset he couldn’t focus, so we had to break it down to short 10 minute sessions, and if he got it wrong, we went to do something else once, and came back. Hope it goes well!

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