Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Sunday, October 11, 2015 07:03 PM
Last summer I was posting quite regularly about Arro and how he is growing and learning. He is now 1 year and 5 months old. He is 14.1 HH tall and very orange :) I will give you a summary of work I have been doing with him this summer.
Arro's working schedule is twice a week for about 30-40 min including grooming. The work alternates between going for walks on trails and arena work. For trail walking I have him in the halter and lead rope and we simply walk together. He is by my side not dragging behind or trying to run ahead. I ensure that by having a dressage whip with me and I give him light tap behind to encourage him to move forward and I tap him on the chest if he decides to get ahead of me. Couple times on the way home when he stared hearing other horses calling for him he wanted to run and got smacked on the chest pretty firmly to mind his manners. He knows now. All I need to do is to give very light nudge on the lead rope and he half-halts beautifully :) I lead him from both sides and also we trot together on a straight and wide stretch of the trail.
During time in the ring he is doing leading exercises like turns either way, stops, backs up, moving sideways if I walk into his space while walking forward, trot. He walks over cavalletty, tarp and other obstacles. He is introduced to lunging. This means he learned how to be lunged but I do not lunge him for more than one circle or for more than couple minutes each direction. He can do walk and trot, transitions between the gaits and stops. He holds the distance well and contact. I use well fit halter to lunge him and attach lunge line to the side ring of it. He has also started carrying a saddle and absolutely didn't give it much thought. He walks and trots with it now. Never offered a buck or a scoot. I haven't put a bridle on him yet but I am working with his mouth which means gently rubbing his muzzle, putting my fingers in it and massaging upper palate and gums. At first he wasn't sure about the whole thing now he feels like he likes the massage. He gently chews on my finger like lately I want him to chew on a bit :) I will use Happy Mouth straight bit for him later on and he will simply wear the bridle under halter and get used to it. I also lean over him from a stool during grooming and groom the other side making him be very comfortable with me standing over him and feeling part of my weight on his back.
I do not need to work more with him right now and new things introduced very gradually. I am not in a hurry. Our work together feels more like a play. I have another year before I can start riding him a little bit and I want no drama. I do not want to break a horse to ride but to educate him. He comes to say Hi every time I walk into the paddock for any reason. And when it is his turn he comes out like a big boy ready to work :)
He had an opportunity to ride in a trailer couple times this year. Though he wasn't first to go into trailer he loaded without any hesitation. Simply just walked in. I haven't done any specific work on loading with him but he leads very well and he simply walked with me into trailer. I did have a hiccup at Canadian Andalusian Nationals which all three of my horses attended. Santo and Regala showed and Arro simply came for a ride. I knew there may be a problem for Arro to stay calm and relaxed in a very strange environment and being in a stall for so long. However, Arro was fine when Santo left to perform but he completely freaked out when his mom, Regala, left to perform. He literally tried to jump out of the stall and ended up putting his front legs through upper grills. It doesn't help of course that all my horses live together in one big paddock. However, at home Arro never was bothered by Regala leaving the property to go work in the fields. At the show we ended up taking him to the side of the ring to wait for Regala do her tests. We were afraid he would hurt himself.
At home after show I started working with him on leaving him in his stall to be taken out last and learning to be OK with it. At first he got very agitated. When I came to take him he was running around his stall which is 18x12 feet so he had room :) I had a whip and I didn't let him come near the door or me as long as he was running. When it finally dawned on him to stop I put halter on and led him outside. Next time he still run but not as long. After that he just stands there waiting for me. I can open the door wide he doesn't move. He doesn't start moving until I tell him waiting patiently for me to lead him out. I also leave him tied in the isle for a few minutes before work pretending I have something to do outside and he needs to wait for me to come back. He has been very good about that :)
Overall, I simply adore him. He is fun, friendly, curious and smart. He takes new things in stride (well, most of them LOL) and he holds no grudges. I love playing with him, teaching him new things and watching him grow and learn.
Happy riding...
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My blog is about teaching, riding and training. I share what is important to me in my work with horses and riders. The writing helps me to think things over and have a better understanding of training ideas and priciples.
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